Department of Psychiatry

History of the Department


In the early 1950’s the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization specializing in mental health training, research and demonstration service delivery projects, entered into a contract with the city of Kansas City, Missouri, to reorganize and operate psychiatric services for patients of the city hospital system. A new building was constructed, namely the Psychiatric Receiving Center. It began operations in April, 1954, as the first racially integrated psychiatric hospital in Kansas City. A merger with the Child Guidance Clinic, the addition of outpatient and aftercare services and establishment of a day hospital program, combined with consultation programs developed earlier with the public school district provided the components for a comprehensive system. For its efforts in creating community-oriented comprehensive services, the Foundation was honored in 1961 by the Hospital and Community Psychiatry Institute of the American Psychiatric Association which presented the Gold Medal Award to the Psychiatric Receiving Center.

The Center was one of the early models of a community mental health center described in a book published by the Joint Information Service entitled: The Community Mental Health Center: An Analysis of Existing Models, 1964. The development of the Center was documented in the book, A Community Concern, by Epps, Barnes, and McPartland, 1965, Charles E. Thomas, publisher.

The Western Missouri Mental Health Center (now CBM) was developed through a partnership between the Missouri Division of Mental Health and the Foundation. The Psychiatric Receiving Center became a part of the State after the State enlarged the facilities and eventually purchased the property from the city of Kansas City. The State assumed responsibility for clinical and community services and the Foundation continued upon its mission of psychiatric residency training (begun in 1952), training in other disciplines, research, and special projects. On November 1, 1989, the Missouri Department of Mental Health assumed direct sponsorship for the residency training program. In 2009, Western Missouri Mental Health Center became the Center for Behavioral Medicine with a renewed commitment to treatment of long-term patients.

In July, 1993, Central Kansas City Mental Health Services (CKCMHS) was created out of its progenitor, CBM, as a freestanding, state-owned community mental health center. In 1997 CKCMHS was purchased by Truman Medical Center and renamed Truman Medical Center Behavioral Health Network (TBHN). TBHN serves as the primary training site for residents in outpatient and community psychiatry, Emergency psychiatry as well as consultation – liaison psychiatry and also provides some acute inpatient services.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine accepted its first class in 1971. It is a six year school that admits students directly from high school. Upon graduation students receive both baccalaureate and medical degrees. The school, which is unique in the United States, does not operate a university hospital or graduate programs. It contracts with the departments of its affiliated hospitals for its clinical instruction of medical students and residents. Thus, Truman Medical Center and Saint Luke’s Hospital provide clinical training for the Departments of Internal Medicine, OB/GYN and Surgery. The Children’s Mercy Hospital is its Department of Pediatrics, and the medical staff members at CBM and TBHN are its Department of Psychiatry. Professional staff members at CBM and Truman Behavioral Health Services hold faculty positions in the School of Medicine and are responsible for teaching psychiatry to medical students both during their psychiatric clerkship at the Center and during rotations at other Hospital Hill Institutions.

“Hospital Hill” is located just south of downtown Kansas City and is comprised of the major health education institutions and facilities primarily devoted to services for the public sector. These include: The University of Missouri-Kansas City Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Nursing; the Truman Medical Center; the Children’s Mercy Hospital; Center for Behavioral Medicine, and Truman Behavioral Health Network.