Projects & Impact

AHP has built its business on applying best practices, many of which we have helped to shape, and real-world, hands-on knowledge to improving systems and business practices for our clients.

In all of the work that we do, we are guided by our mission to improve health and human services systems of care and business operations to help organizations and individuals reach their full potential.

Search Projects by Category

Select items in one or more of four categories to find relevant project types:

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Access to Recovery (ATR) [Commonwealth of Massachusetts, DPH/BSAS]

ATR is an innovative program that helps people in Massachusetts who are in early recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD) gain wider access to community services. ATR is making a difference, shown by a four-fold increase in employment among participants after they complete the program compared to when they enrolled. ATR graduates are better able to sustain recovery, find jobs, and maintain stable housing. 
 

ATR participants are also far less likely to fatally overdose while enrolled in the program, with rates at less than 1%.   

 

AHP has been running this federal grant from SAMHSA since 2010. Clients choose recovery support services that they think will help them most in their recovery.  
 

Examples of services include care coordination, basic critical needs support (clothing, IDs), public transportation passes, health and mental health supports, and employment training. ATR gives participants the dignity of self-sufficiency and the hope for a future in recovery.  

 

This project is being implemented in four Massachusetts cities: Springfield, Boston, Worcester, and New Bedford.  

  

For the relatively low cost of an average of $1,865 per participant for the 6-month program, ATR saves the Commonwealth money and saves lives. During one grant year alone, $4 million went back into the local economy by paying providers for the services provided to participants and by paying participants a work-study benefit when they attended job-training programs. 

 

The focus on employment through job readiness training, job search assistance, and occupational training is key to the program’s success. Job training is provided to participants with a recognition that they have complex needs and benefit from customized approaches to employment training. The ATR employment program, the Career Building Initiative (CBI), is a national model for successful job readiness and occupational training for people in early recovery from substance use disorders. 
 

About 90% of ATR participants have some criminal justice system involvement and often face barriers to securing employment. To accommodate this population, CBI includes training in jobs that employ people with a criminal justice background, including culinary/food services, commercial cleaning, construction, hotel/hospitality, truck driving, and office work. 

 

ATR coordinators are continuously trained on recovery planning, motivational interviewing, and engagement techniques, resulting in successful engagement with the participants throughout their time in the program. 

BHbusiness Plus

BHbusiness Plus is funded through a contract with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It offers customized, virtual technical assistance and training to behavioral health executives at no cost to participants. The goal is to help behavioral health providers identify and implement customized change projects that expand their service capacity, harness new payer sources, and thrive in the changing health care environment. The program empowers participating organizations to actually make quantifiable changes, rather than just learning how to do so. It links participants into specific learning networks that focus on a specific topic of interest and provides opportunities for networking and peer support. Everyone in a learning network receives hands-on expertise and guidance to initiate, continue, and complete business operations changes.
 
Participants benefit from the following supports:
 
  • focused technical assistance that meets each organization’s business needs;
  • guidance from a dedicated coach that helps participants develop a customized change project;
  • access to a peer group of like-minded providers that empowers organizations to learn from combined experiences to grow their businesses;
  • consultation from leading subject matter experts in the field; and
  • resources designed to be meaningful to learners, providing practical action steps to meet individual challenges.
 
Related resources and publications:
 

Colorado Office of Behavioral Health Needs Assessment

The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) selected a team led by Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Mental Health Program to conduct a needs analysis and scan of existing and promising behavioral health models. AHP worked with the WICHE team, which included NASMHPD Research Institute (NRI), to complete 17 tasks. AHP assessed:
 
  • Olmstead v. L.C. legal decision considerations in the provision of state psychiatric beds;
  • integration of behavioral health and physical health care;
  • impact of marijuana legalization and prescription drug misuse on CO OBH service needs;
  • impact of state drug sentencing reform on CO OBH service needs; and
  • state approaches to support employment and housing for mental health consumers.
 
The work on tasks included a literature review, environmental scan, key informant interviews, focus groups, and analysis of existing state-level data. A report was prepared for each task and combined into a comprehensive report that included recommendations for Colorado’s OBH. 
 
Related resources and publication:
 

National Center for Trauma-Informed Care and Alternatives to Restraint and Seclusion (NCTIC)

AHP is a subcontractor to SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care and Alternatives to Restraint & Seclusion (NCTIC). A diverse team of staff and consultants, many of them trauma survivors and nationally recognized leaders, provide technical assistance (TA) and participate in developing products and materials under this contract. The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) is the prime contractor for NCTIC.
 
