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Investing In Our Future

Melissa C. Reitmeier, PhD

Dr.  Reitmeier is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work and the Director of Field Education. Dr. Reitmeier will supervise the curriculum development and implementation of the didactic and experiential components of student training. Dr. Reitmeier will also oversee the overall administration of the project, as well as teach the scholars seminar.

Aidyn Iachini, PhD

Dr. Iachini is an  Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work and the RIBHS Program Evaluator. Dr. Iachini will assist with developing, collecting, organizing and evaluating all aspects of program performance and delivery of objectives and outcomes as described under this grant.

Teri Browne, PhD

Dr. Browne is an Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina, College of Social Work and RIBHS Community Outreach Liaison. Dr. Browne will co-lead the Interprofessional Advisory Council with Dr. Reitmeier, as well as assist with developing and brokering new partnerships in developing new and innovative field placements. Additionally, she will oversee the implementation of 4 in-person trainings and online asynchronous training materials for faculty and field placement supervisors on team-based care.

Bailey King, LMSW

Ms. King serves as a Project Coordinator for the RIBHS program through the University of South Carolina College of Social Work. Ms. King will assist with data collection, program evaluation, and additional administrative duties.






South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium
SC AHEC will serve as a consultant on the RIBHS grant, and will help implement 4 in-person trainings for faculty and field placement supervisors every year through 2021. A representative from SC AHEC will also serve on our Interprofessional Advisory Council to oversee this project.
Interprofessional Behavioral Health Advisory Council 
College of Social Work, UofSC

Advisory Council Members meet 3 times a year and include UofSC COSW's, Dean Sarah Gehlert; Drs. Teri Browne, Aidyn Iachini, Melissa Reitmeier, and Christina Andrews. Community partners include: Roy Wilson with UofSC School of Medicine; Sandy Kammerman with John A Martin Primary Health Care Center; Cynthia Holmes, Manager of Medical Social Work with Palmetto Health Richland;  Katherine Watts with Lexington Medical Center; Lindsey Kilgo with the SC Office of Rural Health; Jennifer Bailey with SC AHEC; and Toni Kelley Campbell with Richland School District 1.

Health Education and Leadership Scholarship Program

Social Work HEALS, funded by the New York Community Trust, aims to educate and train social workers from the B.S.W. to postdoctoral levels of social work to strengthen the delivery of health care services in the United States. Annually, the four scholars (two baccalaureate and two master’s) who are picked under this grant join the 26 RIBHS recipients to complete the didactic and experiential components of the RIBHS program. UofSC is one of ten universities selected by the National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASFW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to receive $20,000 scholarships each year for five years. Each recipient is selected for his or her commitment to the field of health social work.

UofSC Interprofessional Education (IPE) for the Health Sciences

The UofSC IPE for the Health Sciences program is the university leader in preparing health professionals to become skilled in effective interprofessional practice. Students engage in synergistic educational and experiential activities that enhance their interprofessional learning with the goal to improve the health and quality of care for the diverse populations we serve. This program is chaired by Dr. Teri Browne (Social Work) and Betsy Blake (Pharmacy).



Scholar Program

Community Trainings


Experiential training opportunities are provided to each RIBHS scholar within their individual field placement setting. These opportunities prepare scholars to implement high-quality, evidence-based rural behavioral health interventions and teach them how to participate effectively on an interdisciplinary teams with a minimum of two other disciplines (i.e., nursing, pharmacy, medicine, law, psychology).


Students complete a minimum of 524 hours in these interdisciplinary field placements. The overarching goal is to provide hands-on clinical training that will measurably impact students’ competency to address behavioral health needs with persons from rural, vulnerable, and/or underserved communities.


As a RIBHS Scholar, students are required to participate in an additional integrative field seminar formulated after the HRSA-funded Council on Social Work Education’s curriculum project, The Social Work and Integrated Care Project. The RIBHS field seminar meets bi-weekly for three hours, over the course of the academic year, while students are in RIBHS field placements for two days a week.


