Graduate Education and Training for Contemporary Behavioral Health Practice

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Over the past decade, a new paradigm in behavioral health care has emerged. It places emphasis on cost control, evidence-based practice, patient safety, access to care, treatment relevance for diverse populations, consumerism, and quality of care. Unfortunately, graduate education and training programs have had difficulty keeping pace with the dramatic changes in the field. As a consequence, there is concern that the graduates of many of these programs are not being adequately prepared to practice in current health care systems. This article reviews the nature of recent changes in behavioral health care, the current status of graduate education programs with respect to these changes, and offers 15 recommendations for increasing the relevance of graduate education to contemporary clinical practice.