The following is an excerpt from our latest impact story. The Hogg Foundation awarded $440,000 to support the Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars Program at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. The innovative curriculum focuses on building cultural competency and helping students develop a deeper understanding of social determinants of health.
Because mental well-being exists in close relationship to physical well-being, patient care that integrates mental health care into physical health care can have a more meaningful and lasting impact than treatment for each in isolation. And when integrated care teams also understand and address how social and environmental conditions impact mental health, patient outcomes can improve even more.
In many health care settings in Texas, however, general mental health care is lacking, much less integrated care. Over 75 percent of Texas counties are in mental health professional shortage areas and Texas ranks second to last nationally in mental health workforce availability and overall access to mental health care for youth and adults.
Also lacking are educational opportunities that aim to increase students’ awareness of and sensitivity toward cultural and social variables that impact a patient’s mental well-being.
In response to these urgent needs, and with the support of the Hogg Foundation and the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin, (DellMed) launched the Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) Scholars Program at UT Austin in 2017.