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KU-Med Wichita Receives $2.5 Million Grant to Address Youth Mental Health

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The University of Kansas (KU) Medical School’s Wichita Pediatric Residency Program has received a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The grant will be used to innovate and improve the ways in which the program’s pediatricians and physicians are trained to address the mental health issues of young people.

“With the shortage of pediatric mental health professionals in Kansas and the rise in the number of young people struggling with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, primary care physicians and clinicians (PCPs) are increasingly called upon to diagnose and treat these illnesses , but they need more training,” said Kari Harris, MD, associate professor, KU Wichita Pediatrics.

Harris says many teenagers turn to drugs to cope with mental health issues, often with fatal consequences. According to the Kansas State Child Death Review Board’s 2022 annual report,

“The grant will lead to innovations in our resident curriculum,” said co-project director Melissa Jefferson, MD, program director, pediatrics graduate medical education, “that will ultimately result in impacting children’s mental health and of Kansas adolescents like these residents complete their education and begin their practice.”

The grant is one of 24 awarded to physician residency programs in the United States. For more information about KU School of Medicine in Wichita, click here.

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