In addition to training pediatricians to better assess and treat mild to moderate conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as part of primary care, part of the donation will be used to support improve the quality of training for residents and colleagues. programs and to support behavioral health research.
The Lurie Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division, headed by Dr John Walkup, was renamed the Pritzker Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Department as a result of this donation.
“We are excited about Dr Walkup’s vision for a new approach to the growing demand for these services, and we see this as an opportunity for Lurie Children’s to develop a world-class program,” Michael Pucker, Gigi Pritzker’s husband and a member of the board of directors of Lurie Children, said in the statement. “Our family has faced its share of mental health challenges and we have been engaged in mental health research for over 50 years.”
Since July, Lurie has trained nearly 50 pediatricians from 16 Chicago-area practices.
In the statement, Walkup referred to the nationwide shortage of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other mental health providers who specialize in treating children. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, there are approximately 8,300 child and adolescent psychiatrists in the United States, compared with 15 million children in need of mental health care providers, added Walkup, who is also professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
“With our current resources, we will never be able to treat all the children who need us,” Walkup said. “This gift allows us to ‘work smart’ and reach more children.”