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Funded Projects

Iowa Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

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

Project Director(s):

James Olson
Iowa Department of Public Health
Des Moines, IA  50319
Phone: 515-201-2813


Iowa children, youth, and families face a number of challenges in receiving mental health care including a shortage of child psychiatrists and other mental health providers, lack of access to specialty providers, and access barriers to care for rural Iowa families. Over 68% of Iowans live in a county classified as a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area.

Goals and Objectives:

The goal of the Iowa Pediatric Mental Health Care Access program is to increase access to pediatric mental health services, especially in underserved communities, through workforce development, providing a portal to access pediatric mental health resources, and telehealth-based behavioral health integration in pediatric primary care in Iowa. The four main objectives of the proposed program are to:

  1. Strengthen Iowa’s primary care workforce to increase capacity to treat children and youth with mild to moderate mental health needs within their medical home.
  2. Provide support to Iowa’s primary care workforces through Regional Pediatric Mental Health Teams and the delivery of child and adolescent psychiatry services through telehealth.
  3. Increase the number of professionals trained to provide evidence-based behavioral therapies to Iowa children and adolescents.
  4. Increase the capacity of school-based professionals to provide school-based mental health services to children and adolescents.


The applicant for this grant is the Iowa Department of Public Health, who will contract with the University of Iowa Division of Child and Community Health to manage and complete all project activities. Project staff will coordinate all webinars and training events, engage Iowa primary care providers to participate in educational opportunities, expand the availability of consultations between primary care providers and child psychiatrists, and build upon an existing statewide telehealth network to provide mental health services through Regional Pediatric Mental Health Teams. A multi-disciplinary Advisory Committee will be developed to conduct an initial assessment of needs and continuously inform project activities.


Funding from this project will be used to complement, without duplicating, other state and grant funded activities with similar goals and expectations.


As a central component of this project, the evaluation is designed to address progress toward goals and objectives using both formative and summative approaches. The program will be evaluated from structural, process, performance, and outcome perspectives.