Primary health care typically encompasses family practice, pediatrics, and internal medicine. Changes in the organization of health care practice and medical education have led to the creation of new roles for psychologists. In terms of sheer patient volume, the primary care sector is America’s de facto mental health system. The rise of evidence-based medicine has highlighted psychologists’ skills in conducting research as well as in evaluating published studies and their implications for practice. Both medical schools and residency education in all specialties require that newly trained physicians demonstrate “professionalism” which includes communication skills, cultural sensitivity, competence in interpersonal interactions and ethics. As a result, observational training and assessment in effective physician-patient interaction has become a central element in medical education. Psychologists have become valued professionals in medical schools and residencies for their ability to teach these skills.
In order to be successful in health care settings, psychologists should have an understanding of medical “culture.” This cultural knowledge includes an appreciation of the differences in training and education between psychologists and physicians. Historically, the adaptations required for successful practice, teaching, and scholarship in primary care have not been part of graduate psychology education. Before beginning his current position at Lake Superior State University. Dr. Searight spent nearly 20 years in medical education and has written several books on the topic including Behavioral Medicine: A Primary Care Approach (Routledge) and Practicing Psychology in Primary Care (Hogrefe). This presentation will describe the current status of psychology in primary health care, medical culture, and the skills required for psychologists to succeed in this setting.
Friday, October 12 at 3:00pm to 4:30pm
West Science, 2904