College of Social Work to Offer New Graduate Certificate in Military Behavioral Health

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 8, 2016) — The University of Kentucky College of Social Work will offer an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in military behavioral health beginning with the summer 2016 semester. The certificate is open to students in the counseling professions, such as family science, rehabilitation counseling and clinical psychology. Chris Flaherty, associate professor in the College of Social Work and director of the newly created graduate certificate program, collaborated with staff and faculty across campus to develop specialized curricula designed to improve the skills of social workers and other behavioral health care providers in military and veteran populations. Collaborators include members from the College of Social Work, the Department of Family Sciences, the College of Education, the Veterans Resource Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs. “This is a group of people who have a wide range of expertise working and serving for the military population — they have a passion for serving our veterans,” Flaherty said. Flaherty has an extensive military background having completed 20 years in military mental health and social service systems. He joined the Air Force in 1985 and began work as a mental health technician. The opportunity allowed him to work alongside behavioral health specialists from a variety of disciplines. He went on to complete a master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver in 1992, and a doctoral degree in social work from the University of Tennessee in 2001.Through his experience, Flaherty gained an appreciation of the roles and opportunities available in the field of social work. He retired from the Air Force in 2005, at which time he began his work at UK. His years of service have allowed him to work in a wide range of social work positions from prison-based treatment to integrated behavioral health. The Certificate in Military Behavioral Health requires 12-credit hours, including three designated three-credit hour courses focused on developing specific skills and competencies needed to provide effective culturally appropriate behavioral health care to military and veteran populations. Students will also complete three hours of elective credit approved by the Certificate Advisory Board. “Students will be better prepared and have specific skills to provide quality services to our service members, veterans and military families,” Flaherty said. Students who wish to enroll in the certificate program must be students in good standing and submit an application to the certificate director at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the semester. For an application, go to: Questions regarding the graduate certificate should be directed to Flaherty at or 859-257-3254.  UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue  Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or

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