Welcome to the Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center's newsletter, where you can keep up to date with our research, presentations, publications, and events.
News & Updates
In this Issue:

  • BHWRC Staff Update
  • Welcome, Roger Luo!
  • Year 4 Project Highlights
  • Behavioral Health Provider Geographic Distribution and Reimbursement Inequities
  • Behavioral Health Service Provision by Primary Care Physicians
  • Behavioral Health Workforce Training Toolkit
  • Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association BHWRC Article
  • BHWRC Research and Publications in the News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Connect with Us on Social Media
BHWRC Staff Update
The BHWRC recently welcomed Roger Luo to our team as a Senior Data Scientist.
Roger Luo, MS
Senior Data Scientist

As a senior data science professional, Roger has gained extensive experience in advanced analytics, product research and development, and project management in information technology and healthcare. He has always been involved with cutting-edge technology in different companies such as IBM and SAS. Roger received his Master of Science degree in Statistics & Operations Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Roger’s research interests include applying quantitative methods on solving real-world complicated health issues, for instance, chronic disease, social determinants of health, substance use and behavioral health problems.
Year 4 Project Highlights
Behavioral Health Provider Geographic Distribution and Reimbursement Inequities
The geographic distribution of behavioral health providers contributes to variation in behavioral health care availability in the U.S. This is the first study to explore the relationship between reimbursement and geographic provider shortages within the behavioral health workforce.

Using a case study of licensed psychologists, we observe that reimbursement is positively correlated with the number of non-self-employed psychologists in metropolitan areas. We suspect that the effect identified here will be of greater magnitude in a comparison between areas with even starker inequalities in number of behavioral health providers, such as between metropolitan and rural areas. Our findings suggest that future policies should focus on addressing reimbursement inequalities both with provider groups by geography and across comparable clinical categories.
Behavioral Health Service Provision by Primary Care Physicians
Primary care physicians purportedly deliver half the nation's behavioral health services , yet little is known about their specific experiences, opinions, or preferences in this field of medicine. By working with  Toluna Healthcare , a survey panel company, the BHWRC surveyed 313 primary care physicians about the behavioral health services they provide. 

Overall, primary care physicians were more likely to screen, diagnose, and treat patients with common, low-complexity behavioral health disorders (depression and anxiety) than serious mental illness or substance use disorder. These preferences corresponded with the physicians' higher self-reported confidence in treating low-complexity disorders over high-complexity disorders. After stratifying respondents by the geography of their primary practice location, statistical tests verified that rural providers were significantly more likely to diagnose and treat behavioral health disorders than non-rural providers. 

Given these findings, policymakers nationwide are advised to update medical curricula and accreditation standards to emphasize behavioral health. For rural populations in particular, states could aim to increase primary care providers' access to specialty behavioral health providers via adjusting telepsychiatry regulations, incentivizing integrated care through Medicaid, and establishing in-state medical training programs/residencies.
Health Workforce Training Toolkit
The BHWRC's Health Workforce Training Program Evaluation Toolkit is now available!

This Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-funded program evaluation guide was developed with the help of health workforce training key informants who shared their experiences with evaluating program strengths and challenges.

The Toolkit serves as a "program evaluation 101" resource for both new and established health workforce programs interested in self-evaluation.

Tips and strategies featured in this how-to guide include logic model development, approaches for crafting evaluation questions, and stakeholder engagement.

Click the image to access the toolkit.
JAPNA Article
The Distribution of Advanced Practice Nurses Within the Psychiatric Workforce
One of the BHWRC's latest research articles has recently been published in Volume 26, Issue 1 of Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association: The Distribution of Advanced Practice Nurses Within the Psychiatric Workforce.

The purpose of this study was to examine the size and distribution of the advanced practice psychiatric nurse workforce relative to the total psychiatry workforce to determine whether nurses are predominantly working in areas with higher or lower levels of behavioral health specialists.

The findings of this study find inconsistent pattern of how psychiatric nurses are distributed relative to the rest of the workforce, but reinforce the idea that they are essential in addressing care needs in areas with low concentrations of psychiatry specialists—especially if they are authorized to work to the full extent of their training/education.
BHWRC Research and Publications in the News
BHWRC's Director, Angela Beck, co-authored of one of the American Journal of Public Health's "Papers of the Year - 2019:"
Upcoming Events
Look for BHWRC at these upcoming conferences:

June 13-16
Boston, MA

May 6-8
Bethesda, MD
Connect with Us on Social Media
In addition to carrying out important research projects, the BHWRC seeks to serve as a convener of behavioral health organizations and practitioners, and to become a recognized voice on behavioral health news, information, and research.

One method we use to accomplish these goals is social media, so please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up with the latest behavioral health news.
Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center | University of Michigan
Phone: (734) 763-3118 | E-mail: bhworkforce@umich.edu