Lori Crowson, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH), won a victory for Doctors of Behavioral Health with the Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health on March 25, 2016.
An Oklahoma statute states that a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) “may use the doctoral degree and title ‘Doctor’ in advertising, practice and status as a counselor, if the doctoral degree is in counseling or a closely related mental health field, and if the degree was granted by a regionally accredited college or university recognized by the United States Department of Education.” Dr. Crowson earned her DBH degree from The Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies, a new fully online college that is not yet eligible for regional accreditation, and would have been in violation of this Oklahoma statute had she used the designation of “Doctor” in her practice.
Dr. Crowson petitioned the Oklahoma Board of Behavioral Health to consider accepting her degree because of the specialized skill set that she, as a DBH, has to offer to her community. She pointed out the overarching disparity and lack of access to mental health care in the state of Oklahoma. “As a DBH, I will be able to impact 10 times the number of mental health patients than other LPCs would be able to impact because of my skills in population health management and the ability to develop effective psycho-educational programs for both medical and mental health conditions,” Crowson contended. She successfully argued that her knowledge of the Biodyne Model, upon which her DBH degree is based, makes her a tremendous asset to those in her community with mental health needs.
Dr. Crowson also demonstrated to the licensing board that a favorable ruling on her petition would pave the way for more DBHs to practice in Oklahoma, thus providing a way to close the gap for the 61% of the state’s population that does not have access to mental health care.
The licensing board ruled unanimously in Dr. Crowson’s favor.
Interestingly, the day following the licensing board’s ruling, an Oklahoma City newspaper headline read: “Oklahoma mental health agency to cut budget by $13 million more.”
“I am concerned that the funding cut will further reduce access to mental health services in Oklahoma,” stated Dr. Crowson, “however, I also see an opportunity to assist my community in developing more effective and efficient mental health treatment protocols.”
Dr. Nicholas A. Cummings, founder of the DBH degree program and CGIBHS, shared his pride in Dr. Crowson’s victory. “You have shown the way for others to follow. I am proud that you are one of our illustrious DBH grads who continues to have an important impact on our health system.”
“This [decision] not only permits Lori to call herself “Doctor,” but also sets a precedent for other CGI graduates in Oklahoma,” said CGI President and Co-founder, Dr. Janet L. Cummings. She went on to say, “Dr. Crowson’s success was due to her ability to point out her value to her state and what she, as a DBH, can offer that is beyond what other behavioral health professionals have to offer.”
Learn more about the DBH Program and the Cummings Graduate Institute here: http://www.cgi.edu.