The South Southwest ATTC Consortium of Higher Education Institutions

Maureen Nichols
Director, South Southwest ATTC

In 1993, the South Southwest ATTC formed an educational consortium of community colleges across Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) to impact the quality of clinical addiction care by enhancing academic preparation for new counselors entering the addictions treatment field and to support the recruitment and retention of minority counselors.

Initially, it was the Texas public behavioral health agency that identified a need for a closer alignment between the racial and ethnic composition of addiction treatment program staff compared to the high percentage of minority clients served. Treatment programs reported particular difficulty in hiring bilingual counseling staff. The SSW ATTC identified community based institutions of higher education with a large percentage of minority students and recruited them to offer addictions coursework to equip students with the competencies for delivery of evidence based practices and to provide for internship placements in local treatment programs.

We realized this partnership was also a mechanism for embedding long-term technical assistance of evidence-based practices into the field in a multi-faceted way. Faculty at the consortium schools developed course content based on evidence-based practices promoted by SAMHSA, including TIP 21. The coursework is reviewed by staff from the SSW ATTC to ensure its fidelity to current best practices. Faculty develop long-term working relationships with local treatment providers in their community and place practicum students at the community treatment sites. Faculty also provide ongoing technical assistance in areas such as implementing evidence-based practice with fidelity, best practices in supervision of clinical staff and program evaluation to those local providers.

Today, these local colleges and universities, located across multiple states, still provide pre-service education and training in partnership with their professional communities. The ability to work with those institutions and instructors training our newest counselors and providing them with field experience, allows us to amplify our impact in implementing the latest evidence-based practices into the field. It also enhances our states and local communities’ ability to recruit, promote, and support a culturally and linguistically diverse governance, leadership, and workforce that is reflective of and responsive to the populations they serve.

The consortium remains a stable collaboration that meets annually to share curriculum strategies, technical assistance plans, and student recruitment and placement plans. In 25 years, over 30,000 students have participated and now populate treatment programs throughout the region. The program is very popular with low-income students who can take courses in affordable community colleges located in their locality. Faculty of these programs have become resources in their local communities for the latest addictions and treatment practices. The information gained from faculty and students continues to guide the South Southwest ATTC in our needs assessment, goal setting and implementation processes to improve the lives of those impacted by addiction.

To learn more about the current members view our Education Consortium page or contact the South Southwest ATTC at

Welcome to the New National Hispanic and Latino Addiction Technology Transfer Center

Pierluigi Mancini, Phd, MAC
Director, National Hispanic and Latino ATTC
National Hispanic and Latino ATTC

Welcome to the New National Hispanic and Latino Addiction Technology Transfer Center, (National Hispanic and Latino ATTC) the latest member of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center network (ATTC). The National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA), the grant recipient, was established to fill a need for a unified national voice for Latino populations in the behavioral health arena and to bring attention to the great disparities that exist in areas of access, utilization, practice-based research and adequately trained personnel. (

The Latino population in the United States combines very diverse populations. The major groups are Mexican Americans (who constitute 63.0% of Latinos), mainland Puerto Ricans (9.2%), and Cubans (3.5%). The Census Bureau's code list of subgroups other than the major groups contains over 30 Hispanic or Latino subgroups, including Brazil, South America’s largest country.

There are also individuals who were born in the United States of America who identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino.

The various Latino groups concentrate in different regions of the U.S. and they constitute a large proportion of the foreign-born population, slightly more than half (53.1%) of the total foreign-born population is composed of immigrants from Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Latino groups also differ in nativity status. About one-third (36%) of Hispanics of Mexican origin are foreign-born, as compared with more than half of Cubans and Dominicans (59% and 57%, respectively). Among Puerto Ricans living in the United States, one-third (31%) were born on the island. In addition, there is substantial heterogeneity across Latino groups in terms of immigration history and patterns.

The National Hispanic and Latino ATTC will be addressing the diverse needs that this heterogeneous community faces when it comes to seeking and finding addiction treatment, prevention and recovery services. Besides country of origin we will be addressing issues of acculturation, limited English proficiency, health literacy, or the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

We plan to train the behavioral health workforce that will be serving Hispanic/Latino communities and developing and/or adapting the evidence-based practices and services that these professionals will be using in order to bring meaningful change to the lives of these individuals.

