Faculty forum to explore healthcare in the 21st century

Mount Mercy University will offer a faculty forum on healthcare in the 21st century with Assistant Professor and Clinical Director of Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Dr. Jacob Christenson. "Health Care in the 21st Century: Using Biopsychosocial Approach to Meet the Needs of Patients and Families" will be held on Wednesday, April 10, at 7:00 p.m. in Flaherty Community Room in Basile Hall. This event is free and open to the public; seating may be limited.

In the current health care market, both families and established organizations struggle with decisions regarding the cost of health care services by balancing the need for treatment with the need to minimize the overall cost of healthcare. One way care organizations have started dealing with cost concerns is to limit public access to certain types of services; specifically mental health services. Through his presentation, Christenson will describe the relationship between the participation in mental health services and the decline of healthcare use over all, known as the "offset phenomenon."

He will also discuss results from a study relating to health care use and relationship functioning of 56 participants from a marriage and family therapy training clinic in the western United States. Relationship functioning and health care were measured for three time periods: six months prior to initiating therapy, six months after therapy had begun, and 12 months after the initiation of therapy.

Christenson received his bachelor's degree in psychology from California Polytechnic State University, and his master's and doctoral degrees in marriage and family therapy from Brigham Young University.

Before coming to Mount Mercy, Christenson worked in Utah as a field therapist for a wilderness therapy program for troubled teens and taught online courses at Brigham Young University, Idaho, and Northcentral University. He is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and has had research published in many publications, including: American Journal of Family Therapy, The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Contemporary Family Therapy and the Journal of Couple Relationship Therapy.

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