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The Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative


House Bill 4071 (2022) and House Bill 2949 (2021) direct the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to increase the recruitment and retention of behavioral health providers who:

  • Are people of color, tribal members, or residents of rural areas of Oregon, and
  • Can provide culturally responsive care for diverse communities.

To do this, OHA created the Behavioral Health Workforce Initiative. The initiative's funding includes:

  • $60 million to develop a diverse behavioral health workforce in licensed and non-licensed occupations through scholarships, loan repayment, retention and peer workforce development.
  • $20 million for clinical supervision grants. These are for licensed behavioral health providers to supervise associates or other individuals so they complete the supervised clinical experience required to obtain a license to practice. 


  • Increase behavioral health system capacity to provide care that deeply embeds practices and promotes principles of health equity, cultural responsiveness, de-stigmatization of services, restorative healing and community empowerment.
  • Develop and invest in a culturally specific workforce and increase access to culturally responsive services and interventions.
  • Engage communities through shared decision-making to build structures, processes, resources and supports for increasing recruitment and retention of a culturally specific behavioral health workforce.

Partnerships and Incentive Programs

​OHA has awarded more than 40 grants to individuals and behavioral health programs. ​

​OHA has awarded five grants for higher education and community-based programs to offer scholarship opportunities to underserved students pursuing an education in behavioral health.

OHA has awarded 8 grants for programs to provide tuition assistance and stipends for graduate-level students and professionals.

​OHA's Student Loan Repayment Program has ​​awarded over 250 individuals repayment funds for the culturally specific and equity-driven work they provide people in Oregon.​

​OHA's Workforce Bonus and Housing Stipend Incentive Program has awarded 20 grants for organizations to provide bonuses and housing stipends for staff serving rural and culturally specific populations across Oregon.​

OHA has partnered with Oregon's community mental health programs to increase and support the recruitment and retention of behavioral health providers. 

OHA has also awarded funds for culturally responsive programs to provide training, professional development, and recruitment/retention bonuses for the peer workforce.

​OHA has granted funding to Oregon's Board of Licensed Social Workers (BLSW) and the Mental Health and Addiction Certification Board of Oregon (MHACBO) to cover licensing and renewal fees for licensed and certified providers in Oregon. ​

​OHA has partne​​red with the Nine Federally Recognized Tribes of Oregon to increase behavioral health services to American Indians and Alaskan Natives living in Oregon. ​