Learning collaborative: The DC Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (DCAAP) has
partnered with Children’s National Health System and more than 25 child-serving organizations in the District of Columbia to create the DC Collaborative for Mental Health
in Pediatric Primary Care. The goals of this collaborative are to help DC
pediatric health providers build mental health screening into their practice
workflows and address any identified patient needs. Participating practices
will engage in Plan, Do, Study, Act cycles and receive free mental health
screening resources like the Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social–Emotional Starter
Kit and the AAP Mental Health Toolkit. Practices will also receive onsite support
from mental health and quality improvement coaches and participate in monthly
conference calls where colleagues can share solutions and best practices.
Participating practices can earn up to 30 hours of continuing medical education
credit. Since December 2014, 15 practices representing 142 providers have
participated in the learning collaborative. DCAAP has received funding to
launch a second cohort in early 2015.
Educational session: In 2012, DCAAP hosted an educational session on developmental screening
attended by approximately 50 providers. The chapter partnered with school-based
health officials and nurses for the event and distributed free Ages and Stages
Questionnaire Starter Kits to attending practitioners. The session also included
developmental screening training. Because of the relatively small size of
DCAAP’s coverage, most attendees were notified of the event through email or
personal contacts. Since then, however, the chapter has begun taking advantage
of online outreach methods, including Facebook and Twitter, to announce events
like educational symposia or Webinars. The chapter has even worked with a
technology and communications consulting company to revamp its Web site and
evaluate its communications strategy. These efforts have resulted in an
improved public image and increased success in obtaining grant funding.
DCAAP has worked with a number of organizations in its efforts to implement
Bright Futures practices. As part of its mental health learning collaborative,
for instance, the chapter worked with the DC Department of Health (DOH) to
successfully advocate for funds from the DC City Council. These funds will go
toward creating a Child
Psychiatry Access program that is similar to the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry
Access Program; the program will
provide guidance to pediatricians on patients’ mental health issues. DOH also
supported the chapter’s human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program, including a
Vaccination Congress in spring 2014 that brought together pediatricians and
City Council members to develop plans to improve HPV vaccination rates.
In addition, the
chapter has formed several working groups with community organizations. The
most active of these is the Adolescent Health Workgroup that was formed in
2012. Members include representatives from nonprofit organizations that focus on
HIV and pregnancy prevention; these organizations have typically worked in
parallel but, through this group, now have an opportunity to work together.
More recently, the chapter launched an Immigrant Health Committee tasked with increasing the understanding of health, legal, educational, and social issues of immigrant children and families among pediatricians and other professionals involved in their care.