October 3, 2022

MCCIST project team awarded grant to improve access to mental health care for Michigan adolescents

Michigan Collaborative Care Implementation Support Team, a project team housed within the Department of Psychiatry, works directly with health systems to help patients with mental health conditions receive access to high-quality care from their primary care doctor. This grant will help MCCIST expand operations into School-based Health Centers, providing much-needed mental health support to Michigan’s adolescent population.

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund has awarded MCCIST (Michigan Collaborative Care Implementation Support Team) a $500,000 grant to increase access to desperately-needed mental health care for adolescents across the state of Michigan.

The MCCIST project team—directed by Gregory Dalack, M.D. and Paul Pfeiffer, M.D., M.S.—has expertise in providing clinical training and technical assistance to help health systems across the state of Michigan successfully implement the psychiatric Collaborative Care Model (CoCM). With the new Health Fund grant, MCCIST will adapt and implement this model of care in a pilot collaborative of School Based Health Centers across the state of Michigan.

What is CoCM?

CoCM efficiently leverages the time of psychiatrists so they give expert input into the care—through care managers and primary care doctors—of significantly more patients than if they were providing conventional psychiatric services. CoCM equips health systems to treat their patients with mild to moderate mental health concerns in-house, eliminating the need for referrals to outside care in many cases. This significantly improves access to mental health care for patients, providing effective treatment within their existing health care home.

Not a Moment Too Soon

MCCIST will train and prepare School Based Health Centers to provide this type of expert psychiatric care within select Michigan schools, reducing barriers to care, especially for lower income and disadvantaged students who are otherwise unable to access mental health care services. The support could not come any sooner. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a National Emergency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. To meet current care needs, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends approximately 47 child psychiatrists for every 100,000 children. In Michigan, there are only 11 child psychiatrists for every 100,000 children, highlighting the extreme need for innovative programs like this one. Dayna LePlatte, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan Medicine and leader of MCCIST’s adolescent initiative says, “we are grateful for the opportunity to address the current crisis in adolescent mental health. This innovative, evidence-based behavioral health collaborative care program has the potential to make a difference in the lives of adolescents across the state of Michigan.”

MCCIST will partner with the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan to identify appropriate schools for the pilot program before launching in a select number of School-Based Health Centers over the next two years. Once the initial two-year pilot concludes, MCCIST hopes to expand the program in more schools across the state, providing mental health care services to even more communities.

Members of the MCCIST project team. Pictured left to right (back row): Gregory Dalack, Paul Pfeiffer, Edward Deneke. Pictured left to right (front row): Karen Gall, Debbra Snyder-Sclater, Theresa Porter, Sarah Fraley, Ashley McClain, Dayna LePlatte, Stephany Daniel, Karla Metzger. Photo by Shannon Moore.