Students to Focus on Unique Model—the Nation’s First—for Residential Care
In late October, the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine inked a five-year affiliation agreement with Pasadena Villa focusing on mental health practices.
“The unique social integration model used for residential care immerses patients in the community here in Central Florida,” said David Nissen, managing director of Pasadena Villa in Orlando. “This approach isn’t found anywhere else in the country.”
The pact will provide UCF College of Medicine students with opportunities to observe and participate in patient care under the tutelage of Pasadena Villa psychiatrist Myrtho Mompoint-Branch, MD, and other staff.
“The partnership evolved from Dr. Branch’s relationship with Dr. Martin Klapheke, professor of psychiatry at the UCF College of Medicine,” explained Nissen. “Dr. Klapheke was interested in identifying organizations that can expose the college’s third-year medical students to high quality mental healthcare treatment during a six-week psychiatry clerkship. The partnership will benefit both parties by showing students what can be achieved in a residential/community-based setting. A key benefit is equipping students with an understanding of how important early identification of mental illness is in their own future patient populations. Many patients spend years undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and the goal of Pasadena Villa’s participation in this affiliation is to aid in that understanding.”
Board-certified in adult and child psychiatry, Branch has expertise treating a wide variety of disorders and a special interest in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders, and concurrently serves as an assistant professor of psychiatry at the UCF College of Medicine. Last year, Consumers’ Research Council of America ranked her among America’s Top Psychiatrists.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Pasadena Villa to expand the knowledge these medical students have of mental healthcare and treatment,” said Nissen. “Whatever specialty the students ultimately select, as they gain the insight necessary to advise patients to seek necessary and adequate mental healthcare, their experiences here will enhance the care they provide to their future patients.”
The UCF College of Medicine marks the first affiliation for Pasadena Villa, which was established in 2001 by three people who wanted to provide uncompromised service to clients and families with unique and meaningful treatment experiences. One of the founders is the father of a young man who needed a facility like Pasadena Villa. While researching facilities, he discovered a drastic gap in services between adults and young adults and decided to seek partners who would help him make a positive impact on similar families.
The adult co-ed 14-bed residential treatment facility opened in Orlando in mid-2002. Using the Social Integration Model, clients participate in social, cultural, and recreational activities within the community, providing real life experiences and hands-on coaching. This internally developed program prepares clients for life outside of treatment and for reaching the highest possible level of individual functioning.
“We believe that treatment cannot occur in a vacuum,” said Nissen. “The purpose and goal of our Social Integration Model is to re-teach life and coping skills to our patients. We want them to learn how to function in the real world, which is not predictable or perfect. With the right skills, patients are able to become part of society in a meaningful way. The UCF COM affiliation will expose our patients to other young adults who are already functioning in a positive way in society while also exposing the medical students to an important population that they will experience in their future practices.”
The Transitional Living and Learning Center, which provides non-residential life skills development and a social integration program with extensive academic, vocational, housing and social supports, opened in Orlando in mid-2005.
Two Orlando 5-bed community residential homes opened in mid-2008 to offer comprehensive treatment and support services via full community integration.
Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge, an adult co-ed 29-bed residential treatment facility, opened last October in Sevierville, Tenn.
“Long term, we may attempt to replicate this (UCF College of Medicine-Pasadena Villa) model at our Smoky Mountain Lodge facility in conjunction with the University of Tennessee,” said Nissen.
Pasadena Villa also provides day treatment with flexible yet intensive clinical day services for clients living independently within the community, and OASIS (Outreach and Social Integration Service), a highly collaborative one-year aftercare program component that engages clients and their families and other professionals to promote the highest levels of functioning during the critical social integration phase after discharge.
“During the course of their psychiatry clerkship, each student will spend one day per week with Dr. Branch,” explained Nissen. “Students will participate in the assessment and treatment of patients, with an emphasis on the most common psychiatric disorders; recognition of cases needing specialty psychiatric referral; and understanding what psychiatric treatment can offer patients in terms of emotional health and quality of life.” Students will engage in patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, professionalism and systems-based practice.
“In the first four weeks of the six-week rotation, students will make ‘clinical’ rounds with Dr. Branch as she sees several patients,” he said.
“Students also will follow two or three patients and make weekly progress notes in the electronic medical record for Dr. Branch’s review. During the last two weeks of the rotation, students will focus on observing patients in transition to outpatient care at Pasadena Villa’s Transitional Living and Learning Center, which is located near the residential facility. This will provide students with the experience of the transition of care from a residential to an outpatient setting.”
Nissen said he hopes Pasadena Villa will serve as a resource to the local medical community and advocate early intervention in regards to mental illness, “so that young adults might be spared years of pain.”