Using Collaboration Essentials
Pilot Studies

The Collaboration Essentials program was piloted in Chicago (October, 1999), New York (October, 2000), Baltimore (May, 2001), and Boston (November, 2001).
Financially supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer, Inc., the programs were part of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s continuing effort to foster collaboration between child and adolescent psychiatry and pediatrics.

The overall intention was to develop a program that can be replicated in other locations on an ongoing basis. Residents from both specialties were invited from four regions of the United States to participate in a 6-hour course based upon the Collaboration Essentials program. Didactic talks by the staff (1-2 hours) focusing upon collaboration interface (e.g., what hinders and what helps collaboration) were included in each program. The talks were followed by three case discussions separated by lunch and coffee breaks. Three pediatricians and three psychiatrists from each region participated as group facilitators. The first three programs used cases that were selected from the original Bright Futures curriculum (available at, while the last program piloted the three cases included in this guide. The attendance was fairly evenly split between the specialties with a slight weighting toward the psychiatry residents (e.g., Boston program had 10 pediatric, 14 psychiatric, and five triple board trainees in attendance).

Program evaluations were obtained from both residents and faculty at the completion of each of the above programs (See Appendix #2 for a sample evaluation form). Evaluation data indicated that the programs were well received by the residents.While not detailed here, the faculty evaluations in all four settings paralleled the residents’ evaluations. Residents reported a significantly higher likelihood to consult with their counterparts as a result of their participation in the program. Residents and faculty who attended these programs unanimously recommended that the program be offered again.

Independent of the above programs, Dr. Rebecca Edelson organized two pilot collaboration sessions for pediatric and psychiatry residents at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York in the spring of 2002. These sessions were embedded in Pediatric Behavior Rounds.  A total of 18 trainees participated in both sessions. For these meetings, cases involving ADHD (Frazer and Knight 2001) and recurrent abdominal pain were used (Blaschke and Frazer 2001). Dr. Edelson found that 100% of the attendees agreed or strongly agreed that the sessions were educational and clinically useful. The attendees also agreed on the need for more collaboration between pediatricians and psychiatrists. She also noted that the rounds were negatively affected when residents had to leave them to respond to outside clinical demands.

In the spring of 2003, Dr. Edelson expanded the project to a half-day symposium. She also invited family medicine residents and child neurology fellows to the program. This program piloted the three case studies presented in this guide. A total of 17 residents (11 pediatric and 6 psychiatry) participated in the symposium. All participants rated the program “excellent” or “near excellent” (i.e., 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale).

They either agreed or strongly agreed that the program was relevant to their future careers and that the symposium met the stated goal of fostering closer collaboration between pediatrics and psychiatry. As with previous programs, all participants agreed that a similar program should be offered again and stated that they would recommend it to a colleague.