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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Integrating Primary Care and Behavioral Health: A Nurse Practitioner’s Perspective


Health equity for individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) requires collaborative partnerships between primary care and behavioral health organizations. This paper presents the experiences and perspectives of a nurse practitioner in a large-scale pilot program to integrate primary care and behavioral health between an FQHC and a community mental health center, both serving predominantly Asian immigrant populations. This paper discusses lessons learned through program implementation and provides insights on developing a truly integrated system involving equal and full cooperation across disciplines to provide quality and holistic care for patients with SMI. Implications for clinical practice and policy are discussed.

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