The MacArthur Foundation Depression Education Program for Primary Care Physicians: background and rationale

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2000 Sep-Oct;22(5):299-358. doi: 10.1016/s0163-8343(00)80007-9.


In order to improve the assessment and management of depression in general medical care, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supported the development, evaluation, and dissemination of an eight-hour depression education program (DEP) for primary care physicians. This publication includes a paper describing the background and educational rationale for the program structure, the complete participant's workbook, and a facilitator's guide for teaching the program. Given in two separate four-hour workshops by a psychiatrist and a primary care physician, DEP is delivered to small groups of learners (about 12) using an interactive adult learning model and multiple teaching techniques including targeted yet flexible objectives, two lectures, videotape demonstration and discussion, role-play exercises, a focused monograph on depression, an interview checklist, structured assessment and outcomes tools, clinical case studies, and audiotape review of actual patient interviews. DEP has been shown in a prospective randomized trial to improve physicians' interview-ing skills as well as simulated-patient satisfaction scores. Over 150 PCPs in four states have taken DEP in more than 30 separate programs given by 24 trained facilitators. Participants, despite a wide diversity of background knowledge and skills, have uniformly reported remarkably positive learner satisfaction with all dimensions of the Program.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Depression / therapy*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / organization & administration*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Foundations / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care
  • Programmed Instructions as Topic
  • Teaching Materials*
  • Textbooks as Topic
  • United States