NCTIC supports SAMHSA’s commitment to provide information, technical assistance, and support to increase awareness about the impact of trauma on people with mental health or substance use disorders, as well as people served by public health, education, and corrections systems.
 
A key focus of this work has been to promote alternatives to seclusion, restraint, and other coercive interventions to minimize the likelihood of re-traumatization. The use of trauma-informed approaches has therefore been incorporated into a broad range of service systems, with input from trauma survivors’ perspectives in all aspects of the contract. NCTIC is guided by the fundamental beliefs that people with personal experiences of trauma can and do recover and heal; Trauma-Informed Care is the hallmark of effective programs to promote recovery and healing through support from peers, consumers, survivors, ex-patients, and recovering persons and mentoring by providers; and leadership teams of peers and providers charting the course for the implementation of Trauma-Informed Care are essential.
  
The project has made major strides in addressing SAMHSA’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative goals of creating capacity and systems change in the behavioral health and justice systems; implementing and studying trauma-informed approaches throughout health, behavioral health, and related systems; and reducing the impact of disasters on the behavioral health of individuals, families, and communities.
 
Major accomplishments of the project have included the administration of more than 130 technical assistance events in one year, reaching approximately 10,000 individuals between on-site events, webinars, virtual learning networks (VLNs), and consultation. This project was able to leverage funds with multiple organizations willing to help cover costs for presenting training and technical assistance, which resulted in our ability to present so many events, thereby increasing NCTIC’s visibility and shifting thinking in the field.
 
Specialized TA was provided in Baltimore, MD, to stakeholders from 76 different agencies following major unrest in that city after a teen died while in police custody. In addition, a training curriculum, Trauma-Informed Approach: Key Assumptions and Principles, has been developed to provide a framework for understanding trauma and its impact and prevalence, along with the key principles and implementation areas for trauma-informed approaches; and a General Adult Trauma Screening and Brief Response (GATSBR) toolkit is in development to facilitate screening for trauma in primary care.
 
Related resources and publications:

National Drugged Driving Reporting System (DDRS)

AHP, in collaboration with Carnevale Associates, received both Phase I and II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop and support the National Drugged Driving Reporting System (DDRS). The project was initiated because current enforcement approaches—developed originally to reduce drunk driving—are not adequate for dealing with the problem of drugged driving. In addition, there is not enough data collected about drugged driving at the local, state, or national level to inform policy and programs fully.  
 
The DDRS team worked with an expert panel of nationally recognized researchers to agree upon a National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) on Drugged Driving to meet the government’s need for data and to understand the magnitude of the problem of drugged driving, as well as identify possible public health prevention strategies. Based on this work, AHP designed the Drugged Driving Survey, an anonymous online survey designed to collect data elements outlined in the NMDS.
 
The DDRS team is partnering with up to three states to collect data on drugged driving. Each state recruits participants through their state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DDRS team assists with implementation of data collection strategies. After the field test with the initial three states, data collection will expand into other states. 

Related resources and publications:

Recovery to Practice

AHP has contracted with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on the Recovery to Practice (RTP) workforce initiative to expand and integrate recovery-oriented care delivered by behavioral health providers across systems and service settings by fostering a better understanding of recovery, recovery-oriented practices, and the roles of the various behavioral health professions in promoting recovery.
 
The RTP initiative aims to address applications and recovery-oriented practices within multidisciplinary services and integrated settings. The contract tasks include redeveloping and expanding the RTP website, creating quarterly newsletters and other resources; providing technical assistance and educational events to help promote and support recovery-oriented approaches in integrated and multidisciplinary settings; creating new training modules on interdisciplinary service approaches and homelessness; and developing decision support resources for clinicians.
 
In this project, AHP leads a team that includes the Center for Social Innovation and the Foundation for Mental Hygiene, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Center for Practice Innovation at Columbia University.
 
Key accomplishments of this project include the development and delivery of 12 onsite and 12 virtual technical assistance programs and presentations for diverse audiences of practitioners, administrators, and consumers; the distribution of four magazine style newsletters with practical information on integrating recovery across a variety of topics and practices to a list of more than 6,000 subscribers; the development of a “virtual grand rounds” six-part clinical decision support webinar series that offers real-world training in recovery-oriented practice to clinicians and prescribers; and the creation of two comprehensive training manuals.
 
