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Funded Projects

Tennessee Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program

Grant Status: Active

Training Category: Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program (PMHCA)

Project Director(s):

Carolina Clark, MD, MPH
Tennessee Department of Health
710 James Robertson Parkway
6th Floor, Andrew Johnson Building
Nashville, TN  37243-3400
Phone: (615) 532-6936


In Tennessee, there is an urgent need for expanded mental health care access for children and adolescents. Children's behavioral health needs continue to grow, further exacerbated by COVID-19, and the number of mental health providers is insufficient to meet the needs. Pediatric primary care providers, if provided with appropriate training and technical assistance, are well-positioned to screen, treat and refer children with behavioral health conditions.

Goals and Objectives:

The main goals of the program are to 1) provide training for pediatric primary care providers on screening and management of behavioral health conditions; 2) establish a pediatric mental health team who will assist with the management of pediatric patients with behavioral health conditions via teleconsultation; and 3) assure equal access and utilization of services for children across all demographics and factors that affect social vulnerability.


Activities include contracting with the University of Tennessee (UT) Le Bonheur to establish the mental health team and tele-consultation; contracting with the TN Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (TNAAP) for provider education; compiling information about local mental health and community resources; establishing an Advisory Committee; supporting youth and family engagement; and collaborating with other HRSA-funded programs.


The TN PMHCA team has identified internal collaborative partners such as the Suicide Prevention Program, Community Health Access and Navigation in TN (CHANT) program, the Office of Rural Health, and the Division of Health Disparities Elimination. Other partners include other state agencies, such as the TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, who can provide technical assistance. The TN PMHCA team will also partner with UT Le Bonheur, TNAAP, the Children's Hospital Alliance of TN (CHAT), and other stakeholders.


In order to evaluate the effectiveness of its program, the TN PMHCA team will determine if the program inputs and activities meet the objectives and fulfill program goals, taking assumptions and external factors into account. The program epidemiologist will be responsible for collecting the evaluation data and completing evaluation reports.