Vail Health Behavioral Health is a non-profit organization based in Vail, Avon, Edwards, and Edwards, providing services across Eagle County. Eagle County is an economically and ethnically diverse county situated in the mountains of central Colorado. The county includes the world-class ski towns of Vail and Beaver Creek, as well as the towns of Minturn, Avon, Edwards, Eagle, Gypsum, Basalt and surrounding areas. The annual population is currently 53,320. However, due to the influx of tourists and second homeowners, the resting population of our community can vary dramatically depending on the season. Eagle County’s population has increased 25% over the last ten years. The local economy is driven by tourism, construction and ranching. The median household income level is $72,214
The mission of Vail Health Behavioral Health (VHBH; formerly Eagle Valley Behavioral Health) is to lead community collaboration efforts to transform the Eagle Valley’s behavioral health system. VHBH was created to integrate Eagle County’s fragmented and inadequate behavioral health system. VHBH serves as a central hub for integration and coordination of all behavioral health resources, providers, and organizations, which previously operated autonomously lacking in formal or systemic collaborative structure. VHBH strives to eliminate barriers and increase access to behavioral health care targeting all segments of the social, environmental, and healthcare continuum. VHBH acts as the central backbone organization in Eagle County to develop strategic plans for funding, implementing and measuring the impact of behavioral health initiatives, while leading community collaboration to transform our valley’s behavioral health system. Our vision is to imagine a day in Eagle County when we spend as much time, effort and resources on our behavioral health as we do our physical health. In addition to community collaboration and system consultation, VHBH coordinates an internal, psychologically-informed, culturally-responsive Employee Behavioral Health Assistance program (EAP) and provides organizational consultation support for behavioral health organizations and service providers across our community.
Interns at VHBH are engaged in a variety of behavioral health services offered through our organization with major areas of focus that strongly align with the areas of focus within CO-PIC: Behavioral Health Intervention, Community Consultation and Systems Collaboration, Supervision, and Psychological Assessment. VHBH is a leader and coordinator of several behavioral health collaborations, work groups, community-based initiatives, and is viewed as a central hub for the integration and coordination of all behavioral health resources, providers, and organizations within our community. Interns at VHBH have opportunities to engage in behavioral health systems collaboration at state and national systemic level through policy advocacy and leadership development with the Colorado Psychological Association. There are two specialty tracks available for interns at VHBH: integrated primary care (1 FT funded placement) and sports psychology (1 FT funded placement).
VHBH- IntegratedCare & Outpatient Track (1 intern)
Interns placed with VHBH’s Integrated Care & Outpatient Therapy Track support the Integrated Behavioral Health program at Colorado Mountain Medical (CMM) and Vail Health Behavioral Health (VHBH) Outpatient Clinic. In the Integrated Care rotation, interns are embedded into the medical clinic supporting patients accessing primary care, dermatology, gynecology, endocrinology, urology, and pediatrics. Interns will field warm hand-offs from physicians, consult with medical staff, and provide brief, solution-focused interventions to patients, their parents, and families. Interns will also have the opportunity to attend physician meetings, build presentations for staff on treating behavioral health patients, and participate in the development of a specialty project related to primary care.
While rotating through VHBH Outpatient Clinic, interns primary clinical responsibilities include brief screenings and intervention including the provision of individual, family, couples, and group therapy with children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of presenting concerns. Interns may also receive referrals for solution focused, short-term work from the employee assistance program (EAP) for Vail Health employees. In the VHBH Outpatient Clinic, interns will also participate in the psychological testing program completing comprehensive biopsychosocial assessments and conducting neuropsychological batteries.
The Integrated Care & Outpatient Therapy Track also offers the unique opportunity to be involved in leadership roles in many Community Consultation Systems including but not limited to: Zero Suicide Committee, Rural Communities Opioid Response Program, Eagle County Crisis Response Debrief, Disaster Behavioral Response Committee, Critical Incident Debrief Team, and more. The Integrated Care & Outpatient Therapy also services the Latinx Community of Eagle County offering multiple opportunities for community engagement, bilingual service delivery, and program development.
VHBH- Sports Psych Track (1 Intern)
Interns placed in VHBH- Sports Psychology Track primarily provide services at Howard Head Sports Medicine (HHSM), a busy and dynamic Sports Medicine Clinic providing Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Brain and Balance Care, and Sport Psychology services as a part of the Vail Health healthcare system. Interns are placed at the Edwards and Vail Clinics, which are approximately 15 miles apart, thus interns are required to have access to reliable transportation to travel between sites. Please note: there are employee shuttles between sites that interns may use to go between clinics.
