Behavioral health workforce series: Oklahoma's greatest needs and opportunities

December 15, 2020

In this four-part series, Healthy Minds Policy Initiative explores the state of Oklahoma’s behavioral health workforce, action areas for policymakers and a special focus on the state’s changing behavioral health workforce landscape as a result of COVID-19, Medicaid expansion and a possible shift to Medicaid commercial managed care.

The research sheds light on national reports indicating that Oklahoma ranks highly for behavioral health workforce availability. In its reports, Healthy Minds shows how the availability of behavioral health professions differs widely by profession and geographic area. The reports also pinpoint areas of need and explore how Oklahoma policymakers can match available limited workforce resources with need.

Our findings suggest that Oklahoma has a relative abundance of primary care physicians compared to extreme shortages of key mental health professions, leading to questions about training prioritization in the long-term, and more immediate opportunities for cross-disciplinary care to address current shortages.

The reports are informed by a diverse range of expert interviews conducted in late 2020, along with a host of available workforce data.

Read each part of the series:

  1. Greatest Needs of Oklahoma’s Behavioral Health Workforce: Released Dec. 15, 2020
  2. Action Areas for Improving Oklahoma’s Behavioral Health Workforce: Released Jan. 25, 2021
  3. The Impact of Medicaid Expansion and Commercial Managed Care on Oklahoma’s Behavioral Health Workforce: Released Feb. 5, 2021
  4. Oklahoma’s Behavioral Health Workforce Issues in COVID-19: Released April 23, 2021

Read our acknowledgement of key stakeholders.

See project snapshot