Med-Psych SIG Members at Forefront of Integrated Care

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Med-Psych SIG Members at Forefront of Integrated Care

ACLP’s Medicine & Psychiatry SIG (special interest group) consists of Academy members who have either completed combined training or who are practicing in the field of integrated medical-psychiatric care. They discuss topics such as building careers that integrate medicine and psychiatry, research initiatives, and training issues.

We’ve been talking with SIG chair and founder Thomas Heinrich, MD, FACLP, of the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin.

What are the key issues currently being debated by SIG members?

Thomas Heinrich
Thomas Heinrich, MD, FACLP

Integration “Members are very interested in building integrated models of care,” says Dr. Heinrich. “Integration may be directing the placement of psychiatric expertise in medical and surgical clinics, or medical care into psychiatric clinics. Members are creating all sorts of innovative models of med-psych integrated care within primary care and speciality care clinics.”

Education “Members are also actively involved in helping to teach primary care providers how to identify and treat a wide range of psychiatric conditions, as well as helping psychiatrists stay up-to-date in commonly encountered medical conditions. In addition, the SIG is involved in helping residents in combined training programs to recognize the importance of C-L training.”

Do you have plans for workshops/general sessions at the ACLP Orlando Annual Meeting?

“We were fortunate enough to have an abstract accepted for presentation as a preconference Skills course at this year’s annual meeting—Update in Internal Medicine for the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist. It is the sixth year the SIG has provided this topic as a preconference Skills course.

“The Update helps busy C-L psychiatrists with five commonly encountered medical conditions present in both the general medical hospital and the ambulatory practice setting.

“Subjects discussed will include:

How, as you have proposed, are you planning to attract new members and “increase the SIG’s usefulness?”

“I think SIGs grow when they demonstrate a usefulness to their members; for example, by helping our members to publish and present their work.

“Sharing of clinical best practices have also been a hot topic during our meetings. The innovative work our members are doing is truly impressive. The improved functionality of the ACLP SIG listserv service has helped increase memberships’ ability to communicate and share ideas and/or questions.”

Are you cooperating on any joint activity with another professional organization?

“We collaborate with the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry (AMP) on various educational initiatives. For example, SIG members will be meeting and teaching at AMP’s annual meeting this fall in Chicago. In addition, AMP and ACLP members will be jointly teaching the preconference course at this year’s ACLP annual meeting.”

Why do we have a separate Med-Psych SIG? Isn’t Med-Psych common to all ACLP member practices?

“When I started coming to the Academy meetings in the late 1990s, there was a strong collaborative relationship between the Academy and AMP. I enjoyed this mutually beneficial relationship, as the organizations overlapped significantly in clinical, administrative, and research initiatives.

“Over the years, as each organization grew, the meetings were delinked, making collaboration a challenge. It was with great pleasure that I was able to help establish the SIG in 2010 to continue to build on those shared interests.

“Initially, the SIG was viewed as a home in the Academy for folks who completed a combined residency and are practicing C-L. However, over the years, the SIG’s scope has expanded and all Academy members interested in the field of integrated medical-psychiatric care are welcomed and engaged members. In fact, CL psychiatrists now far outnumber folks that completed combined training in the Med-Psych SIG!”

Members can subscribe to the Medicine & Psychiatry SIG from their member profile, accessible via the ACLP website.

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