EMU Professor Receives $1.86 Million Grant to Improve Access to Behavioral Health Services

    YPSILANTI — Alexandros Maragakis, an assistant professor in Psychology at Eastern Michigan University, has received a $1.86 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to improve access to behavioral health services for children in Michigan.

    Alexandros Maragakis

    Assistant Professor Maragakis will receive approximately $465,000 per year for 4 years to integrate behavioral health services with pediatric primary care practices in a variety of urban and rural Michigan communities.

    According to Dr. Maragakis, Michigan has a number of underserved urban and rural communities with limited access to quality mental health services for children, yet most children in these communities have access to primary care.

    “The integration of behavioral health within primary care has recently gained global attention given that almost half of all pediatric primary care visits have some type of behavioral health concern documented,” said Dr. Maragakis. “The goal of this grant is to grow the behavioral health workforce to improve access to behavioral health services for children in Michigan.”

    Trainees, which will include students from EMU’s Clinical Psychology and Social Work programs, will participate in interdisciplinary education that will expose them to various healthcare professionals, prepare them for both in-person and telehealth integrated behavioral health services, and emphasize experiences for working with minority cultures.

    The Michigan Medicine/EMU Pediatric Integrated Behavioral Health Training Collaborative (the Collaborative) is a partnership with Eastern Michigan University’s Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and Masters of Social Work Program, and Michigan Medicine in collaboration with MidMichigan Community Health Services. The Collaborative has received prior support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, and this project is an expansion of that work.

    Dr. Maragakis is a founding member of EMU’s Center for the Advancement of Neurobehavioral Health.  His current research interests involve using quality improvement methods to analyze best practices in integrated behavioral and primary care settings. Specifically, his research investigates the impact of integrated services on somatic and behavioral outcomes, as well as healthcare expenditures, provider burnout and efficiency, and access to evidence-based behavioral health services.

    For more information about the Health Resources and Services Administration, visit the organization’s homepage.