Primary Care Behavioral Health Fellowship Curriculum

Two colleagues stand at a clinic lobby desk and smile as they chat

Primary Care Behavioral health fellows are an integral part of family medicine resident training as well as clinical services provided to patients.

Our curriculum is a longitudinal one, with the ultimate goal of developing clinical competency to provide evidence-based psychological services in a primary care setting, including mental health and behavioral health patient care and integrated behavioral health services.

The fellowship is also designed to advance skills in conducting scholarly activity that advances the field of behavioral health. There are required training activities, including a minimum of 3 hours of clinical supervision per
week plus additional clinical and research supervision. In addition, the fellows will develop a research plan that is carried out under supervision and completed at the end of the fellowship. It is expected that fellows will present the project at a local or national meeting. Fellows are encouraged to turn their project into publishable articles in peer-reviewed publications under faculty supervision. The ultimate goal of this part of the curriculum is to develop research skills to carry out independent research.

In addition, fellows will learn methods of primary care behavioral health and upon completion of the fellowship, will be able to:

  • Develop curriculum and provide medical education on behavioral medicine concepts to medical students and residents
  • Effectively train and work with primary care physicians and other health care professionals
  • Develop new programming and services appropriate for the primary care setting

The training is designed to meet requirements for psychology licensure in Minnesota as well as the competencies required for integrated behavioral health.

Outpatient services

A provider and patient sit in an exam room in chairs, smiling and chatting

Fellows provide integrated behavioral health care and patient care at either Bethesda and Smiley’s family medicine clinics or at Broadway Family Medicine Clinic and North Memorial Medical Center. Learn more about where we practice

Bethesda, Smiley’s, and Broadway are integrated care clinics. Fellows are available to see patients as they are attending appointments with their primary care providers. Examples of some of the issues that come up during these visits include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Crisis intervention
  • Health behavior change
  • Mental health assessment
  • Pediatric obesity prevention

Fellows also see their own patients, referred by the primary care providers at the clinics. Issues that fellows see patients for include:

  • Acculturation issues
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Health behavior changes
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Somatization disorders

Finally, fellows will participate in population management efforts in the clinics that include:

  • Population health management
  • Chronic pain and complex patient management
  • Post-hospitalization team visits

Each clinic serves economically and ethnically diverse populations. Fellows have the opportunity to work with refugee and immigrant populations, particularly from the Hmong, Karen, and East African communities.

Fellows as teachers

Fellows are involved in the training of family medicine residents regarding psychosocial aspects of patient care.

Behavioral health teaching is done in many ways:

  • Review digital recordings of patient encounters with residents
  • Shadow residents while engaged in patient care (inpatient and outpatient) and provide feedback on patient-centered communication skills
  • Co-precept and co-visit with residents
  • Provide lectures on relevant primary care behavioral health topics
  • Facilitate the second- and third-year resident support group at Smiley’s Family Medicine Clinic

Scholarly project

Fellows are required to complete a scholarly project. It is expected that fellows will present the project at a local or national meeting. It is hoped that this project can be turned into a publishable article under faculty supervision.