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Integrated Health Conference Focuses on Building a Relevant Workforce

A  larger behavioral health workforce equipped with different skill sets will be needed to meet increased demand for services and to work effectively in primary care settings. That was one of the main messages of the all-day conference on Integrated Care: A Roadmap for the Future WorkforceBuilding Momentum for Change in Graduate Education held in Oakland on June 6.

The conference attracted 90 faculty, behavioral health, and health leaders from communities throughout the state.

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Conference handouts and a resource list of relevant materials are available online.
A video of the conference will be posted on the CalSWEC and CiMH websites.

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Both keynote speakers Dr. Sandra Naylor Goodwin, CEO of the California Institute for Mental Health (CiMH), and Dr. Alexander Blount, Director of the Center for Integrated Primary Care at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, addressed the requisite of a skilled workforce.  

They also discussed some of the salient opportunities and challenges for graduate-level workforce development programs that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) brings as the country progresses toward full implementation in 2014.

Additionally, Dr. Goodwin provided a comprehensive overview of reforms in healthcare that are driven by passage of the ACA and California’s Bridge to Health Care Reform (1115 Medicaid Waiver). Dr. Blount, also Clinical Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, described the cornerstones of primary care-behavioral health integration and key policy drivers for integration.

The conference also featured two panel presentations.

  • A panel of Bay Area practitioners provided examples of how county and nonprofit agencies are working toward full integration of primary care, mental health, and substance use services to ensure that people with health and behavioral health problems connect more easily and effectively with the services they need. 

The panel, moderated by Gale Bataille of CiMH, included:

  • A second panel focused on primary care-behavioral health integration through the lens of multidisciplinary workforce development.  The panelists shared the results of graduate programs’ readiness assessments for training new behavioral health professionals for careers in integrated settings, and described curricula and innovative strategies for teaching psychiatric nurse-practitioner, psychologists, and social work students. 

CalSWEC Mental Health Program Director Gwen Foster moderated the panel, which included:

The conference was the result of collaboration among CalSWEC, the Greater Bay Area Mental Health &Education Workforce Education Collaboration, and the Integrated Behavioral Healthcare Project.

Funding was provided by Zellerbach Family Foundation and the California Mental Health Service Authority (CalMHSA).