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Rehabilitation Counseling Names Associate Chair for Academic Affairs

A headshot of Courntey HolmesThe VCU College of Health Professions Department of Rehabilitation Counseling recently appointed Courtney Holmes, Ph.D., as the new associate chair for academic affairs. She also serves as associate professor in the Department.

In this role, Holmes will support the academic journey of students from the time they enter the program all the way to graduation. Some of her priority areas will include enrollment, student engagement and accreditation.

Holmes says she has been informally serving as the department’s accreditation liaison for nearly eight years, where much of her responsibilities have included student, supervisor and program evaluations, as well as preparing the annual report.

“In this role, my goal is to help strengthen student engagement and communication within our department,” said Holmes. “I want our students to feel more connected and to have access to resources at the university that might help them throughout their educational experience.”

Holmes, who is licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist, recognizes the importance of effective clinical training, now more than ever.

“I think the pandemic really highlighted the need for programs like ours, and our profession, as we train our students to support people through mental health and other types of challenges they have in their life,” she said. “We have the opportunity to leverage our training, and show people why it’s important to pay attention to our mental health.”

Holmes received her MA from Gonzaga University in Community Counseling and her PhD from The College of William & Mary in Counselor Education and Supervision. Her clinical experience includes work with individuals, families and couples on a variety of mental health related issues. She also has also served as a clinical supervisor for counselors-in-training across various specialties, such as clinical mental health, family counseling, and rehabilitation counseling.

She currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision and the Virginia Counselors Journal. She is the recipient of the Outstanding Supervisor Award from the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NCACES) as well as the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching from the VCU College of Health Professions.

Health Professions Scholarship Honors Disability Advocate

Photo of James Rothrock and his WifeJames Rothrock, former commissioner of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, spent his career advocating for people with disabilities. A sledding accident as a teenager left Rothrock paraplegic, yet anyone who met him most remembered Jim for his booming laughter and indomitable spirit.

“He had a great sense of humor and was extremely caring,” said Christine Reid, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Rehabilitative Counseling at the VCU College of Health Professions.

Read more about James Rothrock and the Jim Rothrock Legacy Scholarship on MCV Foundation News.

Students Present at National and Local Conferences

Ariana Samuel presents Racial Discrimination and Black Women’s Mental Health and Emotional Well-being: The Protective Role of Black Identity

Ariana Samuel (above) presented Racial Discrimination and Black Women’s Mental Health and Emotional Well-being: The Protective Role of Black Identity at the 2022 VCU Graduate Research Symposium.

Fran Singson presents A New Model of Multicultural Identity

Fran Singson (above) also presented at the 2022 VCU Graduate Research Symposium.

Sonia Meyer presented for the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA) program at the national American Counseling Association (ACA) conference.

Sonia Meyer and Fran Singson had a joint project in collaboration with Dr. Chris Reid titled A New Model of Multicultural Identity.

Two students, Sonia Meyer and Sophia Hartman, have been accepted into the Virginia Counselors Association (VCA) Summer 2022 Leadership Academy.

Two students, Sonia Meyer and Sophia Hartman, have been accepted into the Virginia Counselors Association (VCA) Summer 2022 Leadership Academy. "The Virginia Counselors Association (VCA) Leadership Academy was designed to provide graduate counseling students with meaningful experiences that support leadership skill and competency development, and diverse opportunities to actively participate in VCA Executive Board meetings, serve on a committee, special committees, and/or engage in projects of interest, receive mentorship, build professional networks, and gain exposure to the responsibilities associated with fulfilling elected leadership positions. Overall, this experience is designed to help facilitate professional identity development as a leader in the counseling profession."

Khoredia Thiam receives 2022 Graduate Student Scholarship for underrepresented students

The Rehabilitation Counseling Department is pleased to announce that Khoredia Thiam received the 2022 Graduate Student Scholarship for underrepresented students pursuing a master's degree or students participating in specialized masters initiatives.

Khoredia shares the following sentiments about receiving the award: 
As a first-generation Senegalese-American child, there was nothing more instilled in me and my siblings than the need for education and continuously learning. I am beyond elated to be the only recipient in our program to receive the graduate scholarship for the academic year 2021-2022. This is only my 2nd semester in the program and I have learned so much in little time. Being a single mother, full-time employee and graduate student has not been easy but has been absolutely worth it. I am so grateful for the awesome teachers I have had interactions with inside and outside of the classroom as well as my amazing advisor, Dr. Holmes who has been so supportive of my future endeavors.
I have a strong passion for treating those that look and represent me who may have been overlooked. My background is more so behind the scenes working with VA Medicaid and its recipients to provide equal access to care in our community. My hope is to graduate in August of 2023 with my master's in mental health counseling and go on working with the black and brown population dealing with trauma, substance abuse as well as adolescents in the foster care system. My long-term goal involves taking my experience here in the states and opening a practice in my parent's hometown of Senegal, West Africa to pay homage but also start a shift in a culture that does not believe in the importance of mental health. Years later, I truly hope to look back at my time here at VCU and really reflect on these pivotal moments.

