Continual improvement in health and research at the IOM Forum.
By Mary Ann McCabe, PhD
The Society of Pediatric Psychology is a sponsor of a new Institute of Medicine (IOM) Forum on Promoting Children’s Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Health. This will be a three-year project designed to delve deeply into enhancing the implementation of evidence-based practices with children across the settings in which they can be found, including primary care. It is exciting that the IOM Board on Children, Youth and Families has determined that this is a critical problem and opportunity, already so important to the mission of SPP and the scholarship of members.
The IOM was established in 1970 as the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). The broader NAS was established by an Act of Congress and signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, and is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. IOM and NAS are sought by federal policymakers to solve big problems.
The IOM holds a number of different types of activities (e.g., consensus studies, roundtables, forums) to review the science related to pressing problems affecting health and to inform public policies. While some IOM activities can be specifically requested by Congress, all are sponsored by federal agencies with additional support from the private sector, including professional associations and foundations. Forums, in particular, are designed to convene leaders with diverse or divergent perspectives, expose them to the state of the science, and encourage their collaboration for realistic solutions.
These excerpts from the concept paper describe the goals of this particular Forum: “The Forum will engage in dialogue and discussion to connect the prevention, treatment, and implementation sciences with settings where children are seen and cared for, including primary health care, schools, preschools and child care, social service and child welfare, juvenile justice, family court, military, and community based organizations, and to create systems that are effective and affordable in addressing children’s needs. A major goal of the forum is to highlight and address gaps in the science of implementing programs and practices in the service of informing research, policy, and practice…by convening a multi-sectoral group of representatives from academia, federal agencies, professional organizations, and philanthropy in an ongoing way, over three years… This is a critical time for thinking about 1) how to deliver evidence-based models of mental and behavioral health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services and 2) programs that can be sustained and scaled up, particularly in the context of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)….” I will be representing Divs. 54 and 37 (as joint sponsors) on this forum.
Forum members will work with IOM staff to develop two public workshops per year and invite speakers and guests for discussion. Workshops will be followed by written summaries, and Forum members may agree to commission additional “white papers” in service of the Forum goals. The first workshop was held on April 1-2 on Strategies for Scaling Tested and Effective Family-Focused Preventive Interventions to Promote Children’s Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health. The workshop explored how to provide effective family-focused interventions at sufficient scale and reach to significantly reduce the incidence and prevalence of negative cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes. Presentations and discussion addressed the full range of settings in which children are found; I moderated a panel on emerging settings for family-focused prevention, including primary care and schools.
Among the other members of SPP who participated in this first workshop were speaker Ellen Perrin, MD and forum member Don Wertlieb, PhD The webcast and speakers’ slides from this workshop can be found on the project webpage. A written summary will be available this summer.
The Forum will form a few “learning collaboratives” that will involve both Forum members and others in the field. I will be chairing one such collaborative to explore the potential impact of the ACA on the promotion of children’s cognitive, affective and behavioral health in primary care.
I will alert members to Forum activities as they are developed and will provide updates through pieces in the newsletter throughout the duration of the Forum. However, if at any time members have suggestions, please feel free to contact me.