Provider Training and Technical Assistance
To make sure that every child and family gets the behavioral health care they need, ECIN trains providers and offers tools that help them deliver the best care possible.
Our programs connect the dots across the many groups who support children and families, allowing them to share information about what works, review the available evidence for treatments, and ensure high quality care is available no matter how or where these families seek help.
Current Training and Education for Providers
Cross-Sector Early Childhood Mental Health Quality Improvement Learning Collaborative
The Quality Improvement Learning Collaborative makes sure that the best practices in mental health care and treatment are available as quickly as possible to the people who provide care. The collaborative also improves how providers work together across different types of behavioral health services.
We use a method called rapid cycle quality improvement (RCQI) that allows us to quickly make changes to our tools as we collect evidence of what is working and what isn’t. Program participants include primary care doctors and nurse practitioners, early childhood education caregivers, and mental health service providers.
Learning sessions help each type of service provider understand the roles of the others, including when and how each group should be pulled into a case. The sessions help providers from every area of care:
Understand how a quality improvement approach like RCQI can continuously improve care through better systems of evaluating impact and results
Learn more about early education programs and options that can work together with health care
Get the latest information on early childhood mental health assessment and treatment
Understand the role that well-child visits and primary care providers can play
Navigate the challenges of coordinating care in the District of Columbia by emphasizing communication and teamwork
The program’s content is updated based on the results from previous sessions and survey feedback from the participants. Ideally, the collaborative will become a model that could be replicated across the Washington, D.C., region, and maybe even across the United States.
Early Childhood Mental Health in Primary Care (ECMH-PC) and the Children’s National Perinatal Mental Health Task Force
Pediatricians have a great opportunity to promote and protect the mental health and emotional wellness of families through regular screening of both adults and children who are at higher risk of mental health challenges, and being well-prepared to educate and guide caregivers. For example, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) occur in adults during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum. These illnesses, if untreated, can have negative effects on parents’ abilities to nurture their children and that can impact a child’s lifelong physical, emotional and cognitive development.
Early Childhood Mental Health in Primary Care
The Early Childhood Mental Health in Primary Care (ECMH-PC) program gives the providers who care for children tools to identify, understand and assist parents with PMADs to get the help they need. As the primary health care contact for newborns and their parents in the weeks and months after birth, pediatricians are in a key position to identify an adult or child in need of additional support. To date, the program has:
Expanded pediatric primary care provider ability to screen for and refer parents with PMADs when they are seen at all five Children’s Health Centers in Washington, D.C. Screenings occur at the two-week, and one-, two-, four-, and six-month well-child checks.
Provided technical support to primary care practices to help them start using proven early childhood mental health screeners at well-child checks.
Testified in support of proposed legislation to create a DC Maternal Mental Health Task Force.
Children’s National Perinatal Mental Health Task Force
The ECMH-PC also created the Children’s National Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, a group at Children’s National that develops and shares best practices so that any provider, regardless of hospital specialty, can identify PMADs, make recommendations and refer parents for treatment when needed.
The task force, in partnership with the DC Collaborative for Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care, has been a key part of Children’s National successfully increasing PMAD screening through better training and resources tailored to the needs of our Washington, D.C., families, including:
Offering PMAD trainings in partnership with Mary’s Center Maternal Mental Health Program to support women experiencing depression or anxiety during pregnancy or after the baby is born.
Contributing expertise and offering educational content about perinatal mental health for both mothers and fathers via the Children’s National Intranet and via DC HealthCheck.
Trauma-Informed Care Training and Online Module
Trauma and adversity can have lifelong impacts on the health and well-being of children and their families. We’re now training many of the adults who interact with young children on how best to use trauma-informed care in daily practice, so they are better equipped to support families.
At Children’s National, we’ve facilitated the training of over 700 physicians, nurses, and staff in the Washington, D.C., region, led by trauma-informed care experts from the National Center for Trauma Informed Care (NCTIC) within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This training focuses on:
Principles of trauma-informed care, including the language we use to talk about it
Signs and symptoms of trauma
Case examples focused on common types of trauma and adversity: violence, loss, food insecurity
Practical de-escalation tactics for distressed caretakers and children
Maintaining workforce wellness and self-care, especially when faced with loss and grief
We’re now bringing this trauma-informed approach to other care providers and service sectors that come in contact with children and families potentially experiencing adverse childhood events, including:
Creating a provider-specific curriculum for community pediatricians and pediatric nurses who care for high-risk populations across Washington, D.C. The Compassion, Practice, Relationships, & Restoration (CPR2) program brings mental health and well-being experts into each medical practice and teaches them how to apply a set of flexible guidelines to common situations.
Offering trauma-informed trainings across the city for others who interact with children and families at high risk, such as:
School leaders, nurses, and resource officers
Community health supports
Trauma-Informed Care Toolkit
In-person full day training isn’t always an option for busy care providers. Working together with the nationally recognized medical education team at Children’s National, we’ve developed an online portal, the Starter Trauma and Resilience toolkit (START), to provide information about trauma-informed care. The toolkit aims to give trainees, doctors, and entire pediatric practices:
Practical knowledge about how trauma affects young patients’ health
Strategies to care for families in a trauma-informed way every day
Common signs and symptoms that a child or family has been exposed to an adverse event
Examples of screening tools and treatment options for children