By Maureen Fitzgerald, Communications Manager, Great Lakes ATTC, MHTTC, and PTTC
In 2023, the NIATx in New Places series shared the stories
of how the NIATx process improvement model continues to shape transformation in
both familiar and uncharted territories. From clinical treatment to school
settings, prevention, criminal justice, and beyond, NIATx remains a tool for
change in the health and human service landscape.
NIATx coach and founding member Mat Roosa introduced the series with this post, highlighting the model's adaptability and enduring impact. Mat also shares his first walk-through experience and reflects on how NIATx has shared his career path.Building Cultural Intelligence and Health Equity, Alfredo Cerrato, Senior Cultural and Workforce Development Officer, Great Lakes ATTC, MHTTC, and PTTC
In this post, Alfredo describes how the NIATx approach can help a team identify and remove access barriers for underserved communities. Integrating NIATx with the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care further enhances its effectiveness and offers a systematic approach to promoting equity in behavioral health services.Research and Innovation in Professional Coaching with NIATx, Dr. Jay Ford, UW–Madison School of Pharmacy
Dr. Jay Ford is an associate professor at UW–Madison and a
member of the team that launched NIATx in 2023. His current research on
coaching, substance use treatment, HIV, and medication utilization in nursing
homes showcases the NIATx model's adaptability and effectiveness.
Capacity for Effective School-Based Suicide Prevention, Sarah McMinn &
Sarah McMinn, LCSW, leads the Great Lakes MHTTC School-Based Mental Health Supplement and has used the NIATx model to address gaps in schools’ suicide prevention policies. In this post, she describes how the NIATx approach was adapted to school settings, offering a simple framework for educators to implement small, measurable changes efficiently.Bringing the NIATx Change Leader Academy to HealtheKnowledge, Scott Gatzke & Maureen Fitzgerald
Scott Gatzke, Director of Dissemination for the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies and NIATx coach, helped to develop the NIATx Change Leader Academy (CLA) to meet the growing demand for NIATx training. Over the past two decades, NIATx CLAs have extended the model's reach to diverse areas nationwide. Continuing to adapt the CLA to meet changing needs, Scott describes a new project in development: an online version of the CLA that will be available on HealtheKnowledge.The International Impact of the NIATx Model: Ukrainian healthcare providers increase access to treatment during war, Lynn Madden, PhD, MPA, and Kristina Spannbauer, Communications Specialist for Great Lakes ATTC, MHTTC, and PTTC,
Dr. Lynn Madden reflects on the impact of NIATx since her
organization’s involvement in 2003 and shares the international success of a NIATx
project in Ukraine. Collaborative efforts to address opioid use disorders have
increased the number of patients receiving treatment in Ukraine significantly. Dr.
Madden’s journey with NIATx, from participating in the first demonstration
grant to global collaborations, emphasizes the transformative nature of NIATx
in improving healthcare access and outcomes.
Jessica Vechinski is the program manager for the
implementation arm of the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network JCOIN, a research
project managed by the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies. Over
three years, 50 sites in 14 states participated in the study, using NIATx
coaching to improve the use of medications for opioid use disorder in jails.
The study found that NIATx coaching helped uncover and address barriers to
implementing MOUD in criminal justice settings.
In this Recovery Month 2023 post, recovery advocate Kris Kelly highlights the NIATx model’s potential for supporting recovery community organizations (RCOs). Emphasizing NIATx as a tool for empowerment, Kris notes that NIATx gets teams involved in a participatory process. She also envisions the potential impact for NIATx in continuous improvement in RCO initiatives.Insights on Using NIATx in Prevention, Erin Ficker, Prevention Manager Great Lakes PTTC, and Maureen Fitzgerald, Communications Manager, Great Lakes ATTC, MHTTC, and PTTC
Erin Ficker, a prevention manager with 18 years of experience, teamed up with NIATx coach Scott Gatzke to conduct NIATx Change Leader Academies (CLAs) for prevention professionals. In this post, she describes how they adapted NIATx principles to resonate with the prevention audience, emphasizing customer/participant involvement and reframing prevention work as processes. Erin highlights the PDSA Cycle, one of the essential NIATx tools, as an effective strategy for making gradual improvements in prevention efforts.Recruitment, Hiring, Retention, and Promotion (RHRP), Mat Roosa, LCSW
In this post, Mat describes how the critical need to address
understaffing and low worker retention inspired new application of the NIATx
tools to understand and improve each aspect of the workforce process:
recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion. This focused, data-driven
approach aims to make a meaningful impact on behavioral health workforce
NIATx founder David H. Gustafson reflects on the enduring impact of the NIATx model, emphasizing its simplicity, focus on key aims, and the power of storytelling. Key factors in NIATx staying power include support from organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and SAMHSA, ongoing research, and the NIATx Change Leader Academy. Dave also talks about using NIATx in his current research and in exploring the role of technology, including AI, in addiction treatment.
The stories shared in the NIATx in New Places Series
underscore not only the adaptability and enduring impact of the NIATx model,
but also the commitment of individuals across various fields to drive positive
change. As we embark on the new year, these stories remind us that with the
right tools and a shared vision, we can continue to shape and improve the human
Here’s to the resilience, innovation, and team spirit that
define the NIATx journey!