Few there are that will endure a true friend.
Henry George Bohn
I want to take this blog opportunity to congratulate my long-time friend and PCOMS enthusiast, Dr. Brian DeSantis, on his retirement from Peak Vista Community Health Centers in Colorado Springs. Brian DeSantis, Psy.D. was Vice President of Behavioral Health where he directed behavioral health consultants embedded within ten of Peak Vista's primary care health centers. Brian brought expertise in integrated care from his 20-year service in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corp. which included a fellowship at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. It was during this fellowship and his training in a children's hospital that he first became interested in integrated health care. Dr. DeSantis retired from the Air Force in 2004.
On the PCOMS side of things, while still in the Air Force, he began using PCOMS in his work in 2003. Bitten by the PCOMS bug, Brian implemented PCOMS at Peak Vista in 2006, the first implementation of PCOMS in integrated care in the US. From there he increased his involvement with PCOMS becoming a Project Leader in 2009. Since then, Dr. DeSantis has become a key collaborator to advance what PCOMS is all about: providing quality care, ensuring client voice and choice, and promoting agency and therapist outcome accountability. Beyond collaboration, he spearheaded several investigations to broaden application of PCOMS in integrated care, and to primary care itself. Without Brian’s vision, the following projects would not have occurred or survived the rigors of research in real world settings. First, he wanted to demonstrate that the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) could be an effective screener for distress in an integrated care setting. Our study found that the ORS compared nicely with the PHQ-9 and identified more individuals who may benefit from services. Second, Brian always wanted to demonstrate that PCOMS made a difference in an integrated care setting. But research is hard when it is not grant supported because people must add the duties of meticulous data collection to their existing responsibilities. Undaunted, Brian spearheaded our in-progress RCT at Peak Vista. Third, Dr. DeSantis has been intimately involved in our primary care measures that take the PCOMS concepts into medical treatment of chronic illness. Without him, our validation study of the Wellness Rating Scale and Provider Alliance Scalewould not have been possible. Finally, we are in the planning stages (and trying to secure funding) of an RCT that will address whether incorporating patient feedback will improve both the patient’s view of quality of life and the biological markers of chronic illness. Here again, Brian’s vision and team building has been instrumental to this project. Brian intends to keep his fingers in all these pies.
And long ago, in a galaxy far, far way…Brian and I were in the same graduate program at Wright State University School of Professional Psychology. He was an easy person to like and respect. Brian is a what you see is what you get kind of person. Not flashy. No pretense. Solid as solid gets. We both liked running and at times ran races together. Sometime after graduation, while Brian was serving in the Air Force at Wright Paterson Air Force Base, he joined my practice at the Dayton Institute for Family Therapy, a collection of like-minded (client directed), very talented therapists. Brian’s expertise in child problems and especially what many call ADHD was a huge benefit to the practice. Brian moved with the Air Force and we lost contact until 2003 when he re-connected because of his interest in PCOMS. And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, happy retirement, my friend. I know you will enjoy it with your wonderful partner, Karen. Thanks for your friendship and your stalwart support of me and PCOMS.