Behavioral Health


Purpose

Behavioral health care is often inaccessible and uncoordinated with medical care. Access, use, and outcomes are inequitably distributed. Integrating primary medical care and behavioral health in clinical settings can play a key role in improving health, and such integrated care promises to grow in the years to come. Social workers can and should play a very important role in delivering this integrated care.

We are working to create a social network of professionals with a shared interest and mission of improving behavioral health in underserved populations, with a particular focus on the role of social work in fostering change to address diverse needs.

Our research examines how best to integrate medical and behavioral health care with a focus on the impact social work is making today and how the profession can play an even greater role in improving effectiveness, by disseminating and implementing integrated care and working with all of the health professionals needed for success in this arena.

Research

The goals of our research are to gain new insights: (1) into improving health, in part by better preparing social work professionals to lead and participate in efforts to transform and improve primary medical care; and (2) into reducing inequities in access, use, and outcomes of behavioral health care.

We define Behavioral Health care as addressing mental health including substance use disorders. The WHO defines Behavioral Health as “A state of well-being, in which an individual realizes her or his own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her/his community” (WHO, 2002).

We define Behavioral Health interventions as empirically supported prevention and treatment methods for mental health conditions including substance use disorders.

We define Behavioral Health policy as a set of recommendations, guidelines, regulations, courses of action, and funding priorities concerning the prevention and treatment of mental health conditions including substance use disorders that are promulgated by health care institutions, government health entities, health care payers, and their representatives.

People

  • Lena Lundgren

    Boston University School of Social Work

  • Rich Saitz

    Boston University School of Public Health

  • Dan Do

    Lynn Community Health Center

  • Hyeouk Hahm

    Boston University School of Social Work

  • Ivy Krull

    Boston University School of Social Work

  • Kim Mueser

    Boston University Sargent College / BU Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

  • Jessica Sousa

    Boston University School of Social Work / Boston University School of Public Health

  • Linda Sprague-Martinez

    Boston University School of Social Work

  • Gail Steketee

    Boston University School of Social Work

  • Nermeen Tahoun

    Boston University School of Social Work / Boston University School of Public Health

  • Angela Wangari Walter

    University of Massachusetts – Lowell