Missouri Health Sciences Psychology Consortium
Internship in Professional Psychology
Columbia, Missouri

The Columbia Area
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Columbia, Missouri (population 89,593) is a “small town with a big university, a place that’s Midwestern in its sensibilities but carries a southern flavor too. The city is safe, smart and bustling, with lots to do both indoors (theater, galleries and music) and out (hiking, biking and plenty of parks),” according to Money Magazine (1999). It is located halfway between St. A View from the Katy Trail, used with permission from the Missouri Department of Natural ResourcesLouis and Kansas City and provides a unique blend of urban and rural living. It was named “Best Town To Live In” within the state by Rural Missouri Magazine. Columbia also boasts the best hamburger (Booch’s Office) and best coffee spot (Lakota Coffee Company) in the state, according to Rural Missouri Magazine readers.

Reports from the 2000 Census reflect Columbia's growth in population and industry. Importantly, the number of people who identify and minority affiliation is also increasing. The Hispanic population grew 91.5% from 905 to 1,733 between l990 and 2000. The African-American population increased 33.7% from 6,859 to 9,173. The Asian community increased 43% from 2,847 to 3,636. Additionally, opportunities for persons of various ethnic and racial backgrounds are available though the academic community of the University of Missouri- Columbia (MU). Accumulating data shows that since l988, there has been a gradual increase in the number of minority faculty at MU, including American Indians, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Hispanics. Since l992, MU has engaged in an active and successful effort to increase the number of minority students in all specialty areas. In opposition to the national trend, MU accomplished a 30% increase in applications from Black students in 2003-2004.

Columbia also has a strong awareness of Americans with disabilities, and is taking major steps to reduce architectural and communication barriers in an effort to increase accessibility and quality of life for those with disability needs. For persons interested in connecting with agencies to develop and further their understanding of disability issues, a number of agencies are available. These include Access Arts –School of Service, Advent Enterprises, Alternative Community Training Inc, Boone County Group Homes and Family Support, Bureau of Special Health-care Needs and Central Missouri Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled.

Columbia emphasizes education, and this helps to account for its youthful population. Close to one third of the area, population is between the ages of 25 to 44 years of age. The Columbia Public School System is strong, with 90% of its graduates going on to post high school education. In addition, the public school system produces some of the largest numbers of merit scholars graduating from Missouri private or public school systems. Three separate colleges or universities make their home in Columbia, The University of Missouri, also Columbia’s largest employer, enrolls 27,980 students in its undergraduate and graduate school programs. Columbia College has grown from Christian Female College, the first women’s college west of the Mississippi River, into a private, coeducational institution offering associate, baccalaureate, and masters degrees in the liberal arts and sciences. Stephens College, founded as a school for women in l833, continues to focus on meeting the changing needs of women in its undergraduate studies.

Health care is also critical in Columbia, where one in six people work in a health-related profession. Columbia boasts some of the highest quality health care in the world, and the local hospitals offer 1189 inpatient beds. The University of Missouri Medical School services area hospitals.

Many consider Columbia a particularly livable town. Its low cost of living, emphasized by its relatively high employment rate and by its affordable housing, its central location, its temperate climate and its education, business, and health care resources all combine to make this a uniquely attractive home.