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ASU partnership awarded $3.5M continuation grant to support substance abuse training

February 20, 2013

ASU's Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, in partnership with UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, has received a $3.5 million, five-year continuation grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The award will support the center's ongoing effort to disseminate the latest research-based information to substance abuse treatment providers and other professionals.

The center and UCLA's programs have served the California and Arizona region (Region 9) since 2001 through the Pacific Southwest district of the Addiction Technology Transfer Centers (ATTC), providing hundreds of professional development opportunities focusing on culturally sensitive, recovery-oriented methods of treatment to practitioners, researchers, policymakers, funders and consumers regionally and nationally.

“The Arizona behavioral health community has certainly benefitted,” said Cory Nelson, acting deputy director of behavioral health at the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Since 2007 this partnership has reached over 24,000 Arizonans through training of evidence based and promising practices, including topics in integrated health, trauma informed care, substance abuse prevention and screening, and others. This is a huge success for our dynamic workforce and community,” Nelson added.

Launched in 1993 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the ATTC Network is made up of 14 independent regional centers. Over the next five years, Region 9 will expand to include Hawaii, Nevada, and six U.S.-affiliated Pacific island jurisdictions, making it the most far-ranging and ethnically diverse service center in the national ATTC Network. The Pacific population alone is located on 669 islands and atolls across five million square miles.

In addition to the geographic scope, Region 9 is comprised of a range of culturally distinctive societies including Latino, Asian, African American, and Native American people who speak 20 unique languages. In total, Region 9 has more than 3,900,000 individuals in need of treatment for substance use disorders, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012), the existing workforce consists of fewer than 11,000 front-line professionals.

In this expanded setting, the Pacific Southwest district of the ATTC’s immediate goal is to support local initiatives so they are able to meet the increasing demand for services. The coming five-year project period will see the development of more than 350 events region-wide, utilizing a variety of delivery methods, for more than 11,750 participants.

Vicki Staples, the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy associate director for clinical initiatives, within the College of Public Programs, is optimistic that the Pacific Southwest district of the ATTC will succeed in building an effective workforce for such a broad cultural and geographic sector.

“Communities from the desert southwest to the Pacific islands will have access to the latest behavioral health research which is a vital part of battling any disease, including the disease of addiction,” Staples said. “Over a decade of experience in developing state-of-the-art training, dissemination, and technical assistance strategies has made us a leader in skills training that unifies science and practice with cultural competence. There is no other organization as uniquely qualified to serve this region.”

Media contact:
Amy Ashley,
Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy