The devastating impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s behavioral health underscores the need for well-prepared, culturally responsive providers to support individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) and mental illness. Yet there are existing and expected shortages in the behavioral health workforce. These shortages, combined with a lack of well-supported and evidence-based training programs, leave many people—particularly those living in rural and underserved areas—without the high-quality, life-saving services they need to be healthy.
To address this challenge, the Behavioral Health Excellence Technical Assistance Center (BHE-TAC), led by the University of Wisconsin with support from EDC, provides training and technical assistance (TA) to over 350 academic institutions and clinical centers that prepare future behavioral health professionals and paraprofessionals. A major BHE-TAC partner, EDC is providing expertise on the use of effective teaching and learning techniques, evaluation, and innovative approaches for using technology and digital health interventions to deliver substance misuse prevention, treatment, and recovery services and to offer culturally responsive and trauma-informed care.
EDC is carrying out the following activities:
- Conduct ongoing assessment of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) behavioral health workforce’s teaching and learning needs, particularly those in medically underserved areas
- Design and implement ongoing monitoring and evaluation of TA Center processes and outcomes, as well as rapid cycle reporting to inform continuous quality improvement (CQI) of TA activities and products
- Develop and disseminate guidance documents to support grantees’ selection of best practices for substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery, including recommendations for didactic models, curricula, and approaches to train staff on these
- Improve behavioral health teaching by providing training and TA to HRSA’s behavioral health workforce development programs
- Develop communities of practice that test and disseminate best practices and resources that promote the widespread enhancement of training in SUD prevention, treatment, and recovery services
- Develop a compendium of the most current research and tools of treatment, prevention, and recovery practices for OUD/SUD to inform HRSA’s behavior health workforce
University of Wisconsin and University of Missouri, Kansas City