A History of Our Teaching and Research
Our group in biopsychosocial (BPS) medicine has been operating since 1985 here in the highly supportive atmosphere of Michigan State University. We are interested in developing new BPS teaching and treatment approaches – and in providing research support for them. Our particular focus has been on patient-centered interviewing, personal awareness of the learner, and the primary care diagnosis and management of mental health problems, often in the form of medically unexplained symptoms. We have developed unique, evidence-based models in these areas. In this website, we provide links to the supporting publications as well as to many of the curricula, teaching aids, and research tools we have developed. We make these available because of ongoing requests for this material.
We are grateful to the Fetzer Institute in Kalmazoo, MI, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for providing the support that allowed us to do this work.
We presently are supported by a large grant from HRSA to develop a behavioral health curriculum for training non-specialists to conduct effective behavioral/mental health care in medical settings. Our goal is not to create psychiatrists but, rather, that residents are able to diagnose and treat common problems; e.g., depression, substance misuse, chronic pain, non-adherence, and “stress.” We train them also to recognize more severe problems like schizophrenia, substance abuse, personality disorders, and bipolar disorder but to refer them for specialist care, just as they refer difficult medical problems to a specialist.
Our research and teaching over the last 25-30 years forms a consistent body of work. We began by developing an evidence-based patient-centered interviewing method and then expanded this work to integrate personal awareness. In turn, we integrated both with a rich literature (especially from consultation-liaison psychiatry, those in chronic pain treatment, and family medicine) to form a Behavioral Healthcare Treatment Model (BHTM) to guide medical providers in managing the mental health problems that are so frequent in primary care and the medical specialties.
This work typically involved developing behaviorally-defined methods, next performing rigorous research on them to demonstrate that they were evidence-based.
In the following, we present what we consider to be the key articles and other materials we developed.