areas uniquely challenging (Murray & Keller, 1991). By the mid-1960s, rural and community psychology was already gaining recognition as a separate and important sub-discipline. In 1965, the APA established a Division of Community Psychology (Resnick & Morris, 1997). Clinical psychologists assumed strong leadership roles in the community mental health centers that began to form following passage of the Community Mental Health Centers Act of 1963 (Grob, 1991). Many of these centers were located in rural areas or served significant rural populations. By the early 1970s, at least three journals covering issues related to rural and community psychology were in publication. At least one of these, the Journal of Rural Community Psychology, is currently published in electronic format.
APA’s continued commitment to rural health is evidenced in the presence of a professionally-staffed Office of Rural Health that works closely with a Committee on Rural Health comprised of APA members with special interests in rural health issues (American Psychological Association, 1999, 2001a). The APA Office of Rural Health engages in liaison work with a number of key federal agencies, including the Office of Rural Health Policy, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Health Service Corps and the Bureau of Health Professions. The Office also works closely with the state Offices of Rural Health and with other professional organizations including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Rural Health Association and the Capitol Area Rural Health Roundtable at George Mason University.
Advocates for a uniquely rural approach to psychology training suffered a serious moral defeat when the masters’ degree program in community-clinical psychology at Mansfield University closed in 2001 after 25 years of operation (Keller, 2000). In part, the closure came as a consequence of changes in Pennsylvania state licensure requirements regarding psychology practice at the masters’ level. Nonetheless, an APA survey conducted in 1997 found over 100 accredited pre-doctoral internship programs in the U.S. that deal with rural issues (American Psychological Association, 2001b). In many instances, the rural experiences offered to students are a consequence of the geographic location of internship sites. However, some programs build specific goals around rural training. For example, the Southwest Consortium, part of the New Mexico VA Health System, offers its psychology interns opportunities to work with patients from American Indian, Hispanic and Anglo cultures in both urban and geographically isolated rural environments (Southwest Consortium, 2001). Interns in the Division of Behavioral Medicine at West Virginia University’s Charleston campus can spend a rotation working on a rural schools resiliency project in a rural county southwest of Charleston (West Virginia University, 2000). Prompted by disaster service needs emerging in the wake of Hurricane