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Clinical Care Program

The provision of high quality clinical care services is one of the three Outpatient Research Program (ORP) missions. Patients are cared for in a clinical program that is personal and individualized.

The Process

The process begins with an approximate two-month, in-depth evaluation performed by a licensed clinical social worker and clinic psychiatrist to clarify diagnosis and assess decisional capacity. For admission, patients must have a schizophrenia or schizoaffective diagnosis and must be capable of understanding and appreciating the research nature of the clinic.

As part of their appreciation, prospective patients must understand that participation in research protocols is expected of them during their clinic stay. It is this level of competency that is required of a patient when they sign the Consent for Treatment upon admission to the clinic.

Diagnostic consultation is provided as a service to the community for patient and families who wish for clinical information but are not interested in research clinic participation.

The process of obtaining informed consent for a specific research protocol does not begin until the staff has an understanding of the patient's symptoms, behaviors and life circumstances. For patients who are not interested in ORP clinic admission, diagnostic consultation is provided as a service to the community. Fees are not collected for clinical services, as these are funded through University of Maryland, state and federal grants.

Components of Treatment

  • In-depth evaluation and diagnostic formulation

  • Evening hours and Saturday appointments available on request for those employed

  • Physical examination and primary care services performed by Nurse Practitioner

  • Weekly group therapy by licensed clinical social workers with individual sessions provided, as needed

  • Psychiatric medications dispensed on premises

  • Psychiatrist available as needed

  • 24 hour emergency, on-call service, covered by clinic staff

  • Transportation provided as needed

  • Regularly scheduled family education and support groups

  • Utilization of modern brain imaging, neuropsychological testing, and other assessment techniques, when indicated.

  • Clinical care to the approximately 100 patients seen in the clinic, weekly.

The goal is to improve social and occupational functioning, reduce symptoms, increase autonomy, and prevent hospitalization.  The ultimate aim of treatment is to help each patient attain an optimal level of functioning at home and in the community. Clinical care follows the procedures outlined in the Outpatient Program Policy and Procedure Manual which meet DHMH/ MHA regulations.

Primary Clinical Goals 

  • maximizing independent living, working, and social life

  • helping the patients and their families manage the effects of the illness with minimal disruption in their lives

  • preventing hospitalization

  • The clinical staff is comprised of experienced psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and pharmacist who work together as a multidisciplinary team

The program is licensed by the state of Maryland as an Outpatient Mental Health Program (OMHP) and is visited regularly by the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene to maintain this OMHP status.  Fees are not collected for clinical care, as clinical services are funded through University of Maryland, State and federal grants.

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Former MPRC Director, Dr. Robert W. Buchanan, provides an overview of the center.

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