“The need for psychiatric services for youth often exceeds the available capacity, which can make it difficult for families to be connected quickly to psychiatric care,” says Dr. Karen Bos, medical director for LifeWorks NW. “The Bridge Clinic, which is a new collaboration between CareOregon, LifeWorks NW and OHSU, is intended to meet this need.”
Dr. Bos’ dual role as faculty at OHSU as well as medical director at LifeWorks NW has been helpful in bridging the academic training environment at OHSU with the community mental health work done at LifeWorks NW.
“This is an exciting partnership with CareOregon and OHSU,” says Dr. Bos. “The Bridge Clinic not only addresses an urgent clinical need but also provides an opportunity for child psychiatrists in training to learn about community mental health and specifically about the valuable work that our teams do at Lifeworks NW. My decision to focus on community mental health in my career was shaped by the experiences I was exposed to during training. Increasing opportunities for psychiatrists in training to be part of our teams at LifeWorks NW is a chance for us to strengthen workforce development in community psychiatry.”
The Bridge Clinic provides brief, outpatient community-based psychiatric services, including medication management. The Bridge Clinic supports youth (under the age of 18) who have CareOregon/OHP benefits and who are in need of more urgent psychiatric services during the waiting period for those services to be established.
The Bridge Clinic provides the following short-term services:
- Psychiatric medication management (consultation and treatment)
- Brief individual and family psychotherapy interventions
- Ongoing safety assessment and planning
- Care coordination (facilitating transitions and coordinating care between programs)
The clinic is staffed by a LifeWorks NW triple boarded attending psychiatrist, Dr. Cortney Taylor, two OHSU child fellows that will rotate every 6 months, a QMHP and care coordinators.
“This rotation is intended to help fellows learn about the continuum of care, providing a high-quality community bridge to care for youth and families who are vulnerable to gaps in care,” says Selena Griffin, program director of LifeWorks NW Medical Services”
The heart of the Bridge Clinic is an effort to establish epistemic trust—demonstrating that there is follow-up and care, not only in name but also in reality, helping a young person move from crisis to recovery. The rotation is structured to allow for fellows to take the time they need as they learn to work with vulnerable patients and families to provide trauma-informed care.
“I am thrilled to be part of this new collaboration between CareOregon, OHSU and LifeWorks NW,” says Dr. Taylor. “This clinic will allow families in need to get into medical services quickly, and we are very excited to be able to offer this to youth during times of transition in mental health treatment.
“I am very excited to get involved in teaching child psychiatry fellows, and hopefully this collaboration will encourage future child psychiatrists to work in community mental health and stay in the Tri-County area. Kristen Halaas and I are doing our best to provide a collaborative and supportive training experience for the fellows. This partnership is off to a great start and is a wonderful way to expand the valuable and quality care provided at LifeWorks NW.”
For now, the Bridge Clinic is focused on referrals from a limited number of community partners, particularly for youth and adolescents who are stepping down from a higher level of care such as psychiatric inpatient care.
“Hopefully, we will be able to learn from this Bridge Clinic and consider similar opportunities in the future to think creatively about how to both improve the care available to our clients, as well as to increase training and workforce development opportunities in community mental health,” says Dr. Bos.
Photo of our Bridge Clinic Team at LifeWorks NW. (Left to right) Attending psychiatrist Dr. Cortney Taylor; Kristen Halaas, QMHP; and Maddy Jacobs, OHSU child fellow. (Not pictured) Monica Uppal, OHSU child fellow. Dr. Karen Bos and Selena Griffin oversee the Bridge Clinic staff.