We will serve individuals and organizations who provide behavioral health services to Hispanic/Latino populations throughout the United States. The center will provide training and technical assistance to a wide range of public, nonprofit and private organizations in culturally and linguistically appropriate practices and programs effective in serving Latino populations including evidenced based, community defined evidence, and other best or emerging practices.

Finally, we will make sure that the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS Standards) are recognized. Training and hiring protocols will be implemented to support the culture and language of all subpopulations (English, Spanish or Portuguese), with a focus on the diverse Hispanic/Latino populations.

For additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact Project Director, Pierluigi Mancini PhD, MAC, at or at 678-883-6118


Acosta, YD., De la Cruz, GP. Brief ACSBR/10-15. US Dep. Commer., Econ. Stat. Adm., US Census Bur; 2011. The foreign born from Latin America and the Caribbean: 2010.

Ennis, SR., Rios-Vargas, M., Albert, NG. Brief C2010BR-04. US Census Bur; 2011. The Hispanic population 2010.

Brown, A., Patten, E. Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin in the United States, 2011. Pew Res Cent, Hisp Trends. 2013 Jun 19.

Great Lakes ATTC: Process Improvement Focus Helps Organizations Implement Evidence-Based Practices

Todd Molfenter, Ph.D.
Director, Great Lakes ATTC

The mission of the ATTC Network includes “accelerating the adoption and implementation of evidence-based and promising addiction treatment and recovery-oriented practices and services.”

At the Great Lakes ATTC, we’re applying our background in implementation science and process improvement to help accelerate the adoption and implementation of EPBs in our region and beyond.

Implementing EPBs can be challenging for organizations of any size. Emerging research from implementation science tells us that successful EPB implementation needs:
  1. more than training alone,
  2. coaching and feedback; and
  3. standardized improvement model.
See related article, Water into Sand: OUD Pharmacotherapy and Implementation Science: Why Training on Evidence-Based Practices is Never Enough

The NIATx Model

A fundamental tool in the Great Lakes ATTC’s effort to accelerate EPB implementation is the NIATx model, developed in 2003 as a demonstration project supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and SAMHSA. A seminal article written by McCarty et al. in 2007 described the impact of the NIATx model on access and retention in addiction treatment settings. Since then, more than 50 peer-reviewed articles have documented the use of the NIATx model in adopting evidence-based practices in addiction treatment, mental health, HIV treatment, child welfare, criminal justice, and other human services settings.

The NIATx Change Leader Academy

To teach the NIATx model, we offer the NIATx Change Leader Academy (CLA): a one-day, face-to-face workshop followed by three months of peer networking and support from a NIATx coach. The CLA teaches organizations how to use the NIATx model of process improvement to lead change projects that focus on improving systems or implementing EBPs.

Based on customer feedback (and applying NIATx Principle #1: Understand and Involve the Customer), we continue to refine this training session to make it focused, team-based, and interactive. Participants leave the skill-building workshop with tools they can use to start a change project as soon as they get back to the office.

Available in our region and beyond

During our first year as the Great Lakes ATTC, we conducted NIATx CLAs in each state in our region. These events were a great way to build relationships with our stakeholders and to introduce more behavioral health providers to the NIATx model.

Organizations in our region are using the NIATx approach for a wide range of change projects, including implementation of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder and Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment. NIATx tools are helping to build Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and soon, we hope, in other states in our region. Organizations can use the NIATx approach to implement other EPBs, such as those listed in SAMHSA’s Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center.

Photo: NIATx Change Leader Academy, MARRCH, April 3, 2019

The NIATx model also provides a framework for making changes to administrative processes. In Minnesota, a recent NIATx CLA marked the launch of a strategic initiative by the Minnesota Associations of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH): a statewide Change Leader Learning Community that will help Minnesota providers adapt to policy changes coming to the state.

Read the related news story: NIATx Change Leader Academy Launches Minnesota Learning Collaborative

We offer the NIATx CLA regularly in the states throughout our region; check the Great Lakes ATTC calendar for info on upcoming offerings. And if you are interested in hosting a NIATx CLA in our region, give us a call!