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Pediatric Residency Education and the Behavioral and Mental Health Crisis: A Call to Action

Authors: 
McMillan JA, Land M, Leslie LK
Year: 
2017
Journal: 
Pediatrics
Pub Med #: 
Abstract: 

For at least 4 decades, the need for improved pediatric residency training in behavioral and mental health has been recognized. The prevalence of behavioral and mental health conditions in children, adolescents, and young adults has increased during that period. However, as recently as 2013, 65% of pediatricians surveyed by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicated that they lacked training in recognizing and treating mental health problems. Current pediatric residency training requirements do not stipulate curricular elements or assessment requirements in behavioral and mental health, and fewer than half of pediatric residents surveyed felt that their competence in dealing with mental health problems was good to excellent. It is time that pediatric residency programs develop the capacity to prepare their residents to meet the behavioral and mental health needs of their patients. Meeting this challenge will require a robust curriculum and effective assessment tools. Ideal training environments will include primary care ambulatory sites that encourage residents to work longitudinally in partnership with general pediatricians and behavioral and mental health trainees and providers; behavioral and mental health training must be integrated into both ambulatory and inpatient experiences. Faculty development will be needed, and in most programs it will be necessary to include nonpediatrician mental health providers to enhance pediatrician faculty expertise. The American Board of Pediatrics intends to partner with other organizations to ensure that pediatric trainees develop the competence needed to meet the behavioral and mental health needs of their patients.