New Mental Health Training Empowers Pediatric Residents to Better Serve Young Patients

May 15, 2024

As part of an ongoing effort to improve children’s mental health outcomes, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center teamed up with The REACH Institute to deliver an innovative, evidence-based mental health training program for its pediatric residents and faculty. The program equips the next generation of pediatricians with the skills and knowledge to address and manage common mental health concerns among child and adolescent patients.

On May 1st, 9th, and 10th, residents participated in The REACH Institute’s flagship training, the Patient-Centered Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care (PPP) program, taught by the organization's world-class faculty of child and adolescent psychiatrists and primary care providers (PCPs). The program trains PCPs how to diagnose and treat the most common mental health conditions seen in their everyday practice.

In 2022, The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded a $2.5 million grant to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, titled Primary Care Training and Enhancement-Residency Training in Mental and Behavioral Health (PCTE-RTMB) through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This grant aims to train pediatric primary care physicians meet families’ mental health needs through training pediatric residents and faculty, with a specific focus on the mental health needs of children and adolescents. The award is part of a total $60 million nationwide investment in this initiative.

Through this grant, Evelyn Berger-Jenkins, MD, a pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and an interdisciplinary team of pediatricians, psychologists, and psychiatrists created the NYP-HRSA CARES (Cross Sector Alliance in Resident Education in Social-emotional health) program. The program's goals are especially important in the context of a shortage of behavioral health providers and increase in mental health concerns among New York City children.

This event is the first in a series of trainings offered in partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and marks the first time The REACH Institute’s PPP program has been offered to pediatric residents at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, enabling a new cohort of providers to enter the workforce ready to deliver the most up-to-date, evidence-based mental health care to their patients.

To learn more about this innovative mental health training program, please contact Alexandria Wang, Program Lead,

The REACH Institute is dedicated to ensuring that the most effective, scientifically proven mental health care reaches all children and families. The Institute provides thousands of primary care providers, therapists, and health care institutions with training in the best evidence-based therapies to better diagnose, treat, and manage child and adult mental health issues.

The NYP-HRSA CARES (Cross Sector Alliance in Resident Education in Social-emotional health) program is designed to train pediatric residents and faculty in addressing mental health concerns among their patients, which is especially important in the context of growing mental health disparities, the shortage of behavioral health providers, and increase in mental health concerns among NYC children. NYP-HRSA CARES is led by Dr. Evelyn Berger-Jenkins and an interdisciplinary team of pediatricians, psychologists, and psychiatrists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University.

In addition to the members of the Department of Pediatrics listed below, the CARES team includes: Warren Ng, MD, Liora Hoffman, PhD, Rachel Zuckerbrot, MD, Jennifer Rahman, MD, Alexandria Wang, and Paula Richter, MSW.