Isaac Hooley

Isaac Hooley, Postdoctoral Fellow, Counseling Psychology in Psychological and Quantitative Foundations

Implements rural telehealth

“Isaac has contributed greatly to increasing access to mental health care for marginalized and underserved rural Iowans… He has an unwavering passion for providing needed mental health care to rural, and particularly, farming communities. He has conducted research on the relationship between nature and well-being and is sought out as a leading expert on rural mental health care both locally and nationally.” – Martin Kivlighan, Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology

Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. D. Martin Kivlighan
What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Counseling Psychology in Psychological and Quantitative Foundations (College of Education).  Graduated in Aug, 2020.  Will complete current postdoctoral research fellowship in Aug, 2022.
Please describe your research: I study the behavioral health needs of rural people, and am especially curious about individual, cultural, and systemic factors that make it hard for people with behavioral health concerns to get connected to care.  One way I do this is by providing psychotherapy via telehealth to Iowans who might not otherwise be able to engage in therapy because of their income, location, or other reasons that make it difficult to seek in-person care.
In simple terms, why does this research matter? There is evidence that the behavioral health needs of rural people are increasing, especially for groups that might already be less likely to seek psychotherapy or psychiatric care.  While there are many reasons people hesitate to reach out for help, lack of access to options for care is a significant structural barrier for many rural people.  Refining the ways behavioral health providers can offer high quality care using telehealth is showing promise as an effective way to increase access to care.
How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? Spring semester of my first year of graduate school
How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Being involved in research has taught me a lot about collaborating with other researchers, especially in imagining partnerships across disciplines to leverage a diverse approach to investigation.
What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? My goal is to provide behavioral health care to rural Iowans as a licensed psychologist, and advocate for structural and policy changes that increase access to high quality care.
Does your research have connections to or implications for COVID-19? Please explain. Increasing access to behavioral health care via telehealth has been especially important for rural Iowans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Banner location: Downtown—Washington Street