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Preparing Pediatricians to Treat Behavioral and Mental Health

As behavioral and mental health problems become more prevalent among children and adolescents, pediatricians have an increasing responsibility to meet their needs, say the authors of “Preparing Future Pediatricians to Meet the Behavioral and Mental Health Needs of Children,” a special article in the December issue of Pediatrics.1

Minding the Mental Health Gap in Minnesota

At any given time in the United States, about one in seven children has a mood or anxiety disorder — or both — that could be improved with medical intervention and treatment.1 Yet, with only 8,300 practicing child psychiatrists in the country, it can take months for these children to get an appointment with a mental health professional.2 And many pediatricians, who are often the first to see young patients, do not feel adequately trained to identify or treat these conditions.3

New Jersey Minds the Gap Between Symptom Onset and Intervention

When behavioral and mental health treatment is delayed for children and adolescents, disorders become more difficult and costly to handle. Yet, the average delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention is eight to 10 years, in part because of a nationwide shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists.1

To increase early identification and close the intervention gap, New Jersey is one of many states working to integrate mental health services with primary care.

Winning in Wisconsin: Advancing Family-Centered Care

Nearly one in five children in Wisconsin has a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional illness or condition, such as ADHD, autism, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. But less than half of those children consistently receive care in a “medical home” that focuses on all aspects of their physical and mental health care needs, ensures that they and their families make informed decisions about their health, and coordinates the child’s care across disciplines and health care systems.1

First Pediatric Hospital Medicine Certification Exam Given

In November, almost 1,500 pediatricians took the first Pediatric Hospital Medicine (PHM) certifying examination at nearly 200 testing centers across the United States and in eight other countries. The pass rate was 84.2%.

Hospital Medicine is the 15th pediatric subspecialty certification offered by the ABP. Certificates in another five subspecialties are offered in conjunction with other boards.

Dr. Suzanne Woods

New Assessment Platform Changes How Pediatricians Think About Exams

From the beginning, the ABP hoped that MOCAPeds, its new online assessment platform, would not only satisfy a pediatrician’s continuing certification examination requirements, but would also foster learning. It was to be “assessment for learning” instead of only “assessment of learning.” The questions would help pediatricians identify gaps in their knowledge, and the rationales that accompany the answers would help them fill those gaps.

However, no one anticipated how many pediatricians would find that MOCA-Peds questions would help them identify and fill gaps in their professional knowledge.

Checking Up on Emotional Well-Being of Families

Presenting the 2019 Stockman Lecture at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in October, LaToshia Rouse, mother of four, told some 4,000 pediatricians how much it can mean for a doctor to ask, sincerely, “How are you?”

“One pediatrician can make such a difference,” she said. “One pediatrician can help a family feel resilient and able to cope with their children’s challenges.”

The Rouse familyRouse has faced numerous challenges with her children.

ABP’s Lean Way to Quality

Lisa Elliott and Amy OlsonWhile board-certified pediatricians work to improve the care they provide children, the ABP also seeks to improve the certification process for pediatricians. The ABP staff uses a systematic, yet rapid-change, approach called lean. Lean activities — such as process-mapping exercises, root-cause analysis, and standardization of work — help identify and eliminate wasteful steps in any process and maximize value for the pediatricians the ABP serves.

Dr. Lannon Receives Cincinnati Children’s Faculty Award

Dr. Carole LannonCarole Lannon, MD, MPH, ABP Senior Quality Advisory, has received the senior Advocacy Achievement Faculty Award from Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation.

Dr. Lannon, University of Cincinnati Professor of Pediatrics, is senior faculty lead of the Learning Networks Core at the James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Dr. Dazelle Dean Simpson, 1925-2020

Dazelle Dean Simpson, MD, died Feb. 9, 2020, in Miami. She was 95.

Dr. Simpson was the first African-American pediatrician in Florida to become certified by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). She received her certification in General Pediatrics on Oct. 1, 1957.

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