MSW Student Hayley Smith and Field Instructor Frank Heitmann
MSW Student Hayley Smith and Field Instructor Frank Heitmann at Advance Community Health, a Community Health Center in Raleigh, NC.

What is UNC-PrimeCare?
UNC-PrimeCare is a specialized training program available to Master of Social Work (MSW) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) students at the University of North Carolina. UNC-PrimeCare is an exceptional opportunity for students interested in integrated behavioral health care with rural and underserved groups. 

In addition to required and elective courses, final-year MSW and PMHNP students accepted to UNC-PrimeCare receive specialized training through supplemental courses, seminars, and workshops. This training is designed to enhance students’ knowledge of behavioral health care and increase their skills with the treatments and interventions appropriate for use in primary care settings. UNC-PrimeCare students also participate in integrated care field placements or internships where they work as a member of an interprofessional health care team in a primary care clinic or setting.

Given the added time required for the supplemental training and the responsibility of participating in the UNC-PrimeCare program, students receive a generous stipend paid out over the course of the academic year.

Students participate in UNC-PrimeCare during the final year of their MSW or PMHNP program. Applications to UNC-PrimeCare must be completed at the beginning of the Spring semester before students’ final year in their program of study. Applications are reviewed by a committee, and top applicants are invited for a personal interview.  The application form, instructions, and program details can be found here.

Program History
The UNC-PrimeCare program was established in 2014 through a $1.4 million dollar federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to prepare the behavioral care workforce for the changing landscape of health care.[1] Since that time, UNC-PrimeCare has provided integrated behavioral care training for 95 MSW students whose training focused on adolescents and emerging adults.

In 2017, the UNC-CH School of Social Work received a second HRSA grant, in partnership with the UNC School of Nursing to train MSW and PMHNP students. By 2021, this phase of the UNC-PrimeCare program will train an additional 116 MSW and PMHNP students to deliver behavioral health care across the lifespan, focusing on health care for rural and underserved populations.

[1] UNC-PrimeCare is funded by HRSA’s Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program.  HRSA is the primary federal agency tasked with improving access to health care for our nation’s most vulnerable populations. BHWET works to increase and strengthen the health workforce, especially in the nation’s underserved communities.

For more information, please contact:
Meryl Kanfer, MSW, LCSW
Field Placement Development Coordinator
UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work
325 Pittsboro St.  CB#3550
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3550
mkanfer at