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Promoting Access to Behavioral Health Care

Accessing adequate patient-centered mental and behavioral health care is a challenge for all Americans but particularly so for historically under-resourced and marginalized groups, who face unique barriers to care.

A mental health counselor meets with her patient in a sunlit room

As part of the AAMC's ongoing efforts to “Improve Access to Health Care for All,” we seek to improve mental and behavioral health care access through collaborative, evidence-based, and technology-enabled care delivery models.

Integrated behavioral health (IBH), providing medical and behavioral health care together, is an evidence-based strategy that offers successful collaborative models for enhancing access, improving patient outcomes, reducing stigma, and promoting health care equity.

The AAMC is committed to advancing and promoting the uptake of IBH models in both primary and specialty care and to identifying the optimal use of technology as a complement to these models of care.

This page provides information on AAMC’s efforts resources, toolkits, and educational opportunities for clinical faculty, staff, and leadership to support the development and implementation of IBH. It also outlines the AAMC’s advocacy efforts to advance federal policies that support the adoption and expansion of IBH models.

AAMC Mental and Behavioral Health Training Awards

The AAMC is proud to launch the inaugural AAMC Mental and Behavioral Health (MH/BH) Training Awards.

The awards will recognize the excellence and innovation of current integrated behavioral health (IBH) programs at AAMC-member teaching hospitals, health systems, and medical schools that prioritize team-oriented training in IBH to increase access to mental and behavioral health care, as well as those that prepare and train providers and trainees with the skills and competencies needed to work in IBH care models. Awardees will receive up to $25,000 each. Download the call for applications (PDF).

All applications must be submitted online by 11:59PM EDT on Friday, April 14, 2023.

Apply for the Awards

Questions? Please contact mentalhealth@aamc.org.

Stay tuned for future webinars: 

The Time is Now! Implementation Strategies IBH at Academic Medical Centers: AAMC Member Case Studies

During this session, member institutions will share their experience in implementation and management of IBH models, lessons learned, challenges, and opportunities. 

Training in Integrated Behavioral Healthcare (IBH) 

Presenters will highlight core concepts in and application of Interprofessional Education in resident training of IBH. Examples of successful IBH training programs will be discussed.  2023 AAMC Mental and Behavioral Health Training Awards will also be launched on this webinar.  

Using Technology to Improve Integrated Behavioral Healthcare (IBH) 

Presenters will explore the value of technology to improve access to IBH, as well as how a stepped approach utilizing technology can improve access and efficiency. E-consults and its benefits will be discussed to enhance communication within IBH programs.

Learn about the AAMC’s congressional briefing, which includes the AAMC’s legislative recommendations to expand the behavioral health workforce.

  • October 11, 2022
Capitol building in Washington, DC

Watch behavioral health experts address congressional staff, outlining the potential of IBH models to extend the workforce, expand access to care, and destigmatize mental health care.

  • October 11, 2022
Healthcare workers meeting
AAMC Research and Action Institute

Read about the key focus areas policymakers should prioritize to improve access, coverage, and affordability of behavioral health care.

  • October 10, 2022
  • PDF
USA, Kentucky, Frankfort, State House of Representatives
Advocacy & Policy

Explore recommendations for policymakers to strengthen the workforce, integrate physical and behavioral health care, and promote parity and access.

  • September 28, 2022
  • PDF
Counselor listens to the young adult and takes notes for their next meeting.
Testimony & Correspondence

Read a letter of endorsement of the Strengthen Kids' Mental Health Now Act, which would increase Medicaid reimbursement for pediatric mental health services.

  • April 27, 2022
  • PDF
Doctor talking to mother and son at community outreach program
Testimony & Correspondence

Read the AAMC’s policy recommendations to promote access to behavioral health care.

  • November 15, 2021
  • PDF
Doctor holding patient's hands
Testimony & Correspondence

View a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership commenting on the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022.

  • June 22, 2022
  • PDF
U.S. Capitol

View a synopsis of the AAMC Center for Health Justice’s national poll on the experiences of birthing people.

  • May 16, 2022
Pregnant African American mother holding stomach in hospital

Read a research brief from the Center for Health Justice’s national maternal health poll released in spring 2022.

  • May 16, 2022
Pregnant woman leaning against a wall

View a snapshot highlighting the different experiences LGBTQ+ communities face in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum health.

  • June 27, 2022
Mixed race doctor examining pregnant patient’s belly

Glance at an overview of the Maternal Health Incubator virtual event that brought together thought leaders to discuss maternal health inequities.

  • May 24, 2022
A young African American mother in a hospital gown gently holds her infant in her arms and smiles down at her. The baby's eyes are closed.

View a snapshot outlining the importance of telehealth to increase access to mental and behavioral health services at academic health systems.

  • March 24, 2022
  • PDF
Video call with doctor

For questions about the AAMC’s behavioral health advocacy, please contact gov-relations@aamc.org.