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University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

University of Colorado Denver, Newsroom

Advancing Care Together (ACT) aims to combine physical and mental health treatment

11 new sites create ACT portfolio


​By Jackie Brinkman


A new and collaborative program led by medical experts at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus aims to bring together local, state and national leaders focused on improving primary care, mental health care and substance abuse treatment. The Advancing Care Together (ACT) program will tap the expertise of clinicians on the front line and work with them to change their practices by addressing the fragmentation that has led to the separate treatment of physical and mental health problems. This three-year program is funded by the Colorado Health Foundation and will be housed at the CU School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine.


“It is time to move beyond the separate histories of physical and mental health, and to achieve whole-person care for everyone,” said ACT Director, Larry A. Green, MD, professor of family medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.


In July 2011, state and national leaders on the ACT Steering Committee selected 11 Colorado practice sites that comprise the ACT portfolio. These Colorado innovators are people who work tirelessly in primary care practices and community mental health centers in different types of communities serving diverse populations under varied business models. These awardees offered their best ideas about how to redesign their systems of care, and proposed practical solutions to better integrate the care of their patients and clients. Colorado and other states stand to learn a great deal from these innovators about how to work together to improve care.


ACT has a strong evaluation team led by Dr. Deborah Cohen of Oregon Health Sciences University who will assess the effects of the proposed strategies and help learn how to make sustainable changes.


“The ACT program findings will be invaluable for other community partners and their integration efforts,” said Kelly Dunkin, vice-president of philanthropy for the Colorado Health Foundation. “We also hope that ACT will continue to encourage the integration movement in Colorado, which falls in line with the Foundation’s mission to make us the healthiest state in the nation.”


The formal launch of this program takes place September 16-18 at Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs.


The 11 Sites that Make Up the ACT Portfolio

Axis Health System, Durango
Practice: Cortez Clinic
Project:  Using a Personal Health Profile to Facilitate Integrated Care
Principal Investigator:  Pamela Wise-Romero, PhD
Bender Medical Group, Inc., Fort Collins
Practice:  Miramont Family Medicine
Project:  AIMS:  Automation of Mental Health Services
Principal Investigator:  John Bender, MD
Denver Health and Hospital, Denver
Practice:  Lowry Family Health Center
Project:  Meeting Patient Preferences for Behavioral Health Screening and Treatment
Principal Investigator:  Rob Keeley, MD
Jefferson Center for Mental Health, Wheat Ridge
Practices:  Independence Outpatient Services, West Colfax Outpatient Services, Cedar Adult Intensive Services
Project:  Healthcare Homes without Walls
Principal Investigator:  Donald Bechtold, MD
Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver
Practice:  TBN
Project:  Practical Approaches to Integrating Mental and Physical Healthcare
Principal Investigator:  Arne Beck, PhD
MidValley Family Practice, PC, Basalt
Practice: MidValley Family Practice, PC
Project:  Optimizing Healthy Lifestyle Management
Principal Investigator:  Glenn Kotz, MD
Plan de Salud del Valle, Inc. 
Practice:  Salud Family Health Center, Brighton
Project:  Integrated Primary Care Workforce Development in the Medical Home
Principal Investigator:  Andrea Auxier, PhD
Primary Care Partners, PC, Grand Junction
Practices:  Western Colorado Pediatric Associates, Family Physicians of Colorado, Behavioral Health and Wellness
Project:  Expanding the Patient Centered Medical Home
Principal Investigator:  Patrice Whistler, MD
Southeast Mental Health Services , La Junta
Practice:  High Plains Community Health Center
Project:  Lamar REACT:  Rural Excellence in Advancing Care Together
Principal Investigator:  Jay Brooke, LCSW
Univ. of CO, Colorado Springs/CU Aging Center, Colorado Springs
Practice:  Peak Vista Community Health Centers
Project:  Cognitive and Psychological Screening to Enhance Integrated Care for Seniors
Principal Investigator:  Michael Kenny, PsyD
Westminster Medical Clinic, Westminster
Practice: Westminster Medical Clinic
Project:  Behavioral Health-A Shared Service Model
Principal Investigator:  Scott Hammond, MD
Contact: Jackie Brinkman, 303-724-1525