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Journal Publication Addresses Gap in Psychiatric Care for Children and Adolescents

TULSA – Four physicians with OU Physicians Tulsa have co-authored a paper about often-untreated psychiatric disorders in children, recently published in the Journal of the Oklahoma State Medical Association.

OU-TU School of Community Medicine faculty members are Andrew Liew, M.D., assistant Professor of Child Psychiatry and Director of Medical Student Education, George Kaiser Family Foundation Professorship in Community Medicine; and Heath Mueller, M.D., Assistant Professor and Oxley Foundation Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The collaboration included April Bowling, M.D., Medical Director of Pediatrics, OU Physicians Tulsa; and Hilary Redemann, D.O., fellow, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program. Together they submitted a manuscript, Increasing Access to Child Psychiatrists for the Youth of Oklahoma through Outpatient Pediatric Psychiatry Consultation for publication. Their work cites the prevalence of psychiatric illnesses in children and adolescents and the shortage of specialists who provide pediatric psychiatric care.

“Our research found 66 child and adolescent psychiatrists in Oklahoma currently serve nearly a million youth in the state under the age of 18,” said Redemann. “The impact is that prevalent conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression and anxiety disorders are not being treated at all in some cases, or at best, not being treated as effectively as they should.”

Based on a model of care developed at the University of Florida College of Medicine, Jacksonville, members of child and adolescent psychiatry faculty at OU Physicians Tulsa saw opportunities to increase access to care through more direct collaboration with pediatricians at the OU Schusterman Pediatric Clinic. A natural partnership emerged in which OU Physicians Tulsa pediatricians referred patients needing psychiatric evaluation and care to Schusterman Pediatric Clinic. 

Given the stigma that may follow patients and families seeking psychiatric care, the familiarity of a traditional pediatric clinical setting is preferred by many. One of the goals of the clinic is to facilitate training in the management of psychiatric issues. OU Physicians Tulsa pediatricians welcome opportunities to broaden their depth of expertise that enables them to provide more comprehensive and psychiatric-specific care. 

“We see great promise in this model of collaborative pediatric/psychiatry care,” Redemann said. “In the face of such overwhelming need, we look at every innovation in care delivery as a part of the solution.”