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.

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

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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:

Recovery to Practice

From 2014 to 2018, under a contract with SAMHSA, AHP led the Recovery to Practice (RTP) workforce initiative to expand and integrate recovery-oriented care delivered by behavioral health providers across systems and service settings. The purpose of the RTP project was to help SAMHSA promote and support person-centered, recovery-oriented principles and practices as integral to multidisciplinary treatment and services for people diagnosed with serious mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders.  

 

Primarily a workforce development project, RTP helped improve and supplement the skills and competence of practitioners across disciplines—including physicians and other medical personnel, therapists and social workers, and peer specialists and those who provide support services. Through RTP, SAMHSA built a comprehensive suite of online educational resources for understanding, providing, and improving recovery-oriented services. 

 

RTP addressed applications and recovery-oriented practices within multidisciplinary services and integrated settings. As part of the contract, the RTP team

 
  • Redeveloped and expanded SAMHSA’s RTP website
  • Created quarterly newsletters and other resources
  • Provided technical assistance and educational events to help promote and support recovery-oriented approaches in integrated and multidisciplinary settings
  • Created new training modules on interdisciplinary service approaches and homelessness
  • Developed decision support resources for clinicians 

AHP hosted a series of 48 multifaceted, multidisciplinary, far-reaching education programs consisting of continuing education unit (CEU)–approved webinars and a resource-rich companion newsletter on a variety of recovery-oriented topics, including homelessness and housing instability, engagement, recovery-oriented approaches to medication, and recovery-oriented cognitive therapy (CT-R). Participants gave these webinars an overall effectiveness rating of 98 percent. 

 

In addition to webinars, AHP created two SAMHSA-approved multi-module virtual learning courses: Integrated Practice in Primary and Behavioral Health, and Information for Peer Specialists Working with People Experiencing Homelessness.  

 

AHP also completed a robust set of CEU-carrying clinical decision support materials for physicians and other practitioners. The virtual courses blended evidence-based medicine with a recovery orientation and focused on recovery-oriented prescribing practices, co-occurring disorders, and clozapine. Mindful of the needs of this professional audience, AHP developed six podcasts that focused on complex clinical considerations around psychotropic medication, including recovery-oriented approaches to prescribing, choosing the right medication at the right time, prescribing multiple medications, treating pregnant women, the intersection of serious mental illness and chronic pain, and prescribing long-acting injectable medications. 


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.
     
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