Published February 17, 2012
David Kaye, MD, professor of psychiatry, is project director for a two-year, $2.4 million service grant that addresses problems stemming from the critical shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists in New York state.
The grant supports a program in which psychiatrists and other mental health professionals provide educational and consultative services to primary care physicians to help them treat young patients with mild to moderate mental health needs.
“The goal of the CAP PC program is not only to support primary care physicians by providing consultations, but also to improve their skills in assessment and management of child mental health problems,” says Kaye, director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at UB.
“While other local or regional consultation programs exist around the country, there are only a few statewide programs, and of those the CAP PC is the first in the U.S. to include a comprehensive educational component.”
One in five children and adolescents in the United States has a diagnosable mental health disorder that requires intervention or monitoring, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Psychosocial problems are the most common chronic condition for pediatric visits, eclipsing asthma.
“Across the United States, we have large numbers of children with mental health needs and few child psychiatrists to care for them, and the situation in New York state is no different,” Kaye says.
Five years ago, the AAP joined with the American Academy of Family Physicians and the New York State Office of Mental Health to discuss ways to remedy this public health problem.
New York followed up by soliciting proposals in 2009 and subsequently funding the CAP PC, which, as Kaye notes, dovetails with federal and state initiatives to create medical homes.
UB is the lead institution for the project, which is being conducted in collaboration with Columbia University, North Shore University/Long Island Jewish Medical Center, the University of Rochester and the State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse (SUNY Upstate).