New Release Jan 7, 2016

Primary Care Providers to Receive Training in Child Behavioral Health

 LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), in collaboration with Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the REACH Institute, a New York-based non-profit organization, will begin training pediatricians and other primary care providers to recognize behavioral health problems in children and adolescents.

Although this training has previously been held in multiple states and Canada, this will be the first opportunity for Arkansas providers. The initial component of the training will be held Jan. 8-10 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital with more than 30 pediatricians from the UAMS Department of Pediatrics, and will eventually be expanded throughout the state.

Peter Jensen, M.D., interim director of the UAMS Department of Psychiatry’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the chief psychiatrist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, will be leading the training session along with a group of nationally prominent pediatricians. Jensen is also president and chief executive officer of the REACH (Resource for Advancing Children’s Health) Institute that develops tools and techniques to help physicians, teachers, counselors and parents dealing with children with emotional and behavioral disorders.

The training is designed to educate physicians and nurse practitioners who regularly see young patients but have not had sufficient background and training in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illnesses like depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

“Roughly 15 percent of the children in Arkansas have some form of significant behavioral health concern, whether it’s ADHD or depression,” said Jensen, also program director of the UAMS Child Psychiatry Fellowship. “Given Arkansas’ severe shortage of child psychiatrists, we are going to be working with the primary care providers because they are the ones on the front lines – the first responders when it comes to helping these kids.”

According to the American Medical Association, from 1995 to 2013 the U.S. population increased by about 37 percent while the number of adult and child psychiatrists rose by only 12 percent, from 43,640 to 49,079. This translates into a severe shortage of physicians with the knowledge necessary to treat children with behavioral health disorders, said Jensen.

With REACH, a non-profit organization created in 2006, Jensen has led training and developed programs for physicians in New York, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Carolina.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done the training with so many of the key primary care faculty in a children’s hospital,” said Jensen. “REACH is coming here to help pediatricians not trained in behavioral health. They will get hands-on experience in presenting, demonstrating and practicing primary care-based child psychiatric care.”

With the involvement of UAMS and ACH leadership, the training program will eventually be expanded to primary care clinics throughout the state with the help of many of those attending the initial session.

“The goal is to take three or four of those attending the first program and to assist them to become teachers of other primary care providers across the state.” he said. “The intensity and length of the training is necessary because they are learning new skills, not just knowledge.”

ACH is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. Over the past century, ACH has grown from a small orphanage in Little Rock to a statewide network of care that includes an expansive pediatric teaching hospital and research institute, as well as regional clinics in several counties. ACH also reaches children across the state and nation through a range of telemedicine capabilities that ensures every child has access to the best care available, regardless of location or resources. The hospital’s campus in Little Rock spans 36 city blocks and houses 370 beds, a staff of 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. A campus under development in northwest Arkansas will bring 225,000 square feet of inpatient beds, clinic rooms and diagnostic services to children in that region of the state. A private nonprofit, ACH boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking research — all dedicated to fulfilling its mission of championing children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow. For more info, visit

Primary Care Providers to Receive Training in Child Behavioral Health

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional

centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,021 students, 789 medical residents and two dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS regional centers throughout the state. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

Media Contacts:
Leslie W. Taylor, 501-686-8998
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Hilary DeMillo, 501-364-6445
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