Psychiatric Consultant Amy Bauer helps shape the care of a wide range of patients

My first exposure to primary care psychiatry came when I spent a month in residency rotating with the Rural and Remote Mental Health Service in South Australia. We provided psychiatric consultations via telemedicine and occasional visits to distant primary care sites. For someone concerned about the public health impact of mental disorders, it was an …

Psychiatric Consultant Spotlight: Wayne Bentham, MD

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 …

Elizabeth’s Story

Elizabeth is a 66-year-old woman who was a patient in the original IMPACT Trial. She had been suffering from depression for 20 years. “Twenty-seven years ago, the son of my housekeeper killed my daughter. She was fifteen. Everything changed in my life—completely. Before that I had happiness, a good family, everything was nice—but it turned …

Erin Hafer discusses the business sense behind Collaborative Care

Erin Hafer is the Manager of New Programs Integration at Community Health Plan of Washington, a not-for-profit organization founded by local community health centers. Over the past six years, she has overseen the implementation of Collaborative Care in nearly 150 community health centers across the state of Washington as part of the Mental Health Integration …

Book chapter stresses the importance of team building in Collaborative Care

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 …

Improving Depression Care in the Rural West

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 …

Fidelity to Collaborative Care can Further Help Low-income Mothers

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 …

Evidence-Based Behavioral Interventions in Primary Care

Although there is growing sentiment that strengthening behavioral health care services in primary care is critically needed, the majority of existing behavioral interventions were developed for settings very different from the fast paced environment of primary care. Current strategies require extensive clinical training and an unrealistic time commitment from both the patient and the provider. …

Task Sharing in Collaborative Care

One of the most promising approaches to further improve the reach and effectiveness of behavioral health care is the systematic involvement of family members, peers, community health workers, and community-based organizations. Effective integrated care models follow core principles of team care using population-based care, treatment to target, and trained primary care providers and mental health …

Caring for Patients with Trauma History in Collaborative Care

 Photo Credit: Courtesy of the John A. Hartford Foundation One of the biggest misunderstandings we encounter at the AIMS Center is that Collaborative Care won’t work for people who have a history of psychological trauma. This concern is especially prevalent in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and community clinics who serve a largely low-income population …

Provider Spotlight: Crystal Wong, MD

Only months after opening, the UW Neighborhood Ravenna Clinic in Seattle, Washington began offering Collaborative Care to its patients as part of the Behavioral Health Integration Program (BHIP). A young, vibrant care team was recruited to support the effort, including the hiring of Dr. Crystal Wong as Clinic Chief.  “When I started working in Collaborative …

Planning for the Future: Developing a Sustainability Plan

Does your organization have a plan in place to build and sustain your integrated behavioral health services? Do you know how you intend to fund your program in the next year? In three years? It is important to start planning early how to sustain and capture revenue for your integrated health care delivery model. As …

Preparing Psychiatrists for the Wave of the Future

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 …

Care Manager Spotlight: Monica Miller

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 …

Collaborative Care Case Study: Behavioral Health Integration Program

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 not only recently expanded to include all nine UW Neighborhood Clinics – a …