Overview of the Care Team: A Medical College Community Approach to Support Students of Concern
John R Taylor, PhD, MSUCOM
This is a report on the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine CARE Team, a program launched in 2017 with the goal of proactively intervening early with students displaying signs of distress to offer support and encourage help-seeking behaviors. It is recognized that medical students may minimize their mental health concerns until they reach a point where it becomes difficult to reverse negative consequences. CARE Team members represent a professionally diverse staff and faculty who students typically entrust and seek out such as academic advisers, counselors, curriculum coordinators and program administrators. Whether it is faculty, staff or a classmate who encounters a student in distress, a confidential referral can be made to the CARE Team via a secure portal. All CARE Team business is kept strictly protected to ensure student and referrer privacy. Team members can often confer within the day to determine who may be best connected with the student to reach out. While a student has the option of declining support, 109 of 111 students referred to date have acknowledged contact positively. Main referral themes of students are examined including evident behavioral changes, budding professionalism issues, progressive academic jeopardy, and distracting personal challenges.