Too many individuals and families affected by mental health and addiction problems struggle with access to good care because of a serious shortage of mental health professionals. Our department has a longstanding commitment to addressing state-wide workforce needs through programs such as the Integrated Care Training Program (ICTP), the Evidence Based Practice Institute (EBPI), recently incorporated into the CoLab), and we are expanding our efforts in this area by launching the Behavioral Health Workforce Expansion and Lifelong Learning (BWELL) program. This new program will develop new training opportunities that complement our existing programs for medical students, psychology and psychiatry residents. New initiatives under the BWELL umbrella will include the recently funded Behavioral Health Support Specialist (BHSS) program for undergraduates, a new residency program for advanced practice providers, and an effort to develop core infrastructure to grow our educational capacity across the department and for our community partners.
Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, will provide leadership for this new program in a new departmental role as Director for Behavioral Health Workforce Expansion and Lifelong Learning. Dr. Ratzliff has overseen many of our workforce development initiatives as Director of the Integrated Care Training Program and Co-Director of the AIMS Center, and she is well-positioned to take on this challenge. We are excited that Dr. Ratzliff will bring her creativity, innovation and passion for improving access to mental health care to this new role. She will also continue to serve as Director of the Psychiatry Residency Training Program while we conduct a national search to identify a new leader for this important role.