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Empowering Primary Care Providers to Support Mental and Behavioral Health

Seattle Children’s Care Network (SCCN) Integrated Behavioral Health Program helps kids receive behavioral health services from specialists embedded in their primary care clinic.

Seattle Children’s has teamed up with primary care pediatricians in the Puget Sound region to implement a new approach to address the growing youth mental health crisis.

Seattle Children’s Care Network (SCCN) and Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine launched a Pediatric Integrated Behavioral Health Program in 2020 to provide children and their families with the mental and behavioral health support they need earlier and closer to home.

The innovative program aims to empower primary care teams to identify, manage and coordinate mental and behavioral health services within their community settings with the long-term goal of alleviating pressure on hospitals and specialty care practices.

“We know we can make a difference for a significant number of kids with mental and behavioral health conditions,” said Dr. Sheryl Morelli, chief medical officer for Seattle Children’s Care Network. “By screening and treating kids in primary care, when appropriate, more kids can receive treatment and we can create capacity in the system. The program takes a bigger, population health approach to meeting the behavioral mental health need of kids in our community.”

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Creating Opportunities in Health Information Technology for the Next Generation of Pediatric Leaders

Melvin Smith (second from the left) works around the clock to develop IT’s workforce of the future. By day, he leads the hospital desktop team, and by night, he teaches Health IT classes at Seattle Colleges

When Information Technology (IT) supervisor Melvin Smith first joined Seattle Children’s as an administrative fellow in 2018, he never imagined where he’d be today. 

“I have always worked in environments where I was either the youngest or the only individual from my community group,” Smith explained.  

He also knows what it’s like to be ‘othered’ and understands the power of a great mentor. 

“I built the foundation of my career around not liking disparities,” he explained. “From my experiences with internships, fellowships and getting my first job, I always took the approach that I want to be the person I wish I had.” 

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