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Transforming Veterans Health Administration Mental Health Clinician Education and Practices

20 Years of Educational Initiatives by a Center of Excellence

Bryan, Jennifer L. PhD; Kauth, Michael R. PhD; Asghar-Ali, Ali A. MD

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions: Spring 2019 - Volume 39 - Issue 2 - p 119–123
doi: 10.1097/CEH.0000000000000246
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Abstract: Twenty years ago, the US Congress articulated a need to decrease the time it takes clinical best practices to move from the literature to daily clinical practice. The Veterans Affairs South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center was one of several centers of excellence established to address this need. It is also unique in that it focuses on rural and underserved veterans. This article summarizes the education accomplishments of the South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center thus far in providing educational resources and trainings to frontline Veterans Affairs mental health staff with the goal of bringing best practices to routine clinical care, thus improving mental health services. We describe the use of implementation science to support dissemination of information, such as the monthly mental health grand rounds, especially for rural staff to receive continuing education, and the adoption of evidence-based psychotherapy trainings. The Clinical Educator Grants program allows clinicians to share their clinical expertise through development of practical tools for practice gaps they identify. We describe some future directions to meet the evolving needs of Veterans Affairs and community clinicians to provide the best possible care to Veterans. Take-away messages are that, for trainings to be successful, an implementation plan is critical and that an effective educational program requires funding and leadership commitment.

Dr. Bryan: Investigator, VA South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Houston, TX, Investigator, VA HSR&D Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX, and Assistant Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. Dr. Kauth: Co-Director, VA South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Houston, TX, Investigator, VA HSR&D Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX, and Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. Dr. Asghar-Ali: Associate Director of Education, VA South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Houston, TX, Investigator, VA HSR&D Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, TX, and Associate Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

Correspondence: Jennifer L. Bryan, PhD, Houston Center for Innovations in Quality, Safety, and Effectiveness (IQuEST) 2450 Holcombe Blvd, Suite 01Y, Houston, TX 77021; e-mail: Jennifer.Bryan1@va.gov.

Disclosures: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. However, the work was partly the result of the use of facilities and services at the Houston VA HSR&D Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety (CIN13-413) and the VA South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the US government, or Baylor College of Medicine.

© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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