Train New Trainers Primary Care Psychiatry Fellowship—Optimizing Delivery of Behavioral Health Care Through Training for Primary Care Providers : Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions

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Original Research

Train New Trainers Primary Care Psychiatry Fellowship—Optimizing Delivery of Behavioral Health Care Through Training for Primary Care Providers

Neikrug, Ariel B. PhD; Stehli, Annamarie MPH; Xiong, Glen L. MD; Suo, Shannon MD; Le-Bucklin, Khanh-Van MD, Med; Cant, Wendy MBA; McCarron, Robert M. DO

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Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 42(2):p 105-114, Spring 2022. | DOI: 10.1097/CEH.0000000000000432

Abstract

Objective: 

To expand and optimize the behavioral health workforce, it is necessary to improve primary care providers' (PCPs) overall knowledge and clinical skills in primary care–based psychiatry. Studies on the effects of postgraduate psychiatric education programs for PCPs on psychiatric knowledge are limited.

Methods: 

A total of 251 PCPs completed a 1-year fellowship. Data from program development and evaluation were analyzed for 4 fellowship years (2016–2019). Fellows were surveyed at baseline, midpoint, and postfellowship about mental health stigma, perceived competency, attitudes about psychiatry, satisfaction with current psychiatric knowledge, confidence and comfort to treat psychiatric illnesses, and program satisfaction. Psychiatric knowledge was evaluated at baseline, midpoint, and postfellowship.

Results: 

Large effects were noted on perceived competency/self-efficacy and confidence in the treatment of common psychiatric disorders encountered in primary care settings. Positive effects were observed on attitudes of mental health stigma, and even more robust effects were found with improvement in psychiatry clinical knowledge. Knowledge improved by 12% at postfellowship (P < .0001). Correlations of the degree of change in attitude with improved psychiatric literacy demonstrated significant relationships with reduction of stigma total score (r = −0.2133, P = .0043), increased willingness (r = 0.1941, P = .0096), and increased positive attitudes (r = 0.1894, P = .0111).

Conclusion: 

Innovative initiatives to improve and expand psychiatric knowledge and clinical skills among those who provide the most behavioral health care (PCPs) can have marked impacts on attitudes toward mental health care delivery, stigma, and competency/self-efficacy. Future studies are necessary to consider the impact of this program on clinical practice pattern outcomes on a larger scale.

Copyright © 2022 The Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, and the Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education

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