Staging a play to address a timely need

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The tragic shootings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in April underscored the need for education on diagnosing and treating mental health problems.

It was fitting, then, that Pri-Med and educational partner France Foundation in May rolled out the first of a series of national lectures in Norfolk, VA. In this newer version of an activity that began last year, actors are interviewed live by a physician to demonstrate the proper use of a mood disorder questionnaire (MDQ) in diagnosing bipolar disorder. Participants can ask questions during the sessions, funded by AstraZeneca.

“From a practical standpoint, [physicians] are literally witnessing how to go through the MDQ,” said Anne Goodrich, Pri-Med group director of physician insights.

The program dates to 2005, when the NIH found that 55% of Americans will develop a mental illness at some point in their lives. Pri-Med then conducted a study of physicians, finding education could have a positive impact.

Nearly 20,000 physicians completed the first round of lectures. Outcomes research showed improvements in competence and adherence to clinical standard.

The patient-interview format was phased in for 2007, and Goodrich said she hopes the role-playing scenario plus handouts and other resources given to audience members will help address remaining learning gaps.
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