Pediatric residency training and behavioral health: Context, roles, and advocacy for social workers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pediatric primary care providers such as pediatricians and pediatric residents tend to be the most accessible professionals when it comes to managing behavioral-health concerns such as social-emotional, behavioral, and developmental issues. However, pediatricians report they do not feel comfortable managing common behavioral-health issues. Many in the field have acknowledged that this stems from the inadequate training that pediatricians receive when they are residents. Opportunities exist for social workers (e.g., licensed clinical social workers) to train pediatric residents in behavioral-health care. Many social workers are uniquely positioned to provide this interprofessional education. With changes in the healthcare landscape emphasizing behavioral health integration in the patient-centered medical home, more social workers are practicing in these integrated care settings. The purpose of this article is to: (1) describe the current context of behavioral-health training for pediatric residents and the advantages that integrated service delivery models present for interprofessional training and education; (2) highlight examples of training roles that social workers may be positioned to undertake in the context of integrated service delivery as well as strictly didactic exposure in non-integrated settings; and (3) describe opportunities for social workers to promote their involvement in residency training through research and advocacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-379
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Work in Mental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 4 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Interprofessional training
  • mental health
  • pediatrics
  • social work
  • training

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