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Burrell partners with Missouri State University to bring Doctor of Psychology program to Springfield, Mo.

Burrell will make a significant start-up financial contribution over the first several years. Burrell staff also will serve as part-time faculty for the program.

Burrell Behavioral Health and Missouri State University are collaborating to begin a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program in Springfield. The partners signed a memorandum of understanding on February 10 at Burrell's Administrative Campus.


This will be the first PsyD program in southwest Missouri since 2015, and a wonderful opportunity for Master’s-level behavioral health professionals, and others, to earn their Doctorate, get their training and internship hours, and work as PsyD’s in southwest Missouri. This partnership has been seven or eight years in the making, and under serious discussion for at least three years.


“With a nationwide workforce shortage and an ongoing mental health crisis made worse by COVID-19, there has never been a greater need for psychologists,” said Burrell Behavioral Health President and CEO Dr. C.J. Davis. “This program will provide a much-needed influx of these versatile behavioral health professionals to our regional workforce.


“For years Burrell has been interested in helping bring a PsyD program back to southwest Missouri, and Missouri State University is the ideal partner to accomplish this.”


According to Missouri State University President Clif Smart, this is the first PsyD program offered at a public university in the state of Missouri.


Behavioral health professionals have never been in more demand as mental health needs of the communities continue to grow. PsyDs are incredibly versatile degrees, paving the way for graduates to choose a variety of programs or specialty areas, including work as a licensed psychologist, in testing and evaluations, working in practice-adjacent areas like training, teaching or supervision, or even in administrative leadership roles.


Under the agreement, Missouri State will be responsible for creating and operating the program. As a partner in MSU’s PsyD program, Burrell will make a significant start-up financial contribution over the first several years, contributing $500,000 over that time. Burrell will also provide clinical opportunities and training support for PsyD students, including internship rotations and other on-site opportunities.


Burrell staff also will serve as part-time faculty for the program. These investments in time and training will allow Burrell to introduce future PsyDs to the Burrell system during the course of their education, and in turn increase the likelihood of hiring and retaining these valuable professionals as they begin their career as PsyDs.


“This is a win-win situation for everyone,” said MSU President Clif Smart. “Our community will have more mental health resources; our students will benefit from the expertise of Burrell clinicians; and our faculty members will be able to keep their skills sharp by seeing patients at Burrell.”


Details of the agreement:


  • Students in the PsyD program will complete their second-year clinical hours and part of their third- and fourth-year clinical hours at a Burrell location.
  • Some classes in the MSU program will be taught by Burrell clinicians. And some MSU faculty members will have the opportunity to work at Burrell part time.
  • Burrell will also provide discounted continuing education courses to MSU program faculty.
  • A Master’s Degree (not necessarily in psychology) will be required for admission.

Next steps in process
University approval of the program’s curriculum is complete. The MSU Board of Governors is expected to approve the program at its regular meeting on Feb. 16. Burrell’s Board of Directors approved the partnership at its meeting in late January.


The university will then seek formal approval from the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development and the Missouri Higher Learning Commission and accreditation from the American Psychological Association.


Missouri State hopes to begin the program in 2023.


With this program, Burrell will have formal academic programs for students at four degree levels: Associate’s (OTC), Bachelor’s (reimbursement or reduced tuition at various TAP-partner schools); Master’s (TAP programs at Stephens College, the University of Missouri, Missouri State University, and Evangel University) and Doctoral (Missouri State University).



Media Contacts: Dr. Mark Smith, Dean of the McQueary College of Health and Human Services; MarkSmith@MissouriState.edu, 417-836-4176
Matt Lemmon, Vice President of Communications, Burrell Behavioral Health, Matthew.Lemmon@burrellcenter.com, 417- 761-5898


Photo Courtesy: Missouri State University

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