Rural and Tribal Behavioral Health BASW Fellowship (RTBH BASW)



Altruistic Behavior Institute

Department of Social Work, Cal Poly Humboldt

Rural and Tribal Behavioral Health BASW Fellowship (RTBH BASW) 


The Rural and Tribal Behavioral Health BASW Fellowship (RTBH BASW) is committed to transforming behavioral health ecosystems to address structural inequalities, respond to intersections between culture, trauma, and colonization, and expansively represent equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in services, supervision, and the workforce. In doing so, the program enacts the Altruistic Behavior Institute’s purpose to seek out ways to enhance altruism
and prosocial behavior in society. 

High debt burdens, living expenses, and requirements for internship/practicum/field placement hours are reported by students, educators, and employers as significant barriers to college affordability, persistence, and completion, especially for adult learners, low-income students, and caregivers. As a result, many students work full-time or part-time jobs in retail, food service, or other low-wage, hourly occupations in addition to unpaid internships and coursework, causing many of them to fall behind in their course requirements, drop out, and/or burn out and pursue other career opportunities outside of behavioral health after program completion.

The RTBH BASW Fellowship strengthens California's behavioral health workforce by providing Guaranteed Basic Income of $40,000 per year to selected applicants who are pursuing a baccalaureate degree in Cal Poly Humboldt’s social work program. 

Program participants must be 25 or under and have lived experience as former foster youth, former/current homeless youth, and/or former/current justice system-involved youth. Selected participants commit to enter behavioral health professional education (e.g., an MSW program) or start employment in a public behavioral health career located in an underserved rural and/or Tribal community after graduation. Participants will also complete the requirements to apply for registration/certification as a Certified Wellness Coach II, which is the new BA level "school-based" and "school-linked" professional behavioral health position being rolled out by the State of California.

Applications for a Class of ’25 or Class of ’26 Rural and Tribal Behavioral Health BASW Fellowship can be found here and are due by April 30, 2024.

Only social work majors who will be Seniors or Juniors in the 2024-25 academic year who meet the above criteria are eligible to apply. Please see the program application for more specific details.

Program Benefits:
→$40,000 per year in combined tuition/fees, salary, and stipends for selected BASW students in the Classes of ’25, ’26, and ’27.
→ Specialized training
→ Individualized academic, professional, and career mentoring
→ Placement in a school-based or school-linked behavioral health setting


For more information contact:

Ronnie Swartz, Ph.D., LCSW

Behavioral Health Workforce Development Coordinator

Director, Altruistic Behavior Institute  707.826.4562


This program is funded thanks to a grant from the California Department of Health Care Access and Information.