The Training Gap: An Acute Crisis in Behavioral Health Education

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Changes in health care have outpaced changes in the educational programs offered to the behavioral health workforce. The result is a training gap that leaves graduate students, working professionals, and other direct care providers inadequately prepared for practice in the current health care environment. This article is based on a keynote address delivered at the Annapolis Conference on Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training. Major changes in health care are reviewed, followed by a description of the training gap as an acute crisis that impedes the delivery of effective and efficient mental health and addiction services. The author describes a national initiative to narrow the training gap and he calls for collective action by the varied groups and organizations that have a stake in this agenda.