Diversity is a capstone of the philosophy and training model of the program. It is vital that all aspects of individual and cultural diversity (whether racial, ethnic, age, socioeconomic, or disability, among others) are similarly valued and encouraged. Diversity discussions are infused in program training through the seminars, in formal training and in all places where interns provide services.

As interns present cases, they are challenged to explore diversity aspects intertwined with clinical issues. Oppressive societal factors affecting mental health are explored, as is the need for social justice and advocating for those who have not had the opportunity to be heard.

A Diversity Module highlights and supports an integrative focus on diversity in the program. This module includes self-assessment with regard to matters of cultural identity, including issues of privilege. Interns complete and discuss readings related to the assessment of diversity in treatment, as well as ways to utilize individuals’ unique cultural strengths. Additionally, interns participate in outside trainings that promote diversity applications, such as a poverty simulation sponsored by ACCESS (All County Churches Emergency Support System) of West Michigan and an intensive two-day seminar exploring racial diversity at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Institute for Healing Racism.

Interns also have the opportunity to serve populations in the inner city of Grand Rapids through our community partnerships with United Methodist Community House and Degage, as well as our underserved services center.  Interns experience a consultative role in providing psychoeducational programming and consultation to organizational staff, individuals, and families within the community.

The internship program also works in tandem with Pine Rest’s Human Resources division and the Advocates for a Diverse Community Committee. This collaboration helps extend the organizational mission: to express the healing ministry of Jesus Christ by providing behavioral health care with professional excellence, Christian integrity, and compassion. Pine Rest specifically determines to respect the distinctive quality of each individual, and to encourage each person’s unique contribution through living the mission of diversity.