PRA Work

Last week PRA staff traveled to Alexandria, VA for the 2012 Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Policy Academy meeting.  The meeting was an impressive event especially given the small window of time that was allotted for planning and preparation. In the end, all of those involved – PRA staff, presenters, subject matter experts, and… Read More

As part of ongoing cultural competence activities, PRA sponsors a film series where staff and their invited guests can participate in viewing selected films followed by a group discussion.  The most recent film selected by PRA’s Cultural Competence Committee was Ears, Open.  Eyeballs, Click, which presented “an unfiltered, fly-on-the-wall glimpse into the chaos and pain… Read More

It depends.   It depends on whether one asks this question as a criminal justice professional or as a behavioral health professional.  In this instance I am talking specifically about programs to divert persons with mental illnesses who usually have co-occurring substance use disorders. In the criminal justice (CJ) world, diversion is commonly used as a… Read More

There were a lot of factors that influenced my decision to become a social worker. It was in part my hope to affect real change in the lives of the people who had been forgotten.  I am grateful that my work with the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center gives me hope, gives our communities hope and… Read More


In a recent edition of the Albany Times-Union, a professor from Skidmore College wrote an op ed piece on the biased coverage of the 2012 Olympics by NBC.   He called it jingoism. The point being that the vast majority of all the events covered in prime time were events in which American athletes won medals—usually… Read More

dis•par•i•ty noun, plural -ties. lack of similarity or equality; inequality; difference: a disparity in age; disparity in rank What are the disparities that exist in the behavioral health system? Disparities in the behavioral health system exist when unjust inequities in access to and quality of treatment exist.  For example, Native Americans disproportionately experience PTSD and… Read More

Negative media portrayals of veterans seem to be more common. Recent news headlines such as, “Police get help with vets who are ticking bombs” (USA Today, 1/26/12) and Dr. Phil’s recent show “From Heroes to Monsters” promote negative stereotypes of men and women who serve and are offensive and hurtful. As one veteran blogged on… Read More

All of us are affected by the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) whether we realize it or not.  At a recent family wedding, ACA was the topic of discussion at our table.  At our table of 10 cousins, we learned that we are all touched by this law in uniquely different ways.  When… Read More

As a result of the 2012 SAMHSA’s GAINS Center Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) solicitation, the GAINS Center conducted a unique cross-systems mapping at the Tribal community of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB)[1] in Northern Michigan. The SIM workshop brings together key stakeholders from local criminal justice and behavioral health systems in… Read More

Treatment courts – also called “problem solving courts” – have been around for a decades. The purpose of these courts is to use the power of the criminal court to get at the heart of recurring problems, rather than simply cycle people over and over through the courts and jails. Most everyone has heard of… Read More

On June 27-28, 2012 the kick-off meeting for Improving Diversion Policies and Programs for Justice-Involved Youth with Co-Occurring Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders was held in Bethesda, Maryland. More than 100 were in attendance for this event, including teams representing the eight states participating in this initiative: Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York,… Read More