Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
TTP Psychiatry Department Team Receives Award for Developing New Program

TTP Psychiatry Department Team Receives Award for Developing New Program

In an outstanding show of collaboration, Phyllis Peterson, PA-C, and Terry McMahon, M.D., of Texas Tech Physicians’ Department of Psychiatry were notified of their selection to receive the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) physician/physician assistant interprofessional team award.  The prestigious award is being given based on the development of their post-graduate training program for physician assistants and nurse practitioners in the psychiatry field.

“Dr. McMahon and Phyllis have an outstanding collaborative relationship that has allowed them to be an example of how physician assistants and M.D.’s should work together in Texas to expand access,” said Kary Blair, MBA, senior clinical department administrator. “The program will help expand access to psychiatric healthcare.”

In order to address the growing need for greater access to mental health and substance abuse health services, McMahon and Peterson are working to develop a program to educate more physician assistants and nurse practitioners with additional psychiatric training. The program also seeks to redirect patients from the hospital emergency setting, which is often the initial point of contact between mental-health and substance-abuse patients and providers, to the ambulatory setting. Ultimately, the program will also expand the number of providers available to care for the region’s underserved and uninsured population.

“Lubbock and many surrounding counties have limited or no access to psychiatric, mental health or substance-abuse care,” explained Blair. “This care is categorized as a ‘critical need.’ The program will enable physician assistants and nurse practitioners to feel more confident in their skills and ability to care for these patients in specialty or primary care settings.”

The 12-month program will provide a background in psychiatry, preparing physician assistants and nurse practitioners to practice psychiatry in various settings, including general family practice, correctional health care, community health centers and psychiatry practices. Upon completion of the program, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can expect enhanced career mobility and increased earning potential. The program requires a master’s degree or higher and appropriate state-licensure in Texas for either physician assistants or nurse practitioners. Please contact Kary Blair at kary.blair@ttuhsc.edu with questions regarding the program.