NRCI Fellowship

Each year we give a significant pre-doctoral fellowship to an advanced full-time Clinical Psychology student at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology who is passionate about educating communities and decreasing the harmful effects of stigma. Keep a look out for future openings.


The 2016-2017 recipient is Erika Garcia:

“Erika aspires to work with minority working-class and low-income families when she graduates. She would specifically like to work in the Spanish speaking community in rural Iowa, where she feels mental health services are practically nonexistent. She would like to work across various counties and plans to create psychoeducational presentations and support groups. Her goal is to engage individuals in different ways and eliminate barriers that prevent individuals from seeking help.”

The 2016-2017 recipient is Rebecca Romero:

“She looks forward to meeting new members of NRCI and helping further establish NRCI’s role within the local community. Rebecca aspires to work with abused children when she graduates. Her goal is to work for the FBI on cases involving sex trafficked victims.”

The 2015-2016 recipient is April Hall:

“April has worked in the not for profit world for six years with the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, located on the Southwest side of Chicago. For the past six years, she has worked closely with community organizations, elected officials, the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Police department to design, implement and provide safe community programs for the Back of the Yards Community. April is currently in her last year at The Chicago School of Psychology pursuing her M.A. in Counseling, with a concentration in Latino/a Mental Health. As a Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute Fellow, April is using her community work, program development experience and education in an effort to address and assist society in overcoming the stigma of mental illness.”

The 2012-2014 recipient is Marianne Cabrera:

“The stigma of mental illness is something that people shouldn’t have to live with.  People feel that they are judged and/or shunned if they admit to having a mental health issue, and it detracts from their ability to seek help and support.  Through our work here at the NRCI, I hope that we are able to reach people – regardless of age, gender, SES, ethnicity – and help them in whatever ways we can.”

The 2009-2010 recipient was Rachel Niemi:

“It is my wish to return to my own community, along with other rural areas, and use my knowledge and creativity to educate the public on the stigmas of mental illness. Most importantly I wish to practice in these communities so that those that truly need help can get it without the fear of being judged or ridiculed.”

The 2008-2009 recipient was Jonathan Spitz:

“Public education about mental health issues is vital to dispelling myths and reducing stigma. As a psychologist, I will work to provide accurate information to whatever community I will be working in. Organizing dialogues, mental health awareness days, and programs in local schools and youth centers, are all feasible ways of publicly expressing the reality of mental illness and mental health treatment. I believe that by arming people with information and creating a personal connection to issues that elicit fear or confusion can hopefully provide a greater understanding.”

The 2007-2008 recipient was Brandy Baker:

“…despite mental illness, the “person” of the individual is the most important part of their being. Not losing sight of that is the critical difference between being a good clinician and a fantastic clinician. On the same token, I have realized through my experiences that, for so many people suffering from mental illnesses, they themselves often feel that something is very wrong with them and that they should be ashamed of their illness–that they should hide this part of themselves. This is why it is clear to me that removing the stigma from mental illness starts with the individual.”

The 2006-2007 recipient was Courtney Clark Dunnill:

“Receiving the Naomi Ruth Cohen award is a genuine honor and an opportunity for me to play a role in fighting the stigma associated with mental illness. As I continue my graduate training and start my career upon graduation, I hope to help individuals and families feel supported and live more fulfilling lives through education and awareness.”