There are 7 sessions that cover the core field content each academic semester, for a total of 14 RIBHS field seminar sessions each academic year. Specialized content has been incorporated into this curriculum with topics that include: team based behavioral health care in primary care settings, rural social work practice, and the involvement of families in the prevention and treatment of behavioral health conditions across the lifespan.

RIBHS will work with partners to leverage, maximize and expand clinical training. Program faculty will provide at least 4 in-person workshops annually (16 over the life of the grant) from October 1, 2017- August 30, 2021. These in-person trainings will take place in rural areas throughout SC that can reach the state’s medically underserved counties. Counties being considered include but are not limited to: Greenville, Anderson, Abbeville, Greenwood, Orangeburg, Bamberg, Barnwell, Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton, Horry, Marion, Florence, Lee, Darlington, Richland, and Lexington. 


The program will also offer asynchronous training materials online for faculty and field placement supervisors. These training materials will focus on topics pertaining to team-based care and interprofessional practice, including information specific to rural and medically underserved areas.

2019 Community Trainings

Drs. Melissa Reitmeier and Teri Browne traveled to four different SC locations in 2019 to present the RIBHS in-person workshops: Anderson, Beaufort, Walterboro, and Dillon. The training provided necessary education and best practices related to unique ethical considerations for interprofessional health services in rural settings. Participants enjoyed collaborating on ethical scenarios and reported that the training was engaging, enlightening, and well-presented.




As a result of the RIBHS program, members of the team have presented at both local and national conferences including:

     The Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) Annual Conference

     The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting

     The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) SC Chapter Spring Symposium


A list of all additional scholarship, funded by the RIBHS grant, is provided below.

  1. King, L.B., Iachini, A., Browne, T., Reitmeier, M., DeHart, D., & Christopher, R.I. (2019, April). Developing a tool to assess health professional attitudes toward rural practice. Poster presentation at the James E. Clyburn Health Disparities Lecture. Columbia, SC.

  2. King, L.B., Browne, T., Iachini, A., DeHart, D., & Reitmeier, M. (2019, March). Social work practice in rural settings: Assessing attitudes toward rural practice. Presentation at the National Social Work Association South Carolina (NASW-SC) Spring Symposium. Columbia, SC.

  3. Iachini, A., Reitmeier, M.C., Browne, T., & Moran, M. (2019, January). Promoting interprofessional collaborative practice in rural communities: A mixed method study. Poster presentation at the 2019 Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference. San Francisco, CA.

  4. Reitmeier, M.C., Iachini, A., Browne, T., Moran, M. & Morgan, C. (2018, November). Developing rural interprofessional field placements in health, law, and schools. Panel at CSWE's 64th Annual Program Meeting. Orlando, FL.

  5. Christopher, R., Flaherty, A., Browne, T., Iachini, A., DeHart, D., Reitmeier, M, Martin, J., Bibeault, C. & Toumey, J. (2018, March). Rural matters: Appreciating and investing in the rural health workforce. Presentation at the National Social Work Association South Carolina (NASW-SC) Spring Symposium. Columbia, SC.

  6. Moran, M., Reitmeier, M. C., Iachini, A. L., Browne, T., & Morgan, C. (2018, February). Preparing social workers for integrated behavioral health practice. Poster presentation at the Integrated Behavioral Health Symposium. Columbia, South Carolina.

  7. Moran, M., Reitmeier, M. C., Iachini, A. L., Browne, T., & Morgan, C. (2017, November). Preparing social workers for behavioral health practice: Impacts for women and women in rural areas. Poster presentation at the Women’s Health Research Forum. Columbia, South Carolina

  8. Reitmeier, M.C., Browne, T., Iacini, A.L., & Morgan, C. (2017, January). Training for Transitions: Preparedness for Behavioral Health Social Workers. Presentation at the 2017 Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference. San Francisco, CA.


If you are interested in learning more about RIBHS, please contact Melissa Reitmeier at mcreitme@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-5293

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