Message from the Chair
Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH
Professor and Chair
Department of Family & Community Medicine
SIU School of Medicine
The Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is on fire! No, don’t call 911 – just take advantage of the renewed interest that the government, insurers, and industry have in the type of care and education that is the tradition of Family Medicine.
Three of the seven characteristics of the PCMH that lead to improved healthcare outcomes and lower healthcare costs are:
- Coordinated care – the degree of integration of care among healthcare professionals and staff, both within the PCMH and with outside organizations and consultants.
- Community orientation – the degree to which the practice assesses the needs of the community, designs interventions and measures outcomes.
- Cultural competence – the degree to which the biopsychosocial model is employed and health models are addressed.
It is in these three areas that Behavioral Science is indispensable to the care we provide our patients and to the education of our students and residents.
Mental health services, public health departments, and primary care offices are the keys to the foundation of an effective and equitable healthcare system. Sadly, these community-based services have been significantly fragmented and underfunded. Over the past two years, Congress has made the PCMH the centerpiece of all legislation of healthcare reform. This legislation contains elements that closely align services provided by the PCMH, mental health organizations, public health departments, and community-care coordination organizations. Our Behavioral Science faculty members improve the collaboration among the many healthcare professionals in our organizations, give us skills in detecting, treating and consulting for the wide spectrum of mental health problems, and give us an understanding of the needs of our communities and how our patients respond to their environment and cultures. Most importantly of all, they are indispensible partners in the development of integrated care models of the future.
Effective care for our patients, families, and communities comes only when we have an understanding of the science of behavior. Our faculty members are active in the discovery of new knowledge in the behavioral sciences, and are internationally noted experts in the realms of behavioral genetics, developmental psychology, and community-oriented primary care. A commitment to research of normal and pathologic behavior of individuals and groups is a hallmark of scholarship in the department.
It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to our excellent Behavioral Science faculty members.