Implementing an APRN-Led Integrated Behavioral Health Clinic in a Rural Community

Leigh K. Cook, Stephanie A. Burge, Therese L. Mathews, Kevin A. Kupzyk, Julia Fisco Houfek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: A rural primary care clinic implemented an advance practice providers, including nurse practitioner (APRN)-led integrated behavioral health program to facilitate holistic health care delivery. METHODS: Implementation was facilitated by Health Resources and Services Administration Grant funding to a state University College of Nursing. The College formed an academic-practice partnership with a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) to implement integrated care in a rural satellite clinic administered by the FQHC. An interdisciplinary team (two family APRNs, a psychiatric APRN, a licensed behavioral health provider, and the Grant Project Director who is a Psychiatric APRN and a licensed Psychologist) provided the integrated care based on the University of Washington’s Collaborative Care Model. RESULTS: This brief report describes the implementation of integrated care during the clinic’s first year, services provided, lessons learned, community response, and improvement in anxiety and depressive symptoms for patients who were treated for behavioral health problems. An exemplar illustrates how collaborative care addressed one patient’s behavioral health and primary care needs. CONCLUSIONS: APRN-led collaborative care can expand access to holistic, affordable care in rural areas to improve mental health. Adaptation and flexibility in traditional roles may be necessary and determining post-grant access to funding for services will be necessary for sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • advanced practice psychiatric nursing
  • primary health care
  • rural psychiatric care
  • service delivery systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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