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March-April 2017 Newsletter
You inspire. 
Learn today, apply tomorrow.

By Cara English, DBH


In the United States healthcare system, it is estimated that up to 85% of primary care medical visits involve psychological symptoms, including depression, anxiety, panic, sleep disruption, and/or physical symptoms such as fatigue and pain that are associated with depression and stress. 
 
While these statistics are now considered “old news” among knowledgeable medical providers, our healthcare system has not widely implemented screening and assessment practices to identify mental illness and chronic stress in patients. 
 
When we visit almost any medical provider, we complete a medical history in the intake process, and at each visit, someone captures measurements of our vitals to assess our general health, identify warning signs of disease, and measure progress towards recovery from illness. The US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently published recommendations for every patient 18 or older in the US to be screened for depression in primary care. Additionally, pregnant women or new mothers were also called out as a special population that should be screened universally for depression in the primary care environment. Despite this pressure to improve quality of care, primary care providers cite multiple barriers to implementing a universal screening protocol in practice. One of the most commonly cited barriers is related to the behavioral health workforce. Integration requires a change in culture, clinically, operationally, and financially, and a change in professional identity. To integrate systems that have been siloed for so long requires well-trained leaders who are able to navigate these three worlds
 
Drs. Nicholas and Janet Cummings created the Doctor of Behavioral Health degree program in 2007 to fill the educational gaps they saw in the training of healthcare professionals; namely that behavioral health providers are not traditionally trained to work side-by-side with their medical colleagues as a team. Education and training for behavioral health providers does not prepare these professionals to treat patients with chronic medical conditions; a population which is at significantly increased risk for comorbid mental illness.  Similarly, Drs. Cummings noted that primary care providers are not trained to identify mental illness and substance abuse in their patients. Patients are able to access medical treatment for asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, but the psychological components of these diseases were left untreated. 
 
Ten years later, the Doctor of Behavioral Health program at Cummings Graduate Institute passionately and fiercely addresses those training gaps by delivering direct instruction, developed by practicing Doctors of Behavioral Health, for the integrated care professionals of the future. Each assignment in every course is directly tied to essential competencies for Doctors of Behavioral Health, so that students learn today what they will apply in practice tomorrow in their clinical settings. 
 
This week, in our course focusing on clinical improvements for Older Adults, students pitched clinical pathways they developed to address and improve screening, assessment, and treatment for cognitive decline in primary care settings. Students are only given 10 minutes to pitch their proposal, and they must cover the critical elements of their pathway as if they are presenting to decision makers in a clinical practice. After the webinar, Dr. Larry Ford, a key CGI faculty member, commented on the critical knowledge our students have gained in the program. He shared that he pitched a clinical pathway for COPD readmissions to the VP, CNO of nursing, Internist, ER, and Pulmonary, and he only had 10 minutes on the agenda. Dr. Ford stated that everything he heard in the student pitches in that webinar is what is needed in healthcare, and that he was proud to see our students so well prepared to go out and tackle the need! 
 
For more information on the statistics cited in this article or additional examples of how CGI students are prepared to disrupt healthcare with innovative, effective solutions, contact Dr. Cara English, Director, DBH Program
Helping our students succeed inspires us every day.
 
We recently received the touching testimonial above from Liliane Deaguiar-Rocha, a DBH Candidate who joined our program this semester. We love hearing that our students - especially our new ones! - feel how much we care for them!
Student Testimonial: Liliane Deaguiar-Rocha, DBH Candidate
 
“I am a behavior analyst, and always believed that behavior analysis could improve the quality of life of so many people; but the way ABA services are delivered nowadays, one behavior analyst cannot reach many people.

The healthcare landscape is changing and integration is a perfect venue to reach more people. I had already worked in a hospital setting and knew that my training was not enough to navigate the changing systems. The DBH offers training in relevant subjects such as population health management, health equity, legal issues and ethics in healthcare, and entrepreneurship.

The breadth and variety of the courses will prepare me to face any challenges I may encounter. The faculty at CGI are not only very knowledgeable in their field, but are very caring individuals who make the effort to learn about the students and their interests. I have been pleasantly surprised by the various systems CGI has in place to set clear expectations and guidelines for the student's performance. For each class, I know exactly what to expect, and what I must do. The course material is very stimulating and engaging.

The staff is very approachable and responsive, and the Librarian is an asset! She can help finding obscure articles or chicken recipes (I have tried one of her recipes and it's delicious!). I feel that everyone at CGI is cheering me for my success while holding me accountable for my work. I am sure that upon graduation, I will have a solid foundation to be an active change agent in the healthcare landscape.” 
Join us!
 
CGI is developing new specialty courses and we are seeking new doctoral-level faculty associates! Please send CV and areas of subject matter expertise to Dr. Cara English! 

Furthermore, we invite you to share with us your success as a DBH. CGI wants to promote the good work of Doctors of Behavioral Health and the organizations you lead. We'd also like to hear about both the integration barriers and enablers you've experienced in healthcare. Please send Cara a note about your work, or your organizational efforts to integrate care, along with your contact information and website. We want the world to know the value of Doctors of Behavioral Health in the workforce! 
Save the Date!
Fall Admissions Deadline August 1

Join the DBH student body and earn a degree in a growing field that's revolutionizing the healthcare industry. Fall will be here before you know it!

Whether you have a background in medicine, behavioral health, or allied health, the 60-credit hour, fully-online Doctor of Behavioral Health degree will give you the tools you need to practice Integrated Behavioral Health Care at a high level in any clinical setting. 

Fall Admissions Deadline:
August 1, 2017


For more information on the admissions process
Visit: http://cummingsinstitute.com/admissions/
Call: 480-285-1761 ext 1
Email: admissions@cummingsinstitute.com 
Apply now!
Thank you!
 
We are proud to be in your inbox, and are grateful for your interest, passion, and support for integrated health care! 

We wish you a positive, productive, and disruptive Spring!

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