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Behavioral health on agenda during meeting with state legislators and students

William Gabrielli, M.D., Ph.D, department chair, and Lauren Lucht, health system administrator for mental and behavioral health, spoke to a delegation of Kansas legislators. Studencts from two local high schools also were in attendance.

William Gabrielli, M.D., Ph.D, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and Lauren Lucht, executive director, behavioral and mental health, The University of Kansas Health System, addressed a delegation of Kansas legislators and students Feb. 4 at the statehouse in Topeka.

In speaking with members of the Wyandotte/Leavenworth legislative delegation on a range of topics, Gabrielli and Lucht provided a behavioral health update on the health system's newly opened Strawberry Hill campus in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, and highlighted the barriers to mental health treatment in the state.

The talk also covered ways the health system and KU Medical Center are partnering to boost the number of behavioral health providers in Kansas, including proposals to expand the residency program and increasing the availability of telebehavioral health services for Greater Kansas. In addition, Gabrielli and Lucht discussed the need for more community resources for underserved patients who are discharged from acute care with little to no resources for post-discharge housing.

Students from F.L. Schlage High School and Sumner Academy in Kansas City, Kansas, also were on hand as part of citizen lobby days at the state capitol.

"We wanted to provide an update on events occurring at the health system. With mental health being an issue that the legislature is very interested in and the delegation being from Wyandotte/ Leavenworth, I thought it would be worth having Dr. Gabrielli and Lauren give an update," said Reagan Cussimanio, director of governmental affairs, The University of Kansas Health System.

In addition to earning positive remarks from legislators on the useful information they provided about Strawberry Hill, Gabrielli and Lucht also were well received by the students in attendance.

"They did such a wonderful thing by addressing students and talking about mental health and changing the stigma around it," Cussimanio said. "I was absolutely so proud of what they had to say and how they shared it with the students."

Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

University of Kansas Medical Center
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Mailstop 4015
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-6400
Fax: 913-588-6414