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 an opioid use disorder (OUD) gain wider access to community services. ATR is making a difference: Overall, participants have seen a fourfold increase in employment 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 choose the recovery support services they think will help them most. Options include care coordination, basic critical needs support (e.g., 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 sustained 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, more importantly, saves lives. During one grant year alone, $4 million went back into the local economy by paying providers for the services offered to participants and by paying participants a work-study benefit when they attended job-training programs.
 
The key to ATR’s success is its focus on employment through job-readiness training, job search assistance, and occupational training. 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 percent 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 was funded through SAMHSA. Utilizing a coached learning network model that lasted 3 to 6 months per network, AHP conducted more than 50 learning networks, each involving hundreds of participants, around the following topics:

  • Value-based Purchasing
  • Bundled Payments
  • Data-Driven Decision Making
  • New Business Planning
  • Costing Out Your Services
  • Setting up a Third-Party Billing System
  • Improving Your Third-Party Billing System
  • Third-Party Contract Negotiations
  • Eligibility and Enrollment
  • Strategic Business Decision Making
  • Planning for the Next Generation of HIT
  • Exploring Affiliations, Mergers, and Acquisitions

The goal was to help behavioral health providers identify and implement customized change projects that expanded their service capacity, harnessed new payer sources, and ultimately made them able to thrive in the changing health care environment. The program empowered participating organizations to actually make quantifiable changes, rather than just learn how to do so. It linked participants into specific learning networks that focused on a specific topic of interest and provided opportunities for networking and peer support.

Everyone within individual learning networks received hands-on expertise and guidance to initiate, continue, and complete business operations changes.

Currently, BHBusiness offers virtual technical assistance through self-paced online courses, coupled with a robust library of web resources on these same topics, at no cost to participants.

 



 
 

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

AHP was a subcontractor to SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma-Informed Care and Alternatives to Restraint and Seclusion (NCTIC) for 8 years. A diverse team of staff and consultants, many of them trauma survivors and nationally recognized leaders, provided technical assistance (TA) and participated in developing products and materials under this contract. The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) was the prime contractor for NCTIC.

NCTIC supported 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 the work was to promote alternatives to seclusion, restraint, and other coercive interventions to minimize the likelihood of re-traumatization. The use of trauma-informed approaches was incorporated into a broad range of service systems, with input from trauma survivors’ perspectives in all aspects of the contract.

NCTIC was 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.


As one of the earliest national organizations to recognize the importance of trauma, NCTIC is proud of its contributions to establishing trauma-informed care as a powerful social movement involving agencies, communities, and states across the country. Its work with federal partners and trauma survivors fueled a deeper understanding of how best to meet the needs of individuals who have experienced trauma.

Work included:

  • A blog series titled From Trauma-Aware to Trauma-Informed: Implementing SAMHSA’s Six Principles
  • Three virtual learning networks
  • Three webinar series
  • Training curricula on trauma-informed care for all service settings, and trauma-informed services for people living with HIV (PLHIV)
  • Trauma-informed peer support service briefs, fact sheets, guides, issue briefs, etc.
Select products developed included:

  • Reducing Seclusion and Restraint by Creating Trauma-Informed Service Systems: An Issue Brief for Policymakers on Trauma-Informed Practices
  • Best Practices in the Use of Restraints with Pregnant Women Under Correctional Custody
  • Essential Components of Trauma-Informed Judicial Practice
  • Promoting Prevention through Trauma-Informed Practices: Seclusion and Restraint Efforts since 1998
  • Engaging Women in Trauma-Informed Peer Support: A Guidebook
  • Minority AIDS Initiative special products such as:
  1. Trauma-Informed Approaches to HIV Testing
  2. Trauma-Informed Approaches to Care Transitions
  3. Trauma-Informed Approaches to Supporting Older Adults LHIV
  4. Trauma-Informed Approaches at the Intersection of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and PLHIV
  5. Trauma-Informed Approaches for Working with Transgender or Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) PLHIV
  6. Trauma-Informed Approaches to Substance Use and PLHIV

 


National Drugged Driving Reporting System (DDRS): Using Date to Develop a Public Health Approach to Prevent Drugged Driving

AHP, in collaboration with Carnevale Associates, received Small Business Innovation Research contracts from NIDA to develop and support the DDRS. The project was initiated because current enforcement approaches—originally developed 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 fully inform policy and programs. 
 
The DDRS team worked with an expert panel of nationally recognized researchers to agree on a National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) on Drugged Driving to meet the federal government’s need for data, understand the magnitude of the problem of drugged driving, and identify possible prevention strategies to benefit public health. Based on this work, AHP designed the Drugged Driving Survey, an anonymous online survey designed to collect data elements outlined in the NMDS.
 
Using the survey, AHP partners with states for data collection activities. Each state recruits participants through its department of motor vehicles. AHP assists states and localities with data collection and publicizing the online survey and provides technical assistance and support to develop a sampling approach and recruitment strategy. Moving forward, states can use this data to help define the scope of the problem and provide critical information that will allow them to target resources for prevention and enforcement. 

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

The WCF project supported SAMHSA’s 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 project utilized a multipronged approach to increase the field’s capability for meeting the needs of women, adolescent girls, and families across the nation, which included working with policy makers, providers, and leaders committed to improving women’s services throughout the nation.

AHP also provided expert consultation on gender-responsive prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services for adolescent girls, pregnant women, and families with children.

AHP provided training and technical assistance through the WCF project from 2008 to 2018. AHP provided subject matter expertise and consultation to SAMHSA, NASADAD, states and community groups on effective interventions, treatment and recovery support for women and families. 

 
Key project components included: 

  • National conferences
  • Webinars, trainings, and online courses
  • Research; internal and external reports
  • Expert panels
  • Support for the National Association of State Alcohol/Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD)/Women’s Services Network 

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)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) contracted with AHP to manage this national technical assistance (TA) and training center, which provided services to CSAP and CSAT grantees funded through the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI).
 
Through onsite and innovative virtual TA, BH-HIVTAC provided high-quality services, fostered an understanding of the people the program served, and supported development of integrated services that were culturally and linguistically appropriate for these priority populations and their communities. The goal of this TA and training was to 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.
 
BH-HIVTAC reached more than 1,500 participants through its virtual conferences for grantees. The highly interactive sessions focused on topics ranging from using social media to recruiting youth and young adults at risk of HIV into substance use prevention and treatment services and integrating peer recovery services into workforce development in behavioral health programs.
 
In addition, BH-HIVTAC held collaborative webinars and intensive onsite training and TA. It hosted small virtual learning networks designed to strengthen and support grantee effectiveness and facilitated development of regional grantee networks to promote grantee-to-grantee connections to build local grantee capacity.
 

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