About CEHL

Children's Emotional HealthLink - An Innovative Physician-Patient Communication Model and Training

One in ten children in the U.S. suffers from mental illness that causes impairment, yet only one in five of those in need receives treatment. In 2000, the Surgeon General called this dichotomy a "public crisis." The local situation is critical: in Boston, one child in five at high school has considered suicide, and 8 percent attempted suicide in 1999 (Boston Health Commission, 2001). The Surgeon General reports that depression is more commonly treated in primary care than any other medical condition except hypertension.

Through physician training focused on enhancing physician-patient relationships and communication, Children's Emotional HealthLink (CEHL) works to increase the number of children diagnosed with emotional disorders and treated and/or referred to medical, behavioral and psychosocial resources for compassionate care and support.

Children's Emotional HealthLink (CEHL) serves greater Boston and eastern Massachusetts, and is supported in part by Newton-Wellesley Hospital, a comprehensive medical center affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Partners HealthCare Network, and located in Newton, Massachusetts.   Through an innovative approach to physician-patient communication, physicians, parents and the community collaborate to improve the delivery of compassionate behavioral, emotional, and psychosocial care for children and adolescents. One purpose is to facilitate earlier diagnosis and treatment of emotional disorders.

 Children's Emotional HealthLink includes several components:

  • Physician training in "psychosocial pediatrics", including the enhancement of advanced communication and relationship skills with patients and families
  • A toolkit of resources for physicians and community advocates
  • A website for physicians and other health professionals, parents and advocates, designed to disseminate information, resources and project outcomes

Since its inception in 2004, CEHL's impact continues to grow. We anticipate that 20 new practitioners will participate in CEHL's training program in 2013; each cares for about 2,000 children during one year for a total of approximately 40,000 children and families served. Approximately 15 pediatricians/practitioners participated in CEHL I, II, and III for a total of about 90,000 children and families served.


CEHL has held three year-long courses, "Emotional and Psychosocial Issues in Children and Families: Psychosocial Pediatrics for the New Millenium." CEHL's 2013 course, "Mastering Pediatric Care in the Age of Healthcare Reform: Thriving in a Patient-Centered Model," will begin in March 2013.

Information on CEHL’s unique training model and curriculum can be found here: http://www.cehl.org/ppctp.html

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I would like to thank the following for their generous support, without whom this web site and training program would not exist: The Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation, The Alden Trust, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Project INTERFACE (Newton Public Schools and the U.S. Department of Education), the Locke Educational Fund at Newton- Wellesley Hospital, Aetna Health Plan, the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center,  and the families of my medical practice. 

I hope you find this site useful and encourage any comments.

- Dr. Howard King, M.D.