Faculty and staff work to create new scholarship honoring alum James Rothrock

Photo of James Rothrock and his Wife

It was only a week after James Rothrock’s death when Christine A. Reid, PhD, CRC began pursuing the idea of starting a scholarship at Virginia Commonwealth University in his name.

Rothrock, who earned his master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the VCU College of Health Professions, served as commissioner of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services from 2002 until his retirement in 2018. He also was an adjunct instructor for VCU’s Department of Rehabilitation Counseling, bringing his expertise and lived experience with disability to the classroom. He died in March at age 72 after a cancer diagnosis. 

To read more, visit VCU News' article about James Rothhock and the scholarship honoring his name.

Carolyn Hawley featured in July Richmond Mag on problem gambling

Headshot of Carolyn Hawley

Virginia Council on Problem Gambling President Carolyn Hawley shares her thoughts on the potential social costs associated with opening a casino in the city, as well as how gaming revenues should be spent to minimize possible harm in the community. The VCPG is a nonprofit advocacy group focused on education, prevention and treatment for those struggling with gambling disorder. 

Read more by visiting Richmond Magazine's "At What Price?"

Addiction Studies Continuing Education

Continuing Education

Link for registration, and for more information: http://ocpe.vcu.edu/addictionce

Evidence-based Practice

VCU faculty and practitioners from our nationally recognized Department of Rehabilitation Counseling in the School of Allied Health Professions embed the latest translational research in program content so counselors can incorporate the most effective methods into their clinical practice. We also offer courses for professionals in the law enforcement, education and health care fields and for community members, that provide relevant and timely information. VCU currently ranks 4th among masters level rehabilitation and mental health training programs in the nation.

Each noncredit pathway meets the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Counseling educational requirements for certification as a substance abuse counselor. Many of our continuing education modules will be offered online to maximize ease of use and accessibility. Each module will be available for one week; you can participate anytime within that week. Modules consist of two 20-minute lectures/presentations; one application-based activity and an interactive discussion experience with your instructor and classmates. Modules are designed to provide 2.0 contact hours. Alternative formats may be utilized based upon instructional content and goals.

Face-to Face trainings may be offered particularly for skill development content, such as clinical supervision training and individual and group counseling. More information will be provided regarding these training options as they become available.

Pathway to Your Goals 

Do you want to be a Certified Addiction Counselor, provide face-to-face clinical supervision, or just take a course or two to incorporate the latest research into your clinical practice? Are you a professional in the law enforcement, education or health care field, and need the latest information on addiction and recovery to better serve your community?

Learn more about our options to help you meet your goal.

  • VCU Noncredit Certificate in Addiction Studies

    This noncredit certificate includes 240 contact hours, delivered through 2-hour modules in 13 content areas, with a minimum of 16 hours in each. It meets the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Counseling didactic training requirements for the Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) by examination. VCU provides the required CSAC continuing education hours for successfully completing the program, and offers bundle pricing, group discounts, and flexible payment plans.

    VCU will provide a noncredit record of completion, which is a required component of your paper application for the CSAC by examination with the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Counseling. You will also receive a noncredit certificate of completion.

    For detailed information about the CSAC by examination requirements, click here.

  • VCU 20-Hour Clinical Supervision Course

    This noncredit course includes 20 contact hours, and prepares you to provide face-to-face clinical supervision for prospective certified counselors. The course covers the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Counseling supervision requirements and gives you tools to incorporate current translational research into clinical practice.

    All participants either must be a licensed practitioner (in any state) or have completed the VCU Noncredit Certificate in Addiction Studies.

  • VCU Continuing Education in Addiction courses for professionals

    This option offers flexibility to enroll in 2-hour modules so you can stay current in the latest research and effective techniques.

    All courses are accepted by the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Counseling.

  • VCU Continuing Education in Addiction courses for community members

    Designed for professionals in the law enforcement, education and health care fields, these courses provide up-to-date information that is relevant and recognizes the interwoven role each professional plays in recovery.

    A variety of courses focused on addiction and recovery for the community are included in this option.