HHSM’s use of sport psychology is aimed at helping eliminate stigma associated with the use of behavioral health and to increase access to behavioral health care by opening new doors within the healthcare continuum. Our vision is to imagine a day in Eagle Valley when we spend as much time, effort and resources on our behavioral health as we do our physical health. In addition to community collaboration and system consultation, HHSM is a part of a community Employee Behavioral Health Assistance program (EAP) that serves multiple organizations in the Vail Valley.
At HHSM, interns provide mental health, psychological assessment, and performance psychology services to HHSM patients and regular consultation to HHSM staff. Interns have opportunities to assist with psychological assessments used in the evaluation for pre-surgical screening and can expect to complete 8-12 full batteries during the training year. Interns are placed with a local sports team and spend 5-10 hours per week conducting sports intervention with their assigned team. A typical day at HHSM includes post-surgical patients in the morning, attending interdisciplinary treatment team meetings and/or providing interdisciplinary consultation, and then conducting psychological assessments and participating in supervision in the afternoons.
Elective training tracks are selected by the intern and can be selected for the year or on a semester basis. Possible elective areas of focus include:
· Crisis counseling and co-responder model of risk assessment
· Suicide prevention, mental health first aid, and community engagement
· Wellness, vicarious-trauma, and burn out prevention
· Early Childhood parenting classes, parent engagement, and psychological assessment
· Psychological Assessment (both adult and children available)
· Substance Abuse
· Community Outreach/Latino Community Outreach
· Integrated Primary Care
· BLBTIQ Community Engagement
· Research/Grant Writing/Development
Our training philosophy follows 6 core principles that serve as the foundation for the training, learning environment, and professional development. The points below outline our aspirations for our training program, our expectations for the treatment of others, and our expectations about personal behavior as an EVBH employee.A wide-scope training and solid generalist practice is pertinent for developing the needed foundation to become an advanced professional
Diverse and interrelated knowledge and skills are essential for effective and comprehensive practice/care. We value knowledge contributions from our own disciplines and from other related professional disciplines.
Learning is optimized in an environment that is supported, developmentally graduated, and challenging.
We want trainees and staff to feel that their opinions, knowledge and skills are valued, and that it is safe to make mistakes. It is also essential for growth that trainees can honestly evaluate their strengths and limitations. In this way, growth areas and blind spots can be addressed and feedback can be integrated.
Sound psychological theory and research are the underpinnings of effective practice.
Interventions and practice must be guided by both theory and practice. Staying current on scientific research and evidence based practice helps ensure more effective interventions and case conceptualizations that drive treatment. Using research to guide practice also ensures a high level of ethical professionalism
All staff members are expected to demonstrate a commitment to self-awareness and an understanding of the intersection of the personal and professional.
To be a good mental health professional, skill acquisition is tantamount. What is more important is self understanding, personal maturity, self regulation, and ethical behavior. We expect staff to continually self-reflect about performance, professionalism, and growth. Leadership is also dedicated to helping staff reflect and make changes along this continuum.
Each staff member has the right to be treated with respect.
All staff members deserve to have a voice and to be intrinsically valued. Honest communication and cooperation among staff are essential to meet larger goals. Each staff member is charged with creating a supportive environment for their colleagues so that individuals have an equal opportunity to do their work, realize their goals, and feel comfortable.
Respect for diversity is the common core for all activities
We expect all staff and trainees to commit to learning about equality, inclusion, power/privilege, implicit bias and diversity. All staff will demonstrate a willingness to examine their own assumptions, behaviors, and values so that they may work effectively with cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability
Harlan Austin, Ph.D., LP
Dr. Harlan Austin received his BA in psychology from The Ohio State University, his MA in counseling from New Mexico State University, and his PhD in counseling psychology (specialization in sport psychology) at the University of North Texas. He has national certifications in sport psychology as well as addiction psychology. Dr. Austin has lectured and presented at national conventions on the topics of sport and performance psychology, clinical sport psychology, and athlete rehabilitation. He is the performance optimization psychologist for Howard Head Sports Medicine at Vail Health Behavioral Health and has been providing supervision for APA pre-doctoral interns at various hospitals in Colorado since 2015.
Paige Baker-Braxton, Psy.D., LP
CO-PIC Training Director & Secondary Site Supervisor
Dr. Paige Baker-Braxton (she/her) attended Georgetown University receiving undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Gender Studies. She pursued both a MS and doctorate in multicultural Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Baker-Braxton trained as a Psychology Fellow in 1 of 10 national sites specializing in LGBT Mental Health in the VA. Dr. Baker-Braxton spent much of her career working in primary care behavioral health settings and working with queer and transgender survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. In 2021, she was hired by Vail Health as Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health. In this role, Dr. Baker-Braxton oversees all outpatient and intensive outpatient therapeutic services, supervises the behavioral health training programs, and runs the Integrated Behavioral Health department.