Advancing the Agenda in Pediatric Mental Health Education


There is an urgent need to advance mental health (MH) education and/or training in pediatric residency programs, yet no consensus on how to achieve this. We created an operational framework from ideas provided by a diverse group of stakeholders on how to advance MH education.


Concept-mapping methodology was used, which involves brainstorming ideas by completing a focus prompt, sorting ideas into groups, and rating them for importance and feasibility. Multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis grouped ideas into clusters. Average importance and feasibility were calculated for each statement and cluster and compared statistically in each cluster and between subgroups.


Ninety-nine ideas were generated. Sorted ideas yielded a 7-cluster concept map: (1) modalities for MH training, (2) prioritization of MH, (3) systems-based practice, (4) self-awareness and/or relationship building, (5) training in clinical assessment of patients, (6) training in treatment, and (7) diagnosis-specific skills. Two hundred and sixteen participants rated ideas for importance and 209 for feasibility. Four clusters had a statistically significant difference between their importance and feasibility ratings (P < .001). Suburban and rural area respondents (versus urban) rated clusters higher in importance and feasibility (P < .004), trainees rated all clusters higher in feasibility than practicing clinicians, and MH professionals rated prioritization of MH higher in feasibility (3.42 vs 2.98; P < .001).


This comprehensive set of ideas, especially those rated highly in both importance and feasibility, should inform curricular and policy initiatives. Differences between importance and feasibility may explain why there has been little progress in this field.

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