The mission of the AIMS Center is to improve the health of populations by advancing effective, integrated behavioral healthcare. Since our inception, our projects have helped a wide range of populations access and receive effective mental health care. In a recent project, we worked with a group of high risk mothers in partnership with Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC).
Collaborative Care Stories
From very early on, Rita Haverkamp, MSN, PMHCNS-BC, CNS, was part of the Collaborative Care story. She saw the model grow from the ground up -- from its infancy in the IMPACT Trial to the growing pains of early implementations and then to the expansive, evidence-based approach to integrated mental health care it is today. As a psychiatric nurse, Rita saw the connections between mental and physical health care on a daily basis.
For eight years, Wayne Bentham, MD, was an integral part of the AIMS Center and the implementation of Collaborative Care. A former skeptic, Wayne became an advocate for this evidence–based, integrated care model and has dedicated much of his professional life to helping others understand its value. From implementing the model in disaster areas to working as a psychiatric consultant to educating care teams, he helped thousands of people receive better mental health care.
A new member of the AIMS Center started his tenure here with a bang and a lot of press. John Fortney, PhD joined us as the Associate Director for Research in September and recently published an intriguing study in JAMA Psychiatry about alleviating PTSD symptoms in U.S. Military veterans living in rural areas using a telemedicine-based Collaborative Care approach.
The Collaborative Care model of integrated care developed at the University of Washington has been put in place at more than a thousand clinics across the country, including in the backyard of UW Medicine. The Behavioral Health Integration Program, or BHIP, has recently expanded to include all nine UW Neighborhood Clinics and also received a Certificate of Significant Achievement from the American Psychiatric Association in October for the innovative way it integrates behavioral health care into primary care clinics.
A new resource is now available to help primary care practices integrate behavioral health care. The Behavioral Health Integration Implementation Guide is the most recent addition to the Safety Net Medical Home Initiative Resource Library, which provides tools to help primary care practices become Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH).
The Ravenna Clinic is tucked away among University Village yoga studios and restaurants. As one of the newer University of Washington Neighborhood Clinics, it has an impressive appearance. Elegant windows overlook the trees of the local biking trail, and in the lobby, cheerful receptionists greet patients amid a colorful décor. Monica Miller, MSW holds a unique position at this clinic - she is the care manager for the Behavioral Health Integration Program (BHIP), UW Medicine’s version of Collaborative Care.
Today’s psychiatric residents train within the context of an evolving global health care system. A landscape of shifting policies and regulations, limited resources, and the search for cost effective, positive outcomes have created the need for innovative, mindful approaches to patient-centered care. Integrated care – providing mental health services within the context of primary care – is receiving increasing attention, and yet few training programs teach the unique skills a psychiatrist needs to be an effective member of an integrated care team.
Anyone living in a rural community knows that finding help for depression can be tough. Many of the 39 counties in Washington State don’t have a single licensed mental health professional, and the same is true for other rural areas throughout the United States. So when Partnership Health Center in Missoula, Montana had the chance to expand the mental health care they could offer patients, they jumped at the chance.
In a new book on integrated care in psychiatry, AIMS Center director Jürgen Unützer, AIMS Center Associate Director for Education Anna Ratzliff, and former AIMS Center staff member Kitty Christensen write about the importance of team buiding in collaborative care. The chapter discusses the process of building a high-functioning collaborative care team, from the need for strong leadership commitment to supporting the ongoing quality improvement efforts of the team.