Buffalo, N.Y. -- Childrens' psychosocial problems are among the
most common reasons for pediatric office visits. But, because there
is a critical shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists in the
nation and in New York State, many pediatricians and family
physicians end up providing much of their patients' psychiatric
Through 2014, New York State pediatricians and family physicians
will be getting some much-needed help, thanks to a project being
led by David Kaye, MD, professor of psychiatry in the University at
Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Kaye is project director on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for
Primary Care (CAP PC), a $2.4 million grant led by UB and funded by
New York State that is designed to address problems stemming from
the critical shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists.
"Across the U.S., we have large numbers of children with mental
health needs and few child psychiatrists to care for them, and the
situation in New York State is no different," Kaye says. "While
other local or regional consultation programs exist around the
country, there are only a few statewide programs and CAP PC is the
first in the U.S. to include a comprehensive educational
The educational component involves providing to primary care
physicians a Mini Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Mental Health,
a training program developed by the REACH Institute, which helps
health care providers treat the mental health needs of children and
The CAP PC grant supports a program in which psychiatrists and
other mental health professionals with a minimum of master's level
training, provide educational and consultative services through a
toll-free help-line for primary care physicians throughout New York
State to help them treat young patients with mild to moderate
mental health needs.
"The goal of the CAP PC program is not only to support primary
care physicians by providing consultations, but also to improve
their skills in assessment and management of child mental health
problems," says Kaye, director of training in child and adolescent
psychiatry at UB.
The service is available from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m. to respond in real time to requests for assistance from
pediatricians and family physicians, providing information about
medications, therapy, referrals and resources they can access
locally. More information is available at http://www.cappcny.org/home/
Kaye stresses that the program is for mild to moderate cases,
not emergencies or those that clearly belong in the mental health
system. "CAP PC is designed to provide assistance on cases where
the child can be managed successfully in the primary care setting,"
From 2006 to 2011, Kaye addressed similar issues with the Rapid
Pediatric Psychiatric Consultation project that he had been awarded
from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.
New York's CAP PC program grew out of an effort that involved
the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of
Family Physicians along with the New York State Office of Mental
Health to discuss ways to remedy the shortage of physicians who
could address childrens' mental health issues. The funding of the
CAP PC, Kaye notes, dovetails with federal and state initiatives to
create medical homes, which are designed to meet all of a patients'
physical and mental health care needs.
Kaye's collaborators on the project at UB are Steve Dubovsky,
MD, Ken Leonard, PhD, Beth Smith, MD, and Alex Cogswell, PhD, all
in the Department of Psychiatry. Other institutions collaborating
with UB on CAP PC are the University of Rochester, Columbia
University, SUNY Upstate and Long Island Jewish/North Shore