Integrated Primary Care Behavioral Health Training on the U.S.-Mexico Border

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Organization Type: 
Educational Institution
Program Type: 
Education Level: 
Educational Elements: 
Experiential including clinical contact with patients
Program Description: 

New Mexico State University offers a collaborative training program in Integrated Primary Care Behavioral Health in order to more effectively treat chronic illnesses on the U.S.-Mexico border.  This collaborative project involves the American Psychological Association accredited Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology at New Mexico State University, the Masters of Social Work Program  at New Mexico State University, and the Southern New Mexico Family Practice Residency Program, located in Las Cruces, a designated Health Professional Shortage Area for Primary Care and Mental Health. The burden of chronic diseases such as diabetes is extremely high and the patient populations at the practice sites are predominantly Hispanic and uninsured.   This Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant curriculum focuses on integrated primary care behavioral health that can more effectively treat chronic illnesses, as well as more adequately provide access to mental health care. The cultural and linguistic needs for this U.S.-Mexico border community also require a culturally competent and diverse healthcare workforce.

The overall goal of the project is to increase the number of trainees in counseling psychology, mental health counseling, nursing, social work, public health and family medicine who have been taught how to engage in interprofessional collaboration, and to provide integrative primary care training opportunities in a medically underserved community. The program has five primary objectives:  1) Provide didactic instruction in integrated, interdisciplinary healthcare; 2) Provide didactic instruction in culturally responsive healthcare; 3) Enhance trainees’ self-efficacy regarding their clinical skills in multidisciplinary primary care settings; 4) Provide training in bilingual counseling; and 5) Expand the trainings offered in Integrated Health Care by New Mexico State University.

The collaborative training will occur within four components: 1) An interdisciplinary two-week “gerontology immersion experience” that allows students to utilize telehealth technology to provide services to elderly patients;  2) A three-credit course in primary care psychology that uses a problem-based approach to case study analysis designed to instill a broader appreciation of mind-body health issues and multidisciplinary collaboration;  3) A collaboration with family medicine residents at the Family Medicine Residency Clinic in addition to providing services at other primary care settings (e.g. Federally Qualified Health Centers) as part of a practicum titled, “Behavioral Health Practicum” for 12 hours per week; and 4) Creation of a minor program  in "Integrated Health Care" at the university.

The program has developed an evaluation plan with process and endpoint outcome measures.  Trainees’ self-confidence in providing integrated primary care will be measured before and after the grant activities, along with measures of cultural awareness and knowledge. Upon completion of the project, participants will be better prepared to provide culturally competent, integrated health care in medically undersurved communities.

Program Results: 

Program trainees reported an increase in self-efficacy in providing behavioral health services in a primary care setting.

Targeted Professions
Family Medicine
Nurse Practitioners
Social Work: 
Medical social work
Patient Educators
Public Health, Pharmacy
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: 
Cultural sensitivity and competence in culturally appropriate practice
Development of effective, caring relationships with patients
Comprehensive Care Competencies: 
Assessment of biopsychosocial needs across the lifespan
Coordinated Care Competencies: 
Interprofessionalism & interdisciplinary team collaboration
Last updated November 15, 2013

* 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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