APA Recommends Integrated Care Training for Psychiatrists



The American Psychiatric Association (APA) released in March 2015 new training recommendations calling for residency programs to educate the next generation of psychiatrists in integrated behavioral health care. These training recommendations inform all spans of a practicing or prospective psychiatrist’s education, including undergraduate and graduate medical education as well as continuing medical education.

Given the current transformation going on in our health care system and the new models of health care delivery that are emerging, it is likely that the role of psychiatrists will change. APA believes that psychiatric education must prepare current and future psychiatrists to deliver patient-centered, team-based care. These recommendations intend to break down barriers between mental health and physical health and to support psychiatrists’ work in tandem with primary care doctors to address a patient’s total health care. The integrated care model helps address shortages to all types of mental health providers that exist in parts of the United States. Among these are models that increase access to psychiatrists having a psychiatrist in the primary care office or available through use of telepsychiatry.

In a recent news release, Richard Summers, M.D., chairman of the APA’s Council of Medical Education and Lifelong Learning, which developed the report, stated:

“We identified emerging integrated care models that are important for overall system change and therefore important to the world of education, because practitioners were going to need to develop a new set of skills, new ways of collaborating, new knowledge and new cultural values to be able to practice in these new models.”

Key recommendations include:

  • Emphasis of inter-specialty education in all training programs, in order to help physicians develop the attitudes and skills necessary for collaborative practice;
  • Early exposure (in undergraduate medical schools) to primary care settings that utilize effective integrated behavioral health; and
  • The development of faculty members (in graduate medical education programs) with interest and experience in integrated behavioral care to teach and supervise residents and to advocate for collaborative practice in the institution.

Ultimately, APA believes that moving to integrated behavioral health care will reduce health care costs and improve access to mental health services.

Additional APA resources on integrated behavioral health care can be found at:

Additional resources on integrated behavioral health and training of psychiatrists are at:

Posted April 2015