ABA Student Gilfeather Recipient of Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Scholarship

Updated: Jul. 14, 2017 at 7:56 AM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi

Angelina Gilfeather, a student in The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Psychology's Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) master's program, was recently awarded the Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources (PBMHR) Scholarship.

The scholarship funds tuition for the recipient, while also providing an internship that includes a monthly stipend. Students in the USM ABA program are trained to become licensed behavior analysts, who provide treatment for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities, among other services.

"For the past year we have been developing a specialized program designed to assess and provide services to individuals who have a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum," said Mona Gauthier, director of PBMHR's Child and Adolescent Services. "We are excited to sponsor this scholarship and accompanying internship, as it will complement this work and place Pine Belt in the position to offer ABA services to families in our area."

A native of Virginia Beach, Va., Gilfeather was attracted to the USM ABA program for the opportunities it offered to help others and engage in research. The second student awarded the PBMHR scholarship and accompanying internship, she believes the experience will allow her to learn from other professionals in the field as part of a collaborative team.

"Pine Belt Mental Health is the largest provider of mental healthcare services in our state," Gilfeather said. "To be aligned with them in any way is a tremendous opportunity."

Dr. James Moore, director of training for the Southern Miss ABA program, said its partnership with Pine Belt through the scholarship provides its students with outstanding clinical experiences.

"We're so excited to enter into the second year of the USM/Pine Belt Mental Heathcare Resources relationship," said Dr. Moore. "Given the alarming rise in autism, children and families are in desperate need of high-quality ABA services."

For more information about USM's ABA program, visit

About Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources
Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources provides quality behavioral healthcare to the people of the Pine Belt. Pine Belt specializes in providing community-based treatment services for individuals whose lives are affected by mental illness, emotional problems and/or addiction by offering services through four areas – Adult Services, Child & Adolescent Services, Intellectual and Developmentally Disabilities Services and Chemical Dependency Services. We cover nine counties throughout the Pine Belt region – Covington, Forrest, Greene, Jeff Davis, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Perry and Wayne counties. PBMHR is certified by the State of Mississippi Department of Mental Health and holds accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Facilities. Pine Belt is also a member of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the oldest and largest trade association representing the nation's providers of mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services. For more information, visit

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