Addressing racial disparities

in mental health care

Longstanding race-based inequities in access to pediatric mental health services intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic. (See, for example, this article from the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.) Our faculty and program participants say they see no signs in their practices that the situation is getting any better.

Reducing racial disparities requires a systematic approach that addresses the social determinants of health and the political and social systems that perpetuate unequal outcomes.

The REACH Institute plays a part by increasing access to mental health care in low-income communities:

  • Our five-year-old scholarship program has trained 60 pediatric primary care providers serving low-income communities, with more to come in 2023.
  • Our new Pediatric Mental Health Training Award provides free training in children's mental health to a federally qualified health center or nonprofit organization providing care in underserved communities. El Rio Health, a FQHC in Tucson, Arizona, is the first recipient of this award.
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Scholarship applications open

Applications for the first round of 2023 REACH Scholarships are now open!

Scholarships enable pediatric primary care providers serving low-income communities to participate in the REACH course Patient-Centered Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care free of charge.

Many clinics and healthcare systems in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods don’t have the resources to send clinicians to three days of intensive training. This scholarship helps bridge the gap between high need and scarce resources. Spread the word!

Apply for a REACH Scholarship

Training with Resilient Georgia

We were thrilled to partner with Resilient Georgia to offer our course Patient-Centered Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care to 37 primary care providers at Augusta University February 3-5.

Resilient Georgia, which is working to build a statewide network of behavioral health services, sponsored the training so clinicians like the ones pictured here could attend free of charge. We’ll be providing another training with Resilient Georgia in May in Columbus, GA.

In-person training!

We are thrilled to announce our first in-person training since the pandemic began! We will be offering our course Patient-Centered Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care on March 17-19, in West Palm Beach, FL. Unlike the Resilient Georgia session described above, this one is open to all pediatric primary care providers (PCPs), no matter where they work.


This course teaches PCPs to diagnose and treat common mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It equips PCPs with assessment instruments, medication comparison tables, dosing and side effect charts, and other tools—and the skills and confidence to use them!


If you are a pediatric PCP who wants to be better equipped to meet your patients’ mental health needs, consider registering for this hands-on interactive course March 17-19.

Register now! 

Staff and faculty present at Pediatric Practice Management Conference

Lisa Khan, director of the Patient-Centered Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care program, hosted a table in early February at the Pediatric Practice Management Conference put on by the Pediatric Management Institute.

Lisa, REACH founder Peter S. Jensen, MD, and REACH faculty member Eugene Hershorin, MD, presented a pre-conference session on anxiety diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Hershorin also presented a session on coding for mental health.

REACH in the news

A note from our CEO

Lisa Hunter Romanelli, PhD

CEO, The REACH Institute

This Black History Month, we at The REACH Institute join the Association of American Medical Colleges in celebrating African-American medical pioneers

Sometimes our efforts to overcome race- and class-based disparities in access to mental health care feel like a drop in the bucket in comparison to the need. When that happens, we are inspired by the stories of these historic pioneers, who fought odds we can only imagine to gain the right to provide healthcare in their communities.

We’re also inspired by REACH faculty members and program participants in communities of color who fiercely advocate for their patients and families.

Who inspires you to advocate for racial justice? 

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