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Behavioral Health Department

Hands-on Training, Real World Experience

Clinically experienced faculty, simulation labs and co-operative employment provide unparalleled opportunities for students to learn and excel in the exciting field of behavioral health.

Behavioral Health Counseling Department

Located at the dynamic Center City Health Sciences Campus, complete with a clinical skills simulation lab, the Behavioral Health Counseling major responds to a growing national need for competent mental health and addictions treatment professionals.

Our innovative courses integrate biological, psychological, and social sciences with emerging treatment technologies to offer an unparalleled undergraduate education for those interested in the helping professions. Our clinically experienced faculty and co-operative employment opportunities combine to offer active, real-world learning experiences that give you a head start in pursuing a behavioral health care career.

The advanced skills-based “hands-on” training provided in this Bachelor of Science degree major far exceeds that found at most other universities. Students may enter the workforce well-prepared immediately upon graduation or go on to graduate school, knowing that the quality of their education is well-recognized by leading universities throughout the United States.


Students interested in the Behavioral Health Counseling major can choose from a variety of program options including full-time or part-time study, co-operative work experience, or two minor programs of study.

Entering freshmen take courses in the humanities and social sciences, as well as biological sciences, writing, and math in their first and second years along with introductory courses in the Behavioral Health Counseling major. You can read about specific behavioral health counseling courses in the course description section.

Bachelor's Full Time
For freshman and transfer students dedicated to full time study, this option is much more specific than traditional undergraduate majors in preparing students for careers in behavioral health care treatment settings or for acceptance into master's and doctoral degree programs in a variety of behavioral healthcare disciplines.

Saturday Scholars
Balance the challenges of education, work, and family life and complete your Bachelor of Science degree in the accelerated Behavioral Health Counseling major entirely on Saturdays.

Certificate in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counseling Minor
This minor provides students with an essential focus on clinical competencies in implementing evidence-based rehabilitation services to people with serious mental illness.

Addictions Counseling Minor
This minor provides students with an essential focus on current best-practice approaches in counseling interventions aimed at assisting people to recover from substance use disorders.

Behavioral Health Counseling Faculty

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News & Events


It’s often said that the road to success is not a straight line, but your experiences along the way define who you are. For Zach Stone, a 2011 graduate of Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling program, his path included risks, failures, and challenging the norm, but he always stayed true to his core beliefs.

“You need to help the community. You need to help others. It’s your role in the world as human beings to be there for one another,” said Stone, whose enthusiasm is contagious, even over the phone. In person, his effect is even stronger. Stone knows this, and has strategically capitalized on his strengths to create a unique yet impactful business called the Red Kite Project. It wasn’t easy finding his sweet spot, though, and Stone overcame significant adversity and uncertainty to get where he is today.

It took Stone a bit of time to come to the realization that he could turn his passions for counseling, crisis management and group facilitation into a successful business. In high school, Stone was exposed to gangs, violence, and a culture of apathy. In elementary school he was misdiagnosed with a learning disability, and struggled in traditional learning environments until college.

“I don’t know how I made it through,” said Stone, remembering more uncertain and chaotic times. What Stone did have, though, was a passion he was committed to following and a support system that reverberated community transformation and change.

As a teenager – and even today – Stone’s true passion was group facilitation, and he wasn’t afraid to admit that. His mother suggested he get involved with Help Increase the Peace, an organization focused on addressing violence in prisons and schools with gang violence, which snowballed into participation with other social impact groups. Stone knew he wanted to pursue his passions of helping others, building resiliency, and furthering his education, so he began his search for the right school to help him achieve his goals.

After spending some time at community college in Vermont, Stone ultimately returned to Pennsylvania and completed his associate’s degree at the Community College of Philadelphia. Still hungry for more, Stone enrolled in Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling program following his grandfather’s endorsement, and graduated less than two years later. “‘Drexel is for do-ers,” said Stone, remembering his grandfather’s advice. “When I got to Drexel, I realized he was right. It was where I honed my skills and got a graduate-level experience as an undergrad.”

Stone’s degree empowered him to co-found Red Kite Project and dive head-first into one of their first – and most significant – contracts. SEPTA approached Stone and Charlotte DiBartolomeo, CEO, and asked if they could help improve employee performance. Through innovative methods borrowed from post-war and conflict zones like Bosnia and Rwanda, as well as techniques and philosophies learned at Drexel,Stone and DiBartolomeo delivered for SEPTA. For the past five years they have helped reduce assaults on SEPTA employees by nearly 65% and reduced absenteeism of new hires by 50% during the same time period.

The exceptional results achieved during the SEPTA contract piqued interest from the transportation industry, but also drew attention from the medical and military industries. Red Kite Project is now pioneering resiliency building and trauma healing programs to help new companies the same way they helped Septa. “Collaborating with organizations like Apple, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Penn Medicine and the Department of State brings us great honor,” said Stone. “It’s where our future is.”

Now that Stone’s role is shifting away from facilitation and towards strategy and business development, he can focus more on enhancing his product and integrating technology and continued learning into Red Kite Project’s training models.

Stone believes that Red Kite Project should mirror tech start-ups and stay adaptable and agile in dynamic environments. He also remains fully committed to his core principle that organizations need to give back to their communities. “We want to make sure we have a really strong role in our community, wherever that is, because we believe that if we help take care of the city, it will take care of us.”


