The integrated behavioral health experience provides training in the competencies required to work effectively within primary health care and other medical settings, preparing students to work as behavioral consultants to both patients and medical staff.
Our integrated behavioral health training includes didactic coursework as well as practica in primary care health delivery settings. After appropriate coursework, students are placed in primary healthcare settings where they provide onsite services to primary healthcare patients. Basic services provided include focused interventions for depression and anxiety, chronic illness management training, assistance in health behavior change, and assistance with adherence to medical recommendations.
Increasing healthy behaviors and eliminating unhealthy behavior patterns is critical to long-term prevention of chronic medical conditions and the management of chronic conditions when they occur. Facilitating health behavior change is an essential component of behavioral consultation in primary care settings. Our training encompasses primary areas of health behavior change; including tobacco cessation, weight management, pain management, sleep hygiene, fatigue management, exercise planning, and stress management.
We prepare our students to work effectively with all types of health care providers. In the behavioral consultation model, students work hand-in-hand with physicians, advanced nurse practitioners, nurses, and case managers to improve patient care. Our training also involves increasing communication within the medical setting, providing self-care programs for medical staff, and team building activities.
We emphasize the use of evidence-based interventions; including patient education materials, well researched health behavior change procedures, specific skills training, and motivational interviewing techniques.
Working in medical settings involves a faster pace and more focused patient interaction. We train our students to quickly evaluate and provide basic interventions to patients on the same day they are seen by the primary medical care provider.
Our program currently provides IBH practicum training and services within the Brevard Health Alliance, a Federally Qualified Health Center, and the State of Florida Department of Health, Brevard County. The populations served in these settings are diverse in age and ethnicity, and many patients have chronic illnesses and disabilities. Thus, our integrated behavioral health training increases opportunities for training and service with underserved and diversity patients who might not otherwise receive the benefit of behavioral healthcare or the opportunity to participate in health behavior change programs.
Our IHB clinical activities create opportunities for systemic evaluation of our training model, the utility of behavioral health consultation services, and the effectiveness of psychological interventions for health behavior change. Current faculty maintain ongoing research programs in these areas. Student participation often begins in the first year of the program, and a number of Doctoral Research Projects with a behavioral health focus are completed each year.