Related resources and publications:
 

Technical Assistance and Training on Women and Families Impacted by Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders (also known as: Women, Children, and Families)

The WCF project supports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) advancement of state-of-the-art knowledge around substance use and mental health needs of women and families through supporting leaders, workforce development efforts, product development, and expert consultation. The Women, Children, and Families Technical Assistance Project (WCF TA Project) utilizes a multipronged approach to increase the field’s capability for meeting the needs of women, adolescent girls, and families across the nation, which includes working with policy makers, providers, and leaders committed to improving women's services throughout the nation.
 
Key project components include:
 
  • the development of a series of the Girls Matter! and Women Matter! webinars;
  • the Introduction to Women and Substance Use Disorders and Effectively Addressing Adolescent Girls with Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders eLearning curricula;
  • convening expert panels and developing publications including the Guidance Document for Supporting Women in Co-Ed Settings and accompanying Self-Assessment Tool; and
  • creation and implementation of the Women’s Addition Services Leadership Institute (WASLI).
 
AHP also provides expert consultation on gender responsive prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services for adolescent girls, pregnant women, and families with children. Under this project, AHP provides general support for SAMHSA’s WCF and Families agenda, including technical assistance and logistical support, along with some support for the National Association of State Alcohol/Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) Women’s Services Network. 
 
AHP has been providing training and technical assistance through the WCF project since 2008. AHP provides subject matter expertise and consultation to SAMHSA, NASADAD, states and community groups on effective interventions, treatment and recovery support for women and families.

Related resources and publications:
   

Technical Assistance to the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) Office of the Director

Over several contracts, AHP has conducted studies, provided analysis and technical advice, written papers and Reports to Congress, and reviewed CMHS business operations. In addition, AHP writers are the principal speech and blog writers for the CMHS Office of the Director. Speeches and blogs communicate SAMHSA’s vision, mission, and priorities as they relate to the development of a person-centered, recovery-focused, evidence-based, and quality-driven system of behavioral health care. Speeches are prepared for national meetings and conventions, state and community organizations, national and international policymaking groups, and congressional committees. 
 
AHP’s accomplishments in support of the CMHS Office of the Director are both broad and deep. For example, AHP:
 
  • Wrote Reports to Congress on borderline personality disorder and certified community behavioral health clinics;
  • Provided insight into the evolving research and policy surrounding the social determinants of mental health;
  • Helped assess the evidence base for the effectiveness of selected behavioral health treatments;
  • Examined states’ priorities vis-a-vis health reform;
  • Reviewed crisis support programs for people with behavioral health conditions;
  • Examined employment of individuals with behavioral health disorders who have criminal justice involvement;
  • Conducted an examination of patient activation for behavioral health;
  • Developed CMHS program profiles;
  • Helped develop materials related to the prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders;
  • Examined the relationship of maternal health and child behavioral health outcomes; and
  • Analyzed the extent to which the landmark Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C. is working for Americans with disabilities, including those with mental and substance use disorders.
     
Related resources and publications:
 

The Behavioral Health and HIV/AIDS Technical Assistance Center (BH-HIVTAC)

Through onsite and innovative virtual technical assistance (TA), BH-HIVTAC provided high-quality services to foster an understanding of the people it serves and support development of integrated services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for these priority populations and their communities. The goal of this TA and training was to:
 
  • Increase integration of behavioral health prevention and treatment services, including HIV and viral hepatitis, and strengthen linkages to primary health care; and
  • Increase capacity for local behavioral health provider networks to develop and expand their substance use prevention and treatment services, particularly those integrating HIV and viral hepatitis prevention services and linkages to primary health care.
The BH-HIVTAC contract provided 178 site visits, 65 webinars, and engaged 47 subject matter experts (SMEs) for 450 grantees over a four-year period. Site visits took place in 24 states/territories.
 
Among the major accomplishments of this project, AHP implemented three 2-day virtual conferences for grantees: The 2018 CSAT grantee virtual conference had more than 350 attendees, plenary and key note sessions, three tracks (including an evaluation track), and a virtual poster session with presentations by 10 grantees; more than 600 people attended a joint 2016 CSAP/CSAT virtual conference, which had plenary and keynote sessions, three tracks; and a 2015 CSAP grantees conference, which had plenaries, concurrent sessions, and two grantee panels, with a total of 300 attendees.

In addition to highly interactive webinars and intensive onsite training and technical assistance, other activities in this initiative included small virtual learning networks designed to strengthen and support grantee effectiveness, as well as the development of regional grantee networks to promote grantee-to-grantee connections to build local grantee capacity.

AHP was contracted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on this national technical assistance and training center, which provided services to Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) and Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) grantees funded through the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI).

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