Roberta Waite, EdD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF, associate professor and assistant dean of academic integration and evaluation of community programs in the Doctoral Nursing Department, was chosen as the recipient of the 2015 Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) Distinguished Nurse of the Year Award. The award recognizes a nurse who has demonstrated leadership characteristics and rendered distinguished service to the profession. 
The Physician Assistant Program was granted accreditation – continued status by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). The ARC-PA noted zero areas of noncompliance with the Standards.
Lisa Schmidt, PhD, associate director and associate clinical professor in the Behavioral Health Counseling Department, and Veronica Carey, PhD, assistant clinical professor and associate director of the Saturday Scholars Program in the Behavioral Health Counseling Department, have been selected to present a 90-minute workshop on “Community Based Learning – How Students and Community Partners Learn from One Another” at the 12th Congress of World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR) being held in Seoul, Korea from November 2-5, 2015.  
Julie Kinzel, MEd, PA-C, assistant clinical professor in the Physician Assistant Department, was named the recipient of the Physician Assistant Educator of the Year Award, Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants (PSPA). 
Megan Schneider, MAMS, MSPH, clinical instructor in the Physician Assistant Department, was nominated for the Rising Star Award, Physician Assistant Education Association, which recognizes a program faculty member who has made noteworthy contributions to PA education. 
Linda Dayer-Berenson, PhD, associate clinical professor in the Division of Undergraduate Nursing, was recently interviewed by NPR Latino USA regarding pain management of Hispanic men and its associated cultural implications. The story was pre-recorded to air at a later date, yet to be determined.
Stephanie Brooks, PhD, associate clinical professor in the Department of Couple and Family Therapy, was appointed as the new director of the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP), part of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). 
Rose Ann DiMaria–Ghalili, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Graduate Nursing and the Department of Nutrition Sciences, was appointed to a four-year term on the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service Scientific Merit Review Board for the Rehabilitation Engineering and Prosthetics/Orthotics Subcommittee. Additionally, a paper that DiMaria-Ghalili co-authored, entitled “Addressing Disease Related Malnutrition in Hospitalized Patients: A Call for a Natioanl Goal”, was published in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. She also presented at the October meeting of the Institute of Medicine on meeting the dietary needs of older adults. 
Elizabeth Jane McCarthy, PhD, CRNA, FAAN, CAPT (RET), NC, PHS, adjunct faculty member, was awarded the “2015 USU Graduate School of Medicine Award” from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Alumni Association for outstanding contributions to education, research and advocacy.


The primary goal of Drexel’s Physician Assistant (PA) Program is to develop graduates who are competent, caring physician assistants, possessing the skills of life-long learning needed to incorporate new knowledge and methods into their practices and to adapt to a changing medical environment. 

A key marker on the road to this profession is clinical training. At Drexel, the clinical training phase consists of six, five-credit, five-week clinical rotations in medicine, surgery, women’s health, pediatrics, emergency medicine and behavioral health, assigned in varying order in locations across the United States. The final portion of the clinical training phase curriculum consists of two, 10-credit, quarter-long, primary care practica (preceptorships). During these practica, each student is assigned to primary care sites for individualized clinical training with physician preceptors. 

Two students, Amina Wirjosemito and Julia Jackson, at two different stages in their Drexel PA education – one four months from graduating and one in her first year, respectively – share their perspectives on the clinical phase of the Program and how each has benefitted from Drexel PA’s long-standing mentorship program.

Amina has just completed clinical at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, CT, where she worked in the Emergency Department. Reflecting on her experience, she said, “At this stage in the game we are starting to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it almost feels surreal.  Job prospects are becoming a reality, and my clinical knowledge and skills are finally come together.  It is so rewarding to look back at all of the hard work that we've put in so far and see how it is coming to fruition!”

Comparatively, Julia is preparing for her first rotation. Her six rotations will all be in different locations, including surgery at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center at Pomona, NJ; Adult Medicine at Mainland Cardiology Associates, Pomona, NJ; Behavioral Medicine at Wellington Retreat, Lantana, FL; Pediatrics at St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury, CT; Emergency Medicine, Camden, NJ; and last but not least OB/GYN at Alafia OBGYN in Millville, NJ. She said, “My first rotation is surgery and for me it’s quite intimidating. I am eager to learn from hands on experience and develop relationships with my co-workers and patients alike.

Though the experience is completely new for her, Julia can lean on her mentor, Amina, to share her insight. She sees her mentor as a “personal life jacket” and said, “She helps to build up my confidence when I have doubt, and also helps to relieve anxiety by telling me tips and tricks on how to make the most out of my future rotations.”

Amina has armed Julia with sound advice, encouraging her to be open-minded. “She needs to be confident in her abilities as a student, realize that the preceptors are NOT expecting her to know everything, and be open minded to experiencing everything she can in the clinical setting,” said Amina.

Their open-communication and supportive peer-to-peer relationship has benefitted Amina as much as it has Julia. “Julia is the most determined, driven and compassionate person I've ever met, and she has taught me the value of perseverance, especially in this really challenging program.  She has also taught me to be humble, which is a quality that is hard to come by these days.”

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