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Being With...By Zoom?: Tennessee’s Story of Continuing IECMH Workforce Support and Development in the Time of COVID-19

Jun 8, 2021

Alison D. Peak, Allied Behavioral Health Solutions, Nashville, Tennessee; Mindy Kronenberg, Memphis, Tennessee; Diana Morelen, East Tennessee State University; Carmen Rosa Noroña, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; Karen Frankel, University of Colorado-Denver; and Angela Webster, Association of Infant Mental Health in Tennessee

Abstract The Tennessee First Five Training Institute (TFFTI) is a workforce development project to build infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH) capacity across Tennessee’s community mental health agencies. TFFTI focused on foundational trainings in IECMH concepts, training in child–parent psychotherapy, dyadic, trauma treatment for children birth to 6 years old, and reflective consultation. This article will discuss TFFTI’s programmatic shift in the wake of Tennessee’s March 3, 2021, tornado, COVID-19, and the murder of George Floyd. The authors highlight TFFTI’s collaborations with national partnerships to adapt training and provide support through virtual formats. The authors discuss lessons learned and provide guidance for others considering large-scale IECMH workforce development efforts.

At the beginning of 2019, Tennessee had less than 10 clinicians with more than 20 hours of training in clinical infant and early childhood mental health (IECMH). These individuals served 95 counties and more than 400,000 children under 6 years old (U.S. Census Bureau, 2021). The need for a cohesive workforce development plan was clear.

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