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Abstract

This paper describes an empirical approach to assessing pediatric residents' attitudes, knowledge and skills in primary care behavioral health. Outcomes from that assessment approach are presented from two pediatric residency training programs in the northeastern United States. Thirty-six pediatric residents completed attitudes, knowledge and skills surveys. The survey was developed to align with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Policy Statement in 2009 citing aspirational competencies for pediatricians in primary care behavioral health. This alignment addressed both learner variables (attitudes, knowledge, and skills) as well as clinical presentations (ADHD, anxiety, depression, and suicide) highlighted in the policy statement. The survey specifically inquired about self-reported confidence and comfort in managing behavioral health concerns using evidence-based practice parameters (attitudes and knowledge) and their measured ability to deliver evidence-based care in response to clinical vignettes (skills). Findings largely revealed no statistically significant differences in attitudes, knowledge or skills between interns and upper-level residents. Training programs can use the approach described in this paper and the assessment instrument with some possible modifications to monitor annual progress and evaluate any changes in didactic and clinical training.

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