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2012 CFHA Research Fellow
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Caitlin Burditt, PhD 










Undergraduate Institution & Degree:  
Middlebury College in Middlebury Vermont - BA in Psychology

Other Graduate Education: 
PhD in clinical psychology, University of Rhode Island
Clinical internship in behavioral medicine, Brown University

I grew up in Connecticut but now live in Kingston, RI

Tell us about yourself:
I live with my husband and two cats and my family lives nearby in RI as well - my Mom and Dad and three brothers. In my free time I enjoy running, gardening, cooking, and reading.

1. Describe your research project and why you are interested in studying more about this area?

In line with the mission of CFHA, the UMASS Worcester Department of Family Medicine has developed collaborative, multidisciplinary, healthcare teams by integrating behavioral health services into family medicine residency training. One of the novel integrated primary care methods employed is the dual interview (Blount, DeGirolamo, Mariani, 2006). In its simplest form, a dual interview is a patient visit where both the medical and behavioral health provider are present, and each add value to the patient encounter. The dual interview was designed with a number of objectives in mind, primarily as an experiential teaching tool for family medicine residents. The experience provides an opportunity for residents to practice team-based care, and to become more adept at recognizing and addressing behavioral health needs within daily medical practice.

Each family medicine resident is required to do at least 33 dual interviews throughout the course of their residency; 11 of these must be working with patients to address health behavior change (e.g., smoking cessation, medication compliance, exercise). Despite many years of successful implementation of this method of training and feedback from residents about dual interviews being helpful for patient care, the specific instructional elements of dual interviews have not been systematically examined. Programmatically, if we are to continue to require dual interviews and utilize them as a core teaching tool, it would be beneficial to have a more in depth understanding of the instructional elements and the resident experience of the dual interview. From a dissemination perspective, additional evidence about the effective training elements of dual interviews is essential.

Therefore, the primary aims of this project are: (1) to gain a better understanding of the residents, BH fellows, and faculty perspective on their perceived value and learning outcomes of the dual interview experience; and (2) assess to what extent dual interviews directly target the ACGME competency requirements for family medicine residency. The ultimate goal of this endeavor is to further refine the learning objectives for the dual interview from both the behavioral health and medical perspective and disseminate this information.

As a behavioral health fellow working daily in a family medicine residency training practice and participating in these dual interviews at least on a weekly basis, I feel that conducting this research project will not only be helpful to to the residency training program but also in my daily practice.

2. Who is your project mentor?
Tina Ruynan, PhD

3. What is the best & worst thing about working with your mentor?
The best thing about working with Tina (in addition to her expertise and vast knowledge of the field of integrated care in both clinical and research realms)  is her compassion and her calm and supportive approach to patient care and supervision.  She is an excellent mentor and wonderful person.  Truly the only complaint I have is that she is so good at what she does and is involved in so many projects that I wish I had more time to spend with her!

4. What attracted you to the field of collaborative care?
I have always been interested in working in the medical field and actually debated applying to medical school before I chose to get a PhD in psychology.  My training in health psychology and behavioral medicine made it readily apparent that integrating behavioral health care into a variety of medical settings is really essential to providing the best and most patient-centered care.  In reading some of Dr. Blount's work and researching the fellowship training through UMASS, I became interested in furthering my training through this post-doctoral position.  I believe that collaborative care is the future of both psychology and primary care (as well as other aspects of the medical field) and feel very fortunate to be on the cutting edge of this exciting if somewhat difficult transition.

5. What are your future plans?
I am currently finishing up my first year of fellowship so luckily I have another year to finalize any future plans.  However, I would like to continue working in the field of integrated care, preferably in a primary care setting where I can continue doing some direct patient care work but also adopt more of a teaching and training role.

6. In all of the field, who is the person you look up to the most and why?
I am going to give an "easy" answer to a very difficult question.  I truly feel there are so many people who have contributed to and are essential to this growing and important field that I can't choose one that I look up to the most.  I think the beauty of being in collaborative care is the collaboration and unique contribution of each individual to the greater vision and mission.  I feel fortunate to be surrounded by such brilliant visionaries and individuals dedicated to the field.


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P. O. Box 23980,
Rochester, New York
14692-3980 USA

What We Do

CFHA is a member-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to making integrated behavioral and physical health the standard of care nationally. CFHA achieves this by organizing the integrated care community, providing expert technical assistance and producing educational content.