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Program Evaluation of an Integrated Behavioral Health Clinic in an Outpatient Women’s Health Clinic: Challenges and Considerations

Abstract

Many women receive their regular check-ups and preventive care through a women’s health clinic, including their behavioral health needs. Most of these clinics have not yet developed the capacity to adequately manage behavioral health concerns. We describe our clinical experience integrating behavioral health services into a women’s health clinic. In one year, 108 women (54% White, Mage= 35) were referred for behavioral health treatment 47% were identified using a screening questionnaire, 51% were referred by their women’s health provider and 2% were self-referred. The most common presenting concerns were anxiety (52%) and depressive symptoms (48%). Sixty-one (56%) patients completed an intake assessment, of whom 33 (54%) engaged in follow-up treatment (M = 3.7 treatment sessions, SD = 3.0). Behavioral health screening and treatment appears to be feasible and effective within a women’s health setting. Further research is needed to overcome barriers to referrals and treatment engagement in this population.

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Funding

Manuscript preparation was partially supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (K23DA042935; PI: Gilmore). The efforts of Dr. Constance Guille were funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (1K23DA039318-01). We would like to acknowledge the clinical staff and nurses who contributed to the clinical services described in the current manuscript. We would also like to acknowledge the Graduate Psychology Education grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (Award #D40HP25774-04; Interdisciplinary Behavioral Science Training in Primary Care”) that funded the clinic that was awarded to Drs. Dan Smith and Dean Kilpatrick.

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Correspondence to Amanda K. Gilmore or Lauren Holland-Carter.

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Allison J. Carroll, Anna E. Jaffe, Kimberley Stanton, Constance Guille, Gweneth B. Lazenby, David E. Soper, Amanda K. Gilmore, and Lauren Holland-Carter declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Data for the present study were collected during a newly created integrated clinic for patients eligible for behavioral health services in the women’s health clinic. The project was determined to be quality improvement, which was certified by the institutional review board. Therefore, informed consent was not required nor obtained.

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Carroll, A.J., Jaffe, A.E., Stanton, K. et al. Program Evaluation of an Integrated Behavioral Health Clinic in an Outpatient Women’s Health Clinic: Challenges and Considerations. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 27, 207–216 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-019-09684-6

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Keywords

  • Gynecology
  • Women’s health
  • Behavioral health
  • Primary care integration