Baylor College of Medicine has been selected as the Centralized Operation Support Hub for the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium.
The Consortium was created in 2019 by the 86th Texas Legislature to leverage the expertise and capacity of the state’s health-related institutions of higher education to improve mental health and the mental health care system for children and adolescents.
The Consortium, which was provided $99 million in funding for the 2019-2021 biennium, consists of all 13 state-funded health related institutions of higher education in Texas along with key state agencies and statewide nonprofits.
“The establishment of the Consortium is big leap forward for Texas in its support of children and adolescents dealing with mental health issues,” said Dr. Laurel Williams, medical director of the hub, child and adolescent psychiatry training director and associate professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor. “It is a great privilege for our team to serve in this role.”
The Consortium consists of four main programs.
- The Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN) will provide telehealth-based consultation and training to pediatricians to assist them with identifying and treating mental health issues in their patients.
- The Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) program will provide in-school behavioral telehealth care to at-risk children and adolescents.
- The Workforce Expansion program will fund new full-time psychiatrist and residency positions in community mental health centers and new fellowship positions at academic health centers.
- The Research program will fund multi-institutional research projects that have the potential for advancing mental healthcare for children and adolescents.
In its role as the Centralized Operation Support Hub, Baylor will support the rest of the Consortium institutions in implementing these programs. This support will include establishing and managing both a centralized communications system linking all CPAN and TCHATT sites across Texas and a centralized data management system to allow teams to link and collect information between CPAN, TCHATT and the workforce expansion initiatives.
“Texas Children’s Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor are very proud to partner with Dr. Williams and the consortium in implementing this program. We believe this initiative will expand access to mental health services for the many children and adolescents across our community in need of this care. We would like to congratulate Dr. Williams for her leadership in this endeavor,” said Dr. Gordon Schutze, interim chair and professor of pediatrics at Baylor.
As medical director, Williams will coordinate and facilitate collaboration between clinicians participating in CPAN and TCHATT initiatives and assist with problem resolution for issues that arise during day-to-day operations of the initiatives.
“Dr. Williams and her team have already been essential in setting up the structure that will enable the Consortium to truly serve the needs of some of our most vulnerable Texans,” said Dr. David Lakey, presiding officer of the Consortium and chief medical officer and vice chancellor for health for the University of Texas System. “We look forward to working with them to grow and develop these programs.”
Dr. Wayne Goodman, professor and chair in the Menninger Department Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor, and Williams represent Baylor on the executive committee of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium.