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Chesapeake Regional Offers New Behavioral Health Program with Old Dominion University

Chesapeake Regional Offers New Behavioral Health Program with Old Dominion University

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare (CRH) recently launched a new program to help patients identify behavioral health issues that may impact their overall well-being. The unique program offers patients a consultation by an Old Dominion University counseling graduate intern, who can spend time helping them set goals for recovery and offer a referral for continued care after discharge. The goal is for CRH to provide a suite of well-being services to patients, helping them to gain better control of their health and to reduce readmissions to the hospital.  The service is offered at no cost to Chesapeake Regional Medical Center inpatients.

“Behavioral health is a critical element of patient wellness,” said Kurtis Hooks, NCC, MPH, MS, Doctoral Candidate, director of Behavioral Health Services at CRH.  “Interns, under supervision, can provide a skilled, empathic response which allows them to connect with each patient and find long-term solutions that might change their health risk behaviors.”

This is the first time CRH has combined a behavioral health service with clinical health.  Hooks developed the program to help counseling graduate students practice their core counseling skills in a setting which offers a broad range of behavioral health issues.

“Being in a hospital, you get a chance to be part of the total care of the patient instead of just behavioral health,” said Harrison Davis, candidate for master’s degree in counseling at ODU and an intern with the program. He added, “The basis of everything we do is to try and give people an outlet and let them know that there are resources.”

The internship offers a greater purpose for ODU doctoral candidate Ugyen Wangno, who is an international student from Bhutan. “Treatment of issues related to behavioral health is a very new concept for my country. We are just beginning to experience the social impact of the internet and television since it was introduced there in 2005. We need to build a support system for people dealing with mental stress and other concerns.”  

The graduate students will finish their internships at the end of the semester. CRH has plans to continually grow the program each academic semester and partner with other universities in the future.