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Integrating Children's Mental Health and Primary Care: a Social and Behavioral Science Perspective


East Baltimore
4th term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Class Times:
  • M W,  3:30 - 4:50pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor :
Lawrence Wissow

Examines integration of mental health and primary care as both a solution to chronic shortfalls in the provision of children's mental health services and an example of the processes involved in making change in complex systems. Frames the change process as taking place at three social-ecologic levels: how care is designed to bring about health behavior change at the client/patient /consumer level; how interventions are implemented to influence staff/clinician behavior at the organizational level; and incentives and barriers at the inter-organizational and health systems level. Uses this three-level framework to analyze a range of integration models (the medical home, collaborative and stepped care, task shifting, screening and brief intervention, and co-location of services). Uses examples largely from both ongoing programs in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Ohio with which the instructors are involved, as well as international programs.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define “integration” and identify some of the facilitators of and barriers to child and adolescent mental health care that integration initiatives seek to address
  2. Explore and differentiate common models for integration of child mental health and primary care
  3. Articulate key domains and principles of change in complex systems and apply these concepts to changing children’s primary care to accommodate a greater role in mental health services
  4. Select appropriate methods for assessing primary care readiness for mental health services and for measuring the process and outcomes of integration
Methods of Assessment:

Participation in small group sessions (20%), midterm quiz (30%), paper outline (10%), final paper (40%)

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

Students should be prepared to identify either a clinical setting or type of service that can serve as a focus for their project on readiness.