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University of the Rockies Doctoral Student Advocates for Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care Services
Melisa Obert presented program model at 2012 NADD Conference

In 2007, three Colorado Springs organizations developed the Developmental Disabilities Health Center (DDHC) to integrate primary health care, mental and behavioral health care, psychiatry and health promotion services. The goal was to reduce the use of local emergency department visits for minor medical and behavioral problems, particularly among individuals with intellectual disabilities.

University of the Rockies doctoral student, Melisa Obert, studied this unique model of co-treatment. She shared her findings with 600 attendees at the National Association of Dually Diagnosed conference on Oct. 17-19, 2012 in Denver. NADD is an association for persons with developmental disabilities and mental health needs.

“In the DDHC model, providers work together through co-visits and referrals to provide care that address the whole person,” Obert says. “Caregivers are also included in the framework, which increases the overall support to patients.”

Obert explains that collaboration is often necessary due to dual diagnoses. In addition, many medical problems, like obesity, depression or anxiety, have behavioral components that can perpetuate a patient’s symptoms or functioning.

Obert used five case studies to illustrate additional reasons why collaborative care is critical to patient outcomes.

Obert is a 2012 alumna of University of the Rockies master’s in psychology program, and is now working toward her doctorate in psychology with a clinical specialization. In addition, she is currently working as a behavior support therapist for The Resource Exchange in Colorado Springs.   


About University of the Rockies

University of the Rockies is an advanced graduate institution for tomorrow’s thought leaders. The University provides an intimate and dynamic learning environment, offering highly specialized master’s and doctoral degree programs in the social and behavioral sciences, access to industry experts, campus clinical programs for practical experience, and research and publishing opportunities. University of the Rockies is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association ( Small by design, University of the Rockies classes are presented in a progressive online format and at its Colorado Springs, Colorado, campus. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 866.621.0124 x2513.