Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Pilot Project Aims to Address Shortage in Child Psychiatry

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Pilot Project Aims to Address Shortage in Child Psychiatry

Article excerpt

Starting next summer, a plan aimed at increasing the child psychiatry workforce will be underway.

That's when pediatricians who have completed residency programs approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) will be eligible to apply for a 36-month combined residency in general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry.

At the end of that training, those pediatricians will be eligible to sit for board exams in those areas.

The pilot program, called the Post Peds Portal Project, was recently approved by the ACGME as an Educational Innovation Project.

The idea behind the pilot is to offer a more streamlined way for residency-trained pediatricians to enter the field of child and adolescent psychiatry, said Dr. Thomas F. Anders, president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), which requested that ACGME develop this special training pathway.

This new approach will allow pediatricians to complete a combined residency in psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry in 3 years instead of 4, he said in an interview.

"These innovative pilot programs are an outgrowth of the enhanced collaboration and coordination between pediatrics, and child and adolescent psychiatry," said Dr. David Fassler of the University of Vermont, Burlington, and a member of the Council of the AACAP.

"They also represent an acknowledgment of the ongoing workforce shortage in the field."

There are currently about 7,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists in the United States, with about 300 completing training each year, according to AACAP. But this is far short of the 30,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists that a 1990 report--prepared for the Department of Health and Human Services--estimated were needed more than a decade ago.

The shortage means that many children are not getting treatment, while others are receiving a patchwork of treatment from pediatricians, social workers, and psychologists, said Dr. Michael Jellinek, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and cochair of the AACAP Steering Committee on Workforce Issues.

The Post Peds Portal Project is just one initiative. …

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