So far, 2012 has been an action-packed year for SAMHSA's Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE). OBHE was established by the Affordable Care Act and focuses on addressing the mental health, substance abuse and related conditions of often underserved racial, ethnic and sexual minority populations/communities. Our strategy and activities are driven by federal plans to address health disparities, and we look for ways SAMSHA can improve access to quality services and support that enable individuals and families to thrive, participate in and contribute to healthy communities. To that end, OBHE launched key initiatives this year with communities, providers and other partners.
In March, SAMHSA's National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) partnered with the National Latino Behavioral Health Association to convene its second annual training meeting, NNEDLearn 2012, for behavioral health practitioners and administrators from community-based organizations serving diverse racial and ethnic minority communities. The focus of this initiative is to improve the quality of care by providing training in evidence-based and culturally adapted evidence-based practices and to address workforce gaps in the provider organizations. NNEDLearn 2012 involves 125 practitioners from 35 organizations, participating in teams on one of six training tracks, including culturally adapted cognitive behavioral therapy for Hispanics and suicide prevention for tribes. Following the meeting, these six training groups continue in virtual communities of practices for coaching and ongoing web-based training over the next six months. Along with NNEDLearn, the NNED provides other learning opportunities for its members. We invite you to visit the NNED website for more information and to join the network.
Also in March, SAMHSA and the Pacific Behavioral Health Collaborating Council (PBHCC) launched the Master Trainer Development Program for the Pacific Jurisdictions. This one-year training and skill-building effort is designed to develop the expertise of a set of Pacific Islander Master Trainer candidates to provide behavioral health training to their colleagues. Upon the launch in Guam, 18 Master Trainer candidates were chosen, representing the six Pacific Jurisdictions. SAMHSA will be working with the PBHCC to identify host sites for each of the candidates to receive training in their selected areas of focus.
Rounding out March, OBHE hosted the Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) Behavioral Health Institute during the American Indian Higher Education Consortium's (AIHEC's) annual conference. The event convened TCU student leaders and college presidents to discuss the impact of behavioral health on student retention and workforce development. Student leaders participated in sessions on addictions counseling certification, suicide prevention and communications strategies for health promotion. The meeting concluded with a joint session between the students and presidents to discuss a potential behavioral health model for the campuses and to lay groundwork for future collaboration through a workgroup comprised of TCU presidents, students, AIHEC leadership and OBHE staff.
Through each of these initiatives, OBHE has developed strong partnerships with community members and providers to support efforts to improve behavioral health for diverse populations. We hope to see a positive impact beyond these partnerships as the programs develop, and will continue to pursue effective strategies to address behavioral health disparities. Please visit our website to learn more about our work.
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