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Acad Pediatr. 2009 May-Jun;9(3):164-71. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2009.01.009.

Reported physician skills in the management of children's mental health problems following an educational intervention.

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Division of General Pediatrics, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1198, New York, New York 10029-6474, USA.



The tristate Reaching Children Initiative (RCI) was designed to engage primary care physicians (PCPs) and increase reported knowledge and skills in the diagnosis and management of the most common mental health (MH) problems among children and adolescents.


PCPs responded to a baseline survey and agreed to participate in an educational intervention or serve in a comparison group. The program, delivered by an interdisciplinary faculty, engaged the audience in role play, motivational techniques, and didactics. To assess the overall effectiveness of the intervention, baseline, and 6-month follow-up, surveys asked PCPs to rate their knowledge, diagnostic skills regarding socioemotional problems, knowledge of treatment strategies for these problems, awareness of MH resources, and attitudes towards diagnosing and treating MH problems.


Of the 215 baseline respondents, 137 chose to participate in the educational intervention and 78 served as a comparison group; of these, 64% and 59%, respectively, completed the 6-month survey. The overall sample was predominantly female (70.2%), white (64.7%), and had been in practice for over 10 years (57.5%). Repeated measures analysis, confirmed by propensity analyses, revealed significantly improved reported mean scores for diagnostic skills and knowledge of clinical strategies for the intervention relative to the comparison group. The intervention did not significantly impact awareness of resources or attitudes.


Following the RCI, PCPs did report significant changes in self-efficacy specific to diagnostic skills and knowledge of clinical treatment strategies for targeted MH content. This educational approach merits further study.

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