Doctor of Behavioral Health Program

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Organization Type: 
Educational Institution
Program Type: 
Standing Program
Education Level: 
Educational Elements: 
Self Reflection Activities
Experiential including clinical contact with patients
Other Element(s): 
Assignments, papers, etc.
Program Description: 

The Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) program prepares behavioral clinicians and health care managers to deliver integrated behavioral care treatment programs in primary care and other medical settings. A key objective of health care reform is to achieve the “Triple Aim” of improved individual patient experience of care, interventions that target entire populations of patients, and treatment programs that reduce utilization and associated health care costs. The Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) curriculum is designed explicitly to achieve these goals.

Research has shown that the majority of patients in primary care and other medical settings present with physical symptoms that have no medical etiology and are related to stress. Primary care patients often have untreated behavioral conditions that can result in poor clinical outcomes and increased medical costs related to overuse of medical services. Behavioral interventions in primary care have demonstrated improved clinical outcomes and decreased medical costs. A key recommendation in health care reform is improved integration of medical and behavioral care. The DBH program reflects a paradigm shift to a curriculum based on:

  • Business entrepreneurship skills, marketing, and return on investment specific to health care.
  • Evidence-based behavioral interventions for primary care that are efficient and contribute to cost savings by reducing unnecessary medical care services and costs.
  • Health care systems, policy, economics and finance, to respond to emerging opportunities in health care reform.
  • Medical literacy, to understand common medical conditions seen in primary care and consult effectively with the medical team.

Behavioral Health (Clinical), DBH

The Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) degree prepares students with the medical literacy, evidence-based intervention, and business entrepreneurial skills to accomplish the triple aim of improving patient health care experiences, expanding reach to address population health issues, and reducing service delivery costs. Students in the program are trained to become health care leaders in primary care settings where they effectively address the changes occurring in an evolving health care marketplace through new integrated care models. The internship is designed to provide students with the experience of working on a multidisciplinary, integrated primary care team using central medical records, collaborating with other providers in treatment planning and interventions, and sharing the responsibility of improving outcomes. The program is offered online.

Behavioral Health (Management), DBH

The Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) management track prepares students with skills in integrated behavioral health program design to meet the “Triple Aim” of improved patient experience, better clinical outcomes, and reduced over-utilization and cost of care. Students in the program are trained in quality and performance measurement to meet the needs of the new Accountable Care Organization model and improve the efficiency of health care delivery. The internship is designed to provide students with the experience of working on a multidisciplinary, integrated primary care team to transform healthcare systems and practices. The program is offered online.

Program Results: 

Internally evaluated by ASU and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  

Targeted Professions
Nurse Practitioners
Registered Nurses
Social Work: 
Psychiatric social work
Medical social work
Patient Educators
Physician Assistants
Oral Health
Allied health, nutrition, physical therapists, counselors, marriage and family therapists, etc.
Self-Reported Competencies
PCPCC’s Education and Training Task Force identified 16 interprofessional training competencies critical for preparing health professionals for practicing in team-based, coordinated care models such as patient-centered medical homes. Listed below are the self-reported competencies that this program has achieved, which have been organized by the five core features of a medical home as defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Patient-Centered Care Competencies: 
Advocacy for patient-centered integrated care
Cultural sensitivity and competence in culturally appropriate practice
Patient-centered care planning, including collaborative decision-making and patient self-management
Comprehensive Care Competencies: 
Assessment of biopsychosocial needs across the lifespan
Population-based approaches to health care delivery
Coordinated Care Competencies: 
Care coordination for comprehensive care of patient & family in the community
Health information technology, including e-communications with patients & other providers
Interprofessionalism & interdisciplinary team collaboration
Quality Care & Safety Competencies: 
Assessment of patient outcomes
Business models for patient-centered integrated care
Evidence-based practice
Quality improvement methods, including assessment of patient-experience for use in practice-based improvement efforts
Accessible Care Competencies: 
Promotion of appropriate access to care (e.g., group appointments, open scheduling)
Last updated October 24, 2014

* Please note: Information contained in this database is self-reported by representatives from each program. It does not represent an exhaustive list of education and training programs and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement from the PCPCC.


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