Tennessee Q&A

In March, we sat down with Angela Okonji, MD, MPH, CPH, program director of the Tennessee Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Education and Support (TCAPES), for a Q&A discussion. These discussions allow PMHCAs to engage directly with other organizations to share information about their program wins and challenges. They also allow other PMHCAs to gain insights into their work, highlight key points, or provide real-world examples relevant to other PMHCAs.

What has been the most successful accomplishment of your PMHCA program to date?

Our greatest accomplishments are–and still are–our partnerships. To have partners that are invested in our goal, to see it as an extension of their own, and to “champion” the cause is not an accomplishment that necessarily comes with every organization. Hence the phrase “You are only as good as your team.

How has your team managed challenging projects?

We continue to manage challenges. It took almost a year, post-grant funding, to set up a team, identify partners, sign contracts, and hire staff. Even after the launch of our consult line, getting the word out so that the service can be used posed a challenge. We learned from other more established PMHCAs that to get provider “buy-in,” we needed to make our outreach more personalized.

Have you engaged in state or national associations to collaborate with?

Yes, we have engaged the Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (TNAAP) and they are a key partner in this effort.

What modes of outreach about your program have been most successful?

Taking the advice provided by other more established PMHCAs, we have implemented one-on-one outreach to practices, and providers and have found this approach very useful. Our program started with a pilot study, and we hope to take the successes learned and translate them statewide.

Once a provider has enrolled in your services, how does your team provide support?

Providers have access to continuing medical education (CME) and maintaining certification (MOC) for educational programs, behavioral health consultations, training on behavioral health topics, and ECHO sessions.

How do you keep stakeholders aware of your current and/or new services?

Creating awareness for our program is a current priority for our team. We have an advisory board made up of represented stakeholders that we inform about our services. We have created a program webpage as well as brochures and flyers that we distribute widely. We have taken advantage of our state’s department social media platforms and speak about our programs at targeted conferences. Our partners have been very helpful and use their organizational media platforms to spread the word as well.

To learn more about the TCAPES program, please visit their website.