In 2019, CHRT’s policy team began analyzing behavioral health workforce challenges and opportunities in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Behavioral Health Workforce Resource Center. In February 2020, CHRT will publish The Behavioral Health Workforce in Rural America: Developing a National Recruitment Strategy, highlighting successful recruitment and retention strategies for behavioral health workers across the US. From 75 key informant interviews, the researchers identified a range of innovative approaches including: increasing the use of public private partnerships to fund tailored loan repayment, scholarships, conferences, and pipeline/pathway programs; investigation of changing certification requirements to encourage earlier entry into practice; and improvements to rural work/life balance to reduce burnout.
In future years, CHRT will complete three studies: 1) support for behavioral health providers during public health emergencies, 2) community health workers as extenders of the behavioral health workforce in certified community behavioral health clinics, and 3) the role of the behavioral health workforce in integrated models of primary and behavioral health care via telemedicine in rural and underserved areas of Michigan. In addition, Nancy Baum, CHRT’s director of policy, will be named deputy director of U-M’s Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center.