Primary care behavioral health training in family medicine residencies: A qualitative study from a large health care system

Ryan R. Landoll*, Ronald M. Cervero, Jeffrey D. Quinlan, Lauren A. Maggio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Primary care behavioral health (PCBH) is a service delivery model of integrated care linked to a wide variety of positive patient and system outcomes. However, considerable challenges with provider training and attrition exist. While training for nonphysician behavioral scientists is well established, little is known about how to train physicians to work efficiently within integrated teams. METHODS: We conducted a case study analysis of family medicine residencies in the military health system using a series of 30 to 45-minute semistructured interviews. We conducted qualitative template analysis of these cases to chart programs’ current educational processes related to PCBH. Thirteen individuals consisting of program directors, behavioral and nonbehavioral faculty, and residents across five programs participated in the study. RESULTS: Current educational processes included a variety of content on PCBH (eg, treatment for depression, clinical referral pathways, patient-centered com-munication), primarily using a mix of didactic and practice-based placements. Resource allocation was seen as a critical contributor to quality. There was variability in the degree to which integrated behavioral health providers were incorporated as residency faculty, such that programs where these specialists were more incorporated reported more intentional curriculum development and health care systems-level content. CONCLUSIONS: While behavioral health content was well represented in family medicine residency curriculum, the depth and integration of content was inconsistent. More intentional and integrated curriculum accompanied faculty development and integration of behavioral health faculty. Future research should evaluate if faculty development programs and faculty status of behavioral scientists results in different educational or health care outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-181
Number of pages8
JournalFamily Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


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