Missouri Coalition MyWay to Health Train-the-Trainer Initiative

In October 2014, the Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare and Washington University School of Medicine established a year-long program for healthcare providers in Health Home settings to receive the training necessary to deliver family-based treatment for childhood obesity.

Background and Objectives

Obesity and related medical comorbidities like diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are more common in individuals with serious mental illnesses (SMI) than in the general population. In fact, those with SMI lose on average 25 years of life due to obesity-related conditions. Obesity in youth, in particular, is a prominent area of public health concern, as onset of obesity among youth leads to earlier onset of diabetes and CVD, with earlier disability and death related to these conditions. Youth with SMI are at an even greater risk than the general population to develop these conditions due in part to earlier exposure to obesogenic environment and medications, leading to significant functional impairment and decline in quality of life.

Obesity and related health consequences are among the most easily preventable in modern medicine, and a combination of evidence based behavioral lifestyle intervention and optimal medical management is most likely to have the greatest preventive impact. The healthcare home environment (as recently established in Missouri) is the ideal environment to provide this combination of care coordination, prevention and medical management. To achieve the goal of optimizing overall health outcomes for the population of individuals who are overweight or obese and diagnosed with a serious mental illness, a training program for healthcare providers was proposed in the Health Home setting.

The objectives for this year-long educational and support program were to train community mental health providers to:

  1. Screen, document and monitor for obesity and related conditions in individuals (adults and youth) with psychiatric conditions
  2. Successfully initiate discussions regarding weight management issues
  3. Motivate, support and treat individuals who were referred to the behavioral weight loss program utilizing the MyWay to Health program curriculum