ATTC Network Forum 2014 Day 1: Igniting the Spark

November 6, 2014

Maureen Fitzgerald
Communications Coordinator, ATTC
Network Senior Editor, NIATx
What do we know about the integration of health care and SUD services? 

Mady Chalk, Research Director, TRI
 "Things are moving fast and we need to pay attention," said Mady Chalk of TRI, who opened the ATTC Network Forum 2014 with a plenary presentation on emerging issues in health care. These issues have huge implications for the ATTC Network's role in meeting the needs of the behavioral health workforce. But will the Network step up to the challenge?

 "Addiction treatment providers need to "sell: their services to other areas of health care that are creating integrated health care systems," said Dr. Chalk.  She added that treatment in primary care is increasingly team-based, and that's not where our workforce is. She asked the audience, "How will will be approach our workforce to relearn skills to help them function as part of a team, instead of in isolation in an audience?  

We need to expand treatment services to special populations, added Dr. Chalk. "Adolescence is our last best hope for stopping addiction in its tracks." 

A new presentation tool, SLIDO, allowed audience members to pose questions to presenters throughout the day. One participant asked Dr. Chalk to identify three of the top priorities for behavioral health workforce development. Her reply? Behavioral health professionals need to: 1) Get out of their offices to help patients get back to their communities; 2) Learn to use data, and 3) Learn how to work in other heatlh care settings. (All of the questions posed to Dr. Chalk will be available on the ATTC/NIATx Network of Practice.)

Next on the agenda was a World Cafe at each table: Sheets of butcher block paper and colored markers helped spark ideas and lively conversations on the unique issues involved in behavioral health workforce development. For Paul Warren of the Northeast and Caribbean ATTC, this activity raised his awareness of "the despair medical professionals feel when their patients with substance use disorders don't recover." Several themes emerged from these discussions, with workforce development, finance issues, accelerating evidence-based practice adoption and new research mentioned most frequently. 

 What do we know about integrating SUD services and healthcare?

What do we know about integrating SUD services and healthcare? That was the question addressed by first panel of experts on the afternoon agenda. Panelists (pictured at left) included Redonna Chandler, Chief, Services Research Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Les Sperling, Chief Executive Officer, Central Kansas Foundation, and Glenda Wrenn, Director of Behavioral Health in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. Marjean Searcy, Director, Central Rockies ATTC Regional Center, moderated the session. 

Here's some of what we know about integrating SUD services and healthcare:
  •  Redonna Chandler: We need to do a better job of educating families and patients to be better consumers of treatment and recovery services.
  • Les Sperling of the Central Kansas Foundation: Warm handoffs between SUD treatment services and other healthcare are essential for successful integration.
  • Glenda Wrenn: We need to adopt a common definition for integrated care.
Peter Luongo of IRETA and the National SBIRT ATTC  moderated the next panel presentation, "The ACA and Beyond."  Featured guests discussed state and federal policy implications for the integration of of SUD and general healthcare. Pictured at left: Christopher Caroll, Chief, National Policy Liaison Branch, Office of Policy, Planning, and Innovation, SAMHSA, Tom Simpatico, Department of VT Health Access, and Peter Luongo, Director, National SBIRT ATTC.

Ignite Talks: Enlighten us but make it quick!

Day 1 of the Network Forum wrapped up with another new feature: the "Ignite Talks." Six panelists gave five-minute talks on their areas of expertise. Following the talks, speakers responded to more questions in a break room adjacent to the meeting room.

Along with many other attendees, participants from the National Hispanic and Latino ATTC described the Ignite Talks as one of the highlights of the day.  Pictured above, back row: Miguel Cruz, Victor Flores, and Darice Orobitg; front row: Ibis Carrion, Digmarie Alicea, and Carmen Andujar."The Ignite Talks were short, to the point, and very engaging," said Ibis Carrion, Director. 

For Linda Oney, Director of Training & Conferences for the Central East ATTC, Day 1 of the Network Forum was both productive and information. "Lots of good things are happening with integration, and Day 1 was confirmation of where we're supposed to be going as a Network to get more involved in the game."

And getting more involved is the focus of the ATTC Network initiative to promote the integration of SUD services with healthcare. Watch the ATTC website for the updates on our efforts!

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