Wednesday, August 10, 2016

University of Missouri creates program to help fill mental-health provider shortage in rural areas

The University of Missouri announced Tuesday that a new graduate education program will help improve rural health care in the state, Sheena Rice reports for the MU News Bureau. UM received a $699,772 three-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration "to train psychology doctoral candidates in integrated, primary health-care settings, in an effort to improve health care for under-served populations with mental health and physical disorders."

In Missouri, where the number of psychiatric beds dropped from 1,332 in 2010 to 874 in 2016, an average of 14.4 beds per every 100,000 people, 37 percent of residents live in rural areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Laura Schopp, professor of health psychology and co-principal investigator for the training program, told Rice, “Placing psychology doctoral candidates within primary health care agencies will enhance the current infrastructure in Missouri’s communities and improve comprehensive care for patients. For example, a patient with diabetes may need psychological help to address mental barriers that could be preventing them from changing their behavior. Having psychologists working side-by-side with primary care providers should result in better patient outcomes and savings to the state in Medicaid dollars.”

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