Recap: South Southwest Technology Transfer Center Regional Advisory Board Meeting
AUSTIN, TX — In April, behavioral health experts from the five states and tribal communities that make up U.S. Health and Human Services South Southwest region (Region 6), including Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and multiple tribes, gathered for the South Southwest Technology Transfer Center Regional Advisory Board meeting. The South Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) joined the South Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) in hosting the meeting. The directors of the South Southwest Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) also attended. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funds all three TTCs to develop and strengthen the healthcare workforce that provides substance use and mental health prevention, treatment and recovery support services.
During the two-day meeting, held April 2–3, attendees worked to identify the behavioral health needs in the region and the ways that the TTCs could support state agencies, providers, and other stakeholders. The goal of the TTCs is to enhance the capacity of the behavioral health workforce to deliver effective, evidence-based promotion, prevention, treatment and recovery supports.
The meeting was also the first convening of the South Southwest MHTTC regional advisory board since SAMHSA expanded the TTC model beyond its traditional focus on substance use recovery. The TTC directors kicked off the meeting by providing an overview of each of the TTC’s areas of focus as well as the institutes in which they are housed, with the PTTC directors leading a discussion on the intersection between prevention and treatment in behavioral health.
Key presenters at the meeting included:
- John Kelly, PhD ABPP, the Elizabeth R. Spallin Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Field of Addiction Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Director of Recovery Research Institute and Associate Director at the Center for Addiction Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Tom Hill, MSW, Vice President of Practice Improvement at the National Council for Behavioral Health, presented the latest research on recovery from substance use challenges.
- Commander Karen Hearod, MSW, LCSW, U.S. Public Health Service, SAMHSA Regional Administrator (Region 6) provided updates on the ways in which SAMHSA is shaping the behavioral health field throughout the region.
In addition to these keynotes, representatives from the single state agencies and tribal communities gave updates on behavioral health activities occurring in their states and tribes, providing attendees an overview of the landscape of behavioral health services in the region. The TTC directors, staff, and peers also facilitated workshop sessions focusing on children’s mental health, Native American health services, peers in the workforce, and cultural elements of behavioral health.
The meeting concluded with a discussion on the ways in which the newly expanded TTC model offered opportunities for the TTCs to provide a collaborative response to training and technical assistance requests in each state and tribal community.
Meeting attendees included individuals with lived experience and representatives from the region’s single state authorities, provider associations, Indian Health Boards, advocacy organizations, and members of tribal communities. Attendees were excited by the joint TTC board meeting, encouraged that it presented opportunities for ongoing collaboration, and were eager to work on the ideas generated during the meeting to improve the behavioral health of their communities.