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In 2010, the crisis in child and maternal mental health was brewing, but had not yet been named. Around that time, Dr. Sheila Marcus, a University of Michigan child psychiatrist, attended a national meeting and learned of the first child psychiatry access programs from Dr. John Straus, one of the grandfathers of child psychiatry access programs (CPAPs).

Inspired to start a CPAP in Michigan, Dr. Marcus returned home and met with leadership from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to discuss the idea of launching this in Michigan. Dr. Marcus collaborated with Mary Ludtke, a great advocate for children’s and women’s mental health at MDHHS  who connected Dr. Marcus with key people throughout the state. Sheri Falvay, who was at that time the Director of the Division of Mental Health Services to Children and Families at MDHHS, provided guidance and support, and together they collaborated on what the scope and model would look like in Michigan.

A couple of years later, MC3 was launched.

The program began with both modest means and scope in Kalamazoo and a handful of northern, rural Michigan counties, originally funded through gifts from the Ravitz Foundation, the Ethel & James Flinn Foundation, and Rachel Mary Upjohn Meador.

Initially, consultation calls were slow to come in.

After a few years, MC3 began to be recognized for doing good work and earned the support from legislators who helped secure generous funding for the program through the Governor’s bipartisan Mental Health and Wellness Commission.

Both federal match and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funding enabled further expansion to the UP and the Thumb regions. After that, additional funding was secured that allowed the program to continue to grow. Today, MC3 has a presence in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. 

In 2013, perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Maria Muzik joined MC3 and the program’s scope expanded to include psychiatry consultation and education to support providers treating pregnant and postpartum patients. In 2020, Dr. Muzik secured additional funding that has allowed for enhanced perinatal provider support and direct care for patients via the Perinatal Patient Care services.

Though MC3 operates out of the University of Michigan, the MC3 Program Team proudly collaborates with colleagues at Michigan State University. This collaboration is invaluable and has helped extend the program’s reach.

More than a decade into its existence, MC3 has expanded beyond anything Dr. Marcus could have imagined in 2012 and it’s due largely to the input and support of the providers who’ve used the program and helped shape it according to their needs. 

The MC3 Program Team thanks everyone who has made this program possible! We hope to continue this crucial work for many years to come in support of children and women in our state.

photo of 14 members of the MC3 program team taken outdoors in the summer of 2022
Members of the MC3 Program Team celebrate the program’s 10th birthday at the home of its founder, Dr. Sheila Marcus, in 2022