MELBOURNE, FLA.—A Florida Institute of Technology service contribution to the Primary Access To Health (PATH) Clinic helped to earn the Brevard County public health program a national award for excellence in public health. The award, from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and presented in July, selected PATH as one of only 38 model practice programs in the United States. The PATH Clinic was honored for “implementing a program that demonstrates exemplary and replicable qualities in response to a local public health need.”
Florida Tech psychology students, in a practicum experience, have for the past years provided integrated behavioral health training services for PATH.
"The Behavioral Health service provided by Florida Tech contributed to winning the Model Practice award,” said Heidar Heshmati, M.D., director, Florida Department of Health, Brevard County.
Florida Tech School of Psychology Professor Tom Harrell developed the clinical psychology concentration in integrated behavioral health that places the students at PATH. He said, “By adding our behavioral health service, the clinic has been able to address the psychological needs of patients and give them training and tools to improve their health-related behaviors.”
Five students, supervised by Harrell, have supported the PATH Clinic at the Viera and Melbourne locations in the past year. The students provide immediate assessment and intervention for patients identified with psychological difficulties who need to make health behavior changes such as increasing exercise, ceasing smoking or taking medications as prescribed.