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June Highlights

Maryland Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care (BHIPP)

The state of Maryland is one of four states across the nation that was recently awarded a competitively funded grant as part of the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program. The Department would like to thank and recognize Division Director David Pruitt, MD, and Kelly Coble, MSW, both of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, who will serve as the PI and program manager, respectively.

The award will allow for the expansion of BHIPP, which provides direct telemental health services, care coordination, and web-based training for PCPs through the Project ECHO® model.

BHIPP is staffed by professionals with extensive experience in the care and treatment of children and youth with psychiatric disorders, and our team answers calls who can assist with resources, referrals, and questions regarding children’s mental health.

In partnership with the Mental Health Association of Maryland, the program will also conduct outreach and education on pediatric behavioral health disorders and telepsychiatry, as well as build state and local stakeholder networks that are essential to the program’s success. The program will first pilot services in southern and western Maryland and four lower shore counties, before later expanding statewide.

Want to know more about our team? Click here! 

The Maryland Addiction Consultation Service (MACS) was recently awarded a multi-year agreement to expand the service for the period of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2024 for $9.8 million!

The expansion will allow for the MACS Technology Transfer (MACS TT) to enable work with the BHA to study, inform, and disseminate key practices and policies to optimize the capacity and quality of workforce development related to addiction treatment and more -- particularly with the use of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).

MACS currently offers telephone consultation, training, education, and assistance with referral identification to prescribers across the state to treat those with substance use disorders and chronic pain management. Dr. Eric Weintraub, Director of the Division of Addiction Research and Treatment, will be spearheading this initiative, and we thank you for your service on behalf of the Department. Thank you, Dr. Weintraub!

Mom Power team leaders from left to right: Mercedes Hightower, LCSW-C (Adult Outpatient Clinic/Women’s Mental Health), Bri Fellows, LCSW-C (Center for Infant Study), Lisa Andrews, LCSW-C (OATS), and Lauren Carpenter, LCSW-C (Women’s Mental Health Program). 

The Department of Psychiatry recently launched Mom Power, a collaboration among the Division of Consultation Liaison's Women’s Mental Health Program, the Division of Child and Adolescent's Center for Infant Study, and the Division of Addiction Research and Treatment’s OATS Program.

The parenting education and attachment-based program supports families that may be facing times of adversity or stress, and focuses on improving parenting skills, connecting mothers to other mothers and resources, supporting self-care practices, and more. Breakfasts and circle times are elements of the hands-on learning techniques that were initially defined by the University of Michigan.

We sat down with Lauren Carpenter, LCSW-C, to chat about the important work of Mom Power:


Q: Why was the Department of Psychiatry inspired to launch Mom Power, and why is it important that it be established as a collaborative endeavor?

A:  We were inspired to launch Mom Power because the research has shown that it is an excellent model for engaging moms in mental health treatment. Pregnancy and postpartum can be a difficult time for any mom to engage in treatment, given the stigma around mental health, as well as how focused moms are on the needs of their young children. Mom Power addresses some of those barriers by providing childcare, transportation, and a meal, as well as creating a nurturing group environment where moms can make connections and support each other.

It was important to work collaboratively across Departmental divisions because moms have needs that don’t fit neatly into one silo. If they need additional treatment, they may also need mental health services, as well as services for their young child. By working across divisions, we get to utilize the knowledge base of clinicians from all of these backgrounds. We can also make referrals to various services within the Department more easily.

Q: Why is hands-on education important, and why is building a support network equally as important?

A: Mom Power is all about relationships. The focus of the group is supporting the moms as they explore their relationship with their child and reflect on how they want to parent. That can be a really vulnerable place for a lot of moms, especially if they experienced trauma in their relationships with their own parents. It’s the in-person relationships with the other moms and the group facilitators that create a safe and nurturing environment to do that exploration!