Carolyn Canini

Carolyn joined the Higher Education Policy Commission in 2019 as the first Director of Behavioral Health Programs. In her role she works to promote educational initiatives to increase the state’s behavioral health workforce. Carolyn facilitates the Behavioral Health Workforce Initiatives project, funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Health Sciences, which provided grants to a cohort of behavioral health training programs to pilot projects aimed at recruiting and training students to enter careers in behavioral health in West Virginia. In addition to collaboration on initiatives supporting the growth of the behavioral health workforce, Carolyn supports the state’s colleges and universities in addressing student mental health. Over the past year she has worked with partners to increase access to student mental health training and resources– creating a campus mental health grant program and convening a statewide group for college campus counseling center directors to network, share resources, provide peer support and reduce isolation.

Carolyn came to the Higher Education Policy Commission with experience in directing statewide programming for a national non-profit, as well as experience in providing support, resources, and disease education to health care professionals and community members across West Virginia. Before returning to her home state of West Virginia in 2013, she spent several years working with youth and families in a rural community in the mountains of northeast Arizona. Carolyn received her Master of Social work from the Ohio State University, where she worked on projects evaluating the state child welfare decision-making model and the impact of access to services for seniors in public housing. 

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