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Creating more access to mental health experts

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Thanks to Burrell Behavioral Health’s partnership with Bothwell Regional Health Center and a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, two psychologists will be at Bothwell for one year, beginning in July. 

HRSA awarded the grant to the National Psychology Training Consortium (NPTC), an internship program that prepares entry-level psychology practitioners to work in health care settings and provide mental health services.

“The grant’s focus is on workforce expansion with an emphasis on rural areas,” said Dr. Kristen Thompson, Pediatric Integration system director for Burrell. “As a leader in this area, Burrell was a natural partner for the consortium to identify a community in need of behavioral health experts. We chose Bothwell because of our shared missions to create access to quality health care.” 

Psychologists Amanda Williams and Carolyn Gibson will fill the role of Behavioral Health Consultants (BHC) at Bothwell TLC Pediatrics and in clinics located in the Bothwell Healing Arts Center.

“Amanda and Carolyn will be employed by Burrell and will function as part of the multidisciplinary team located at these clinics, under the supervision of a practicing psychologist,” Thompson said. “They are highly qualified doctoral psychology interns, both with experience in health care settings.”

Gibson is a pediatric psychologist coming from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. She is currently working in a children’s hospital doing consultation/liaison work. Williams is coming from the University of Kansas and is currently working in NICU and pediatric rotations at Children’s Mercy Hospital in their department of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences. She has a special interest in maternal health.

Bothwell Clinic Operations Vice President Keith Morrow said the pair will work with clinic medical teams including psychiatrist Dr. Terry Chance and fill a much-needed role in the health center’s efforts to provide enhanced behavioral health services to patients.

“For our patients who need short- or long-term counseling services, this partnership with Burrell is a win-win,” Morrow said. “Our patients will get the mental health care they need, and the doctoral psychology interns will get hands-on experience during their year of clinical training. Dr. Chance will refer patients to them and vice versa depending on the patient’s particular needs.”

Thompson said that embedding psychologists in Bothwell’s pediatric and family medicine clinics helps patients and their health care teams.

“Integrated behavioral health care is simply a team of primary care and behavioral health clinicians working together with patients and families,” she said. “Research shows, and Burrell has seen, that this type of care within physical health care settings increases patient satisfaction, increases clinician satisfaction and decreases clinician burnout because they have support to help treat behavioral health issues.” 

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