Costs of a Train-the-Trainer Program to Teach Primary Care Faculty Mental Health Care

Med Care. 2021 Nov 1;59(11):970-974. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001621.


Background: Mental health care must improve in this country. With the worsening shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, the next generation of physicians in primary care will need to be better trained in mental health care.

Objectives: We estimate the direct cost of implementing an evidence-based Train-the-Trainer (3T) program to disseminate mental health training to allopathic medical school faculty; once trained, faculty can teach a much-enhanced curriculum of mental health care to medical students and residents.

Methods: A combination of published standardized unit costs and an activity-based costing approach is used to estimate the direct costs (labor and nonlabor) for implementing the 3T program.

Results: The estimated direct cost of implementing the 3T program at one prototypical school, including the 12-month start-up period (1.1 million) and 18-month rollout period (8.6 million), is ∼9.7 million dollars.

Conclusions: Successfully adopted in all US allopathic medical schools, the 3T program will provide over 3800 attitudinally competent and mental health skills-qualified primary care faculty members. They would then be available to train nearly 100,000 medical students per year and 55,000 primary care residents to be as competent in basic mental health care as in medical care. This 3T program will begin to meet the needs each year for the millions of adults with major mental disorders that now are largely unrecognized and untreated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Faculty, Medical / education*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Teacher Training / economics*