Adelphi University's Interdisciplinary Training in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Care

Schools of Social Work

By Peter Craig

At any given time, one in seven American children between the ages of 3 and 17 is experiencing a treatable behavioral health disorder, according to a 2016 University of Michigan study published in “JAMA Pediatrics.” Unfortunately, there’s been a shortage of health care professionals who can take care of them. Adelphi University, Garden City, N.Y., has a program to help fill that gap.


In 2021, Adelphi School of Social Work associate professor Dr. Chrisann Newransky, PhD, spotted a federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant for training health care professionals to aid at-risk children and youth. Given the interdisciplinary mandate of the grant, the school partnered with Adelphi’s College of Nursing and Public Health and also engaged virtual health provider Concert Health, whose co-founder and chief clinical officer, Virna Little, LCSW, PsyD, helped develop the grant proposal. Pictured at left: The original IDEATE Fellowship leadership team: (from left) Drs. Joanne Quinn-Beers, Chrisann Newransky and Marissa Abram.

MSW and psychiatric nurse practitioner students in the $1.92 million IDEATE (Interdisciplinary Education and Training Experience) Fellowship program get a $10,000 living-expense stipend, says Newransky, IDEATE co-director. They take specialized courses, which for MSW students are “Social Work Practice in Health Care,” “Evidence-Based Practice with Serious Mental Illness: Paths to Recovery” and “Collaborative Behavioral Health Care Modalities for Children and Adolescents.”

Another key feature of IDEATE is practicum experience, with placements in primary care and community behavioral health sites that serve a large number of Medicaid-eligible or uninsured patients, or have high HPSA (Health Professional Shortage Area) scores, says Dr. Marissa D. Abram, PhD, a former College of Nursing and Public Health assistant professor who was IDEATE co-director for the first two years of the program.

Schools_2.Adelphi The part of the program where MSW and nurse practitioner students team up is the interprofessional development seminars. They are given case studies to discuss in nurse practitioner-social work student pairs during breakout sessions, says Dr. Joanne Quinn-Beers, DSW, LCSW, clinical associate professor of social work and IDEATE social work curriculum director. Seminar speakers have included child welfare experts like Dr. April Duncan, DSW, LCSW, RPT-S, who specializes in racial trauma among children. Pictured at right: IDEATE students at a networking event in May 2023.

The seminars sometimes involve simulations—clinical scenarios in which patients are played by Adelphi theater students. It’s partly about “role appreciation,” where the nurse practitioner students are able to see social worker students in action and vice versa, says Abram. “They also learn how to really work together on patient-centered care. They get to know [the other profession’s] strengths and discipline.”

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