Effective, patient-centered primary care takes both a patient’s physical, mental and behavioral health into account. To support this holistic approach, The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is one of only six participating health care centers in the National Center for Integrated Behavioral Health.

Through collaboration, provider training, research, science-based resources and intentional integration of behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment into routine primary care.

Advancing behavioral health care

Behavioral health conditions, which encompass mental health and substance use disorders, affect millions of people of every age and all social, economic and cultural backgrounds. The impact of behavioral health issues on a person’s quality of life and overall wellness can be significant.

To improve outcomes for all patients, especially those in disadvantaged communities, The National Center for Integrated Behavioral Health (NCIBH) has developed an intentional approach to primary care that incorporates regular patient screening for behavioral health conditions and early intervention using a multidisciplinary team approach that includes such specialists as psychologists or licensed clinical social workers for more effective, targeted treatment.

Why innovation is crucial

Nearly half of adults in the U.S. experience at least one diagnosable mental illness during their lifetime. Behavioral health conditions generate billions in health care costs, and these disorders outpace the disease burden created by heart disease, alcohol use or traffic accidents.

Some of the most common – but treatable – behavioral health challenges, such as depression, are among the leading causes of disability. Often, behavioral health issues can also affect and coexist with chronic physical illnesses, which may worsen health outcomes or hinder a patient’s ability to manage their overall health.

Unfortunately, there remains substantial stigma against people with behavioral health conditions, not only in society, but also within health systems, governing bodies, medical regulatory agencies and even among medical providers or a patient’s own family.

These attitudes and other barriers to care can be especially debilitating for people from socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and these challenges make it harder to get the right diagnosis – or even when diagnosed – the most effective treatment.

A better behavioral health model

We know that integrated behavioral health (IBH) models can:

  • Increase availability of behavioral health services
  • Improve population health
  • Reduce health care costs
  • Provide support to address patients' behavioral health needs in a single setting
  • Reduce negative impacts on physical health
  • Improve clinical outcomes and increase satisfaction with care through an integrated care model

As an NCIBH member, Ohio State is already incorporating IBH into our primary care practices. This gives our patients reliable access to screening and treatment for both physical and behavioral health issues during one office visit with a provider they already trust and see regularly. It also improves transition of care to behavioral health specialists when appropriate.


Outstanding behavioral health requires partnership. Through the NCIBH, Ohio State is able to provide important resources and foster more collaboration between medical providers, researchers, medical students and faculty, the community, patients and patient families.

By exchanging ideas, sharing best practices, enhancing training and improving awareness and behavioral health knowledge, we can change the future of behavioral health in our local communities and nation.


Let’s connect

The National Center for Integrated Behavioral Health (NCIBH) was funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration as a collaborative, multidisciplinary initiative to catalyze training of primary care providers in IBH models. Ohio State collaborates with five other Academic Units for Primary Care Training and Enhancement to advance health equity with integrated behavioral health models.

The NCIBH promotes training and adoption of IBH models through research, a community of practice and dissemination of best practices. We invite you to join our community of practice to advance the critical work of improving access to high-quality models for integrating treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in primary care.

Please contact me at chyke.doboni@osumc.edu with any questions or to establish a connection for ongoing collaboration.


Chyke A. Doubeni, MBBS, MPH

Director of the Ohio State National Center for Integrated Behavioral Health


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