ATLANTA - The existing partnership forged between the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) and Georgia Regents University (GRU) reached a new level by leveraging technology to allow clinical staff at all six state operated hospital facilities access to educational opportunities provided by the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

The Grand Rounds Simulcast was offered, for the first time, on Thursday, February 14, with featured keynote speaker Dr. Abbey Valvano, Ph.D., Health Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at GRU lecturing on What Helps People Bounce Back? A Look at Psychological Resilience. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and registered nurses earned Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Continuing Medical Education (CMEs) credits through virtual training without having to leave their service area. More than 48 DBHDD clinicians participated throughout the state; more are expected in the future as word of this opportunity spreads.

This is more than just an academic accomplishment; it is resource conscious and financially sound. “We are thinking of ways to leverage our resources and save money across the state,” says Erick Allen, Director of Learning and Organizational Development for DBHDD. “Our emphasis is on the partnership between academia and the department; and the department and its employees.” CME/CEUs are required for many medical professionals to maintain their licenses, and this allows diverse quality educational programs for minimal costs.

The partnership will continue to offer opportunities for professional advancement through the Grand Rounds simulcasts, with the next session offered on February 28 at 11:30 a.m. The topic will be Mental Illness in Pregnancy, More Than Just ABCDX, presented by Ruth Graupera-Frain, MD, Assistant Professor with the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.

“The goal of this initiative is improved outcomes for patients,” said Dr. Peter Rosenquist, Vice Chair of the MCG Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at GRU. “Grand rounds allow health professionals to collectively learn how best to care for patients, and we now have a statewide forum where we can share the latest research and best practices.”

In 2009, the DBHDD-GRU Partnership was initiated to improve and enhance services at East Central Regional Hospital in Augusta. The academic environment also trains psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals in public systems benefiting the State of Georgia. For more information on DBHDD or GRU, please visit or

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Kristie N. Swink,