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APA honors four psychiatric services programs

November 3, 2011
by News release
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Arlington, Va. — The American Psychiatric Association presented four outstanding mental health programs with APA Gold, Silver, and Bronze Achievement Awards at the APA Institute on Psychiatric Services meeting. Descriptions of the award-winning programs are presented in the November issue of Psychiatric Services, a journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

Gold Achievement Award: Community-based Programs. The Burke Center’s Mental Health Emergency Center in Lufkin, Tex., was honored for bringing comprehensive psychiatric emergency services to rural communities in 12 counties in eastern Texas. The Burke Center is the first freestanding comprehensive psychiatric emergency program with psychiatric services performed by telepsychiatrists.

The use of telepsychiatry makes possible a level of services often not available in rural areas. The center provides psychiatric care that would have previously resulted in inpatient referral and reduces the burden on overcrowded emergency departments in the region. The center employs a multidisciplinary team including nurses, licensed counselors, mental health technicians, and a case manager, along with the psychiatrists available via teleconference.

Gold Achievement Award: Academically/institutionally sponsored programs. The South Cove Community Health Center in Boston was honored for its Culturally Sensitive Collaborative Treatment Program providing treatment of depression in a primarily Asian population in primary care. Every patient is screened for depression using a bilingual screening tool, and actively contacting patients is a key component of the program. Of those with positive depressions screens, 43 percent entered treatment, a significant increase over the 6.5 percent before the program. In additional to being a promising way of recognizing and treating major depression in ethnic minority populations, the program has also served as way of educating the Chinese community about depression.

Silver Achievement Award: The Statewide Telepsychiatry Initiative, a collaboration of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, was presented the Silver Award. The program provides emergency psychiatric care 24 hours a day seven days a week, thereby improving access to emergency care and reducing overcrowding in emergency departments. The psychiatrists provide assessment and recommendations and work with the emergency physician to identify community resources for follow-up care.

Bronze Achievement Award: The bronze award winner is the White Mountain Apache Suicide Surveillance and Prevention System, a program of the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Whiteriver, Ariz., in consultation with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. This unique and innovative approach to suicide includes four components: 1) mandated reporting; 2) in person follow-up; 3) risk assessment and intervention development; and 4) Apache community mental health specialists.

The winning programs were selected from among 28 applications reviewed by the 2011 Achievement Awards Committee, chaired by Gerard Gallucci, M.D., M.H.S. Costs of administering the award program were supported by a grant from Pfizer Inc. View the full articles about the award winning programs and the challenges they have overcome to provide high-quality care.