Robyn Mehlenbeck's Community Service Lauded with 2021 Jack Wood Award

Robyn Mehlenbeck's Community Service Lauded with 2021 Jack Wood Award

The Jack Wood Award for Town-Gown Relations is a university and community-wide annual award program to recognize individuals and groups within Mason and the larger community, as well as government, businesses, and not-for profit organizations who demonstrate leadership in fostering mutually beneficial relationships between the university and the community during the past year.

The award is named for John C. “Jack” Wood, Mayor of the Town of Fairfax from 1953-1964. Mayor Wood was the driving force for arranging Mason’s early campus to be located on land adjacent to the town and deeding it to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the university, thus beginning a Town-Gown relationship.

For 2021, Robyn Mehlenbeck, director of the George Mason University Center for Psychological Services, a training clinic for doctoral students in clinical psychology that serves the Northern Virginia community, is being recognized for her numerous partnerships with community organizations to facilitate mental health. These partnerships include Inova Healthcare System, Pediatric Specialists of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, and Fairfax County Public Schools, among others.

This year, she and her team launched a COVID-19 support line for essential workers, allowing any frontline or essential worker in Virginia to access FREE anonymous emotional support care and, if needed, more in-depth mental health care, including free therapy sessions.

The Center for Psychological Services has helped organizations and community members receive top-notch, evidence-based mental health care, and has allowed Mason students to receive training in delivering mental health care under the supervision of licensed providers on faculty. This includes Mason’s undergraduate students (in limited capacity as legally permitted), and graduate students in Mason's counseling program (CEHD), clinical psychology program (CHSS), and social work program (CHHS).

Mehlenbeck was nominated for the Jack Wood Award by Keith Renshaw, department chair/professor, Department of Psychology, and is grateful for the role that the center has played in supporting its community, particularly during the past year.

“We are so proud to be a part of the Mason and Fairfax communities,” she said. “The pandemic has caused so many more mental health needs than providers can accommodate. Having a way to provide immediate support to the essential workers who have helped take care of us across this crisis, has been necessary, rewarding and drives home to our students the vital contribution of our own work.”