Wahiawa Elementary School dedicated its new School-based Behavioral Health building on August 22, celebrating a first-of-its-kind partnership to expand behavioral health services available for children.
Named “Ike Pilialoha,” or “bonds of knowledge, friendship and love,” the partnership by the Tripler Army Medical Center’s School Behavioral Health Team (SBHT), Hawaii State Department of Education, and The Queen’s Medical Center offers a comprehensive array of interdisciplinary school based programs and services to support the social and emotional well-being of students, families and community.
“On behalf of Wahiawa Elementary School, we would like to extend a heartfelt mahalo to U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, and our partners, Queen’s Medical Center and Tripler Medical Center, for putting together a program that positively improves the lives of our students, their families, and our school community,” said Wahiawa Elementary Principal Troy Tamura. “Senator Inouye’s ongoing support and synergistic strategies for creating opportunities for our military and public schools to join forces are invaluable.”
The SBHT Community of Practice Model is not new to Hawaii; it has been in use by Tripler for more than a decade. However, this is the first time in Army Medicine a behavioral health partnership has gone outside the gate.
Tripler’s SBHT, comprised of a multidisciplinary team that consists of two child and adolescent psychiatrists, five social workers, and two psychologists, has been providing care in five on-post schools since 2008. Despite the success in those facilities, SBHT staff knew a large number of military children were missing out simply because they went to school off post.
“The Queen’s Medical Center Chief Executive Officer, Art Ushijima, had heard about the SBHT’s program, stepped up and offered to work with us,” explained Dr. Stan Whitsett, SBHT clinical director. “Queen’s agreed to provide a matching team of professionals to provide care to the non-military children in the off-post schools.”
The collaboration among the agencies, which has been in practice since November 2011, has allowed vital behavioral health services to be provided to Wahiawa Elementary students in this school pilot program for behavioral health care.
“It fits exactly with Sen. Inouye’s strategies,” Whitsett said. “His mission has been to bring together the Hawaiian and military communities to benefit the state and every resident. This has been a perfect example of that kind of collaboration.
“These partnering agencies are joining resources for the benefit of our local and military residents,” Whitsett continued. “The grand opening is just a celebration of this accomplishment.”
The teams provide services that focus on preventative and early intervention behavioral health care, as well as staff wellness programs. The teams hope to expand their services to one other elementary school during the 2012-2013 school year.
“Everyone has an essential role to play. Whatever is going to benefit the child and the environment that child lives in, that is what drives these programs,” Whitsett said. “The commitment that our teams have to this program and to the children and their families is extraordinary.”
Photo caption (l-r): Col. Anson Smith of Tripler Army Medical Center, U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, Patricia Park, Complex Area Superintendent (Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua); and Dr. Arthur Ushijima, president and CEO of the Queen's Health Systems.