Our History

Founded in 2015, the Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies is one of a handful of universities worldwide that grant the distinguished Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) degree, and is the only university that exclusively focuses on the growing field of integrated healthcare. CGI credits its origins to the work of Nicholas Cummings, Ph.D, Sc.D (1924 -2020), an American psychologist, author, and former president of the American Psychology Association (1979).

Nicholas Cummings, Ph.D, Sc.D Dorothy M. Cummings Dr. Janet L. Cummings

As Chief of Mental Health for the Kaiser Permanente Health System (1959-1979), Dr. Cummings was a trailblazer in the healthcare industry who developed an entrepreneurial model of psychology-driven behavioral health, known as the Biodyne Model. Characterized by patient-centered, whole person healthcare created through collaboration amongst medical practitioners, the Biodyne Model is a time-tested, successful approach to integrated healthcare.

Dr. Cummings founded American Biodyne, the nation's first and only psychology-driven managed behavioral health organization (MBHO). Using the Biodyne Model as a foundational service delivery and treatment model, American Biodyne grew exponentially across the nation, eventually covering 25 million enrollees. To learn more about Dr. Nicholas A. Cummings, visit https://cgi.edu/nicholascummings/.

In the early days of the technical revolution, Dr. Nick Cummings was invited as the CEO of American Biodyne to attend a luncheon where he would meet innovators and entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley, including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Dr. Cummings was inspired by the brilliance of these entrepreneurs, and was struck by a similarity he noticed among the group: a particularly high college dropout rate. The tech giants of Silicon Valley had either enrolled in college and quickly dropped out after learning they knew far more than any of the faculty, or never enrolled at all; choosing instead to spend all of their time inventing the new technologies that would absolutely revolutionize our lives. Dr. Cummings realized that what healthcare needed was a similar revolution, and he saw an opportunity to teach behavioral health providers to disrupt the ineffective, fragmented healthcare system from within. There was only one problem: no university existed that was out-of-the-box enough to create both the curriculum and the environment that would stimulate the kind of innovation that healthcare needed. The choice was clear.

In 2014, Dr. Cummings along with his daughter, Janet L. Cummings, Psy.D, created the Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies to fill the educational gaps for innovative and entrepreneurial healthcare professionals wishing to disrupt healthcare from within or for those looking to launch new ventures. Drs. Cummings designed the DBH program at CGI to address three critical needs behavioral health providers would need to be successful in this aim: medical literacy, efficient and effective delivery of behavioral health interventions in medical settings, and entrepreneurship and innovation in the healthcare marketplace.

The Institute received its approval from the Arizona Board for Private Postsecondary Education in February 2015 and enrolled its first student in June 2015. Its inaugural Commencement was held in December 2015, and Cummings DBH students and graduates are already gaining recognition as leaders, entrepreneurs, and valued colleagues.



Cummings Graduate Institute’s Board of Directors approved its current Mission, Vision, and Values in June 2017.

On July 19, 2019, Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies (CGI) was granted accreditation by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and licensed as a degree-granting institution by the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. On September 9, 2019, CGI received AZ-SARA approval and was then granted membership to the National Council of State Authorization of Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) on Monday, September 23, 2019. Participation in SARA authorizes CGI to enroll students throughout the United States, including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.