Centerstone Research Institute Builds Collaborations to Close the Science to Service Gap in Behavioral Healthcare

Organization unveils initiatives conceived at its first annual Knowledge Network Summit

Bloomington, Ind. and Nashville, Tenn.—Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) today unveiled four new initiatives to more quickly move behavioral health research findings into clinical settings. The initiatives were conceived by leaders in community behavioral health and mental health research as part of the inaugural Knowledge Network Summit, “Using Collaboration to Close the Science to Service Gap in Behavioral Healthcare,” which was held September 23-24 in Nashville, Tenn.

“Today, it can take up to 17 years for cutting-edge mental health research to become part of standard clinical practice,” said Dr. Dennis Morrison, CEO of CRI. “This science to service gap is 17 years that people simply do not have access to the best possible treatments. With the Knowledge Network Summit, we aimed to convene key stakeholders in behavioral health to begin to create an achievable plan to close this vital gap.”

The Knowledge Network Summit welcomed more than 50 award-winning community mental health center leaders, leading mental health researchers and national representatives from National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (NCCBH) and MHCA. Participants gathered to discuss four aspects of a plan to better integrate science and service in behavioral healthcare: Research, Technology, Implementation and Policy. They examined the current challenges that existed in each of these arenas and collaborated to provide potential solutions.

In Research, Summit participants recognized a notable communication and knowledge gap between those who conduct research and those who provide care. To combat this, they developed a plan to expand the number of academic and community mental health center research collaborations, and develop an online clearinghouse where researchers and behavioral health providers can submit collaborative research protocol ideas and report their results. Initial participants in this initiative are being identified, and the clearinghouse is expected to launch in early 2010.

In Technology, Summit participants noted that there was good infrastructure that allowed providers to collaborate on research projects and mine data across multiple sites nationwide. They established a plan to create a data warehouse that could be used to collect de-identified data and track the progress of implementing research-based practices in mental health centers. This project will launch with a targeted effort aimed at collecting anonymous data from participating organizations on how many individuals with schizophrenia who have screened at-risk for suicide have been prescribed clozapine. Initial participants in this initiative are being identified and a data warehousing structure is being established, with a goal toward beginning to collect data in early spring 2010.

In Implementation, attendees recognized that mental health organizations need to share best practices in order to improve the adoption of research-based interventions. To this end, they created a plan to track and share successes and failures of a specific implementation project involving increasing the prescription of clozapine for individuals with schizophrenia who screen positive for suicide risk. The clozapine implementation project will serve as a model to be used in the future to assist in quickly implementing important research-based treatments directly into a community mental health center’s practice. Initial participants in this initiative are being identified and a plan to secure funding for the project and analyze potential barriers to implementation is underway.

In Policy, Summit participants discussed three key challenges: low awareness among public officials of the clinical efficacy of behavioral health treatments; behavioral healthcare’s consistent omission from broad healthcare policy; and the lack of funding available in health information technology for behavioral health providers. They proposed advocating Congress and conducting congressional briefings in support of mental health and health IT. Participants are collaborating with NCCBH and other national behavioral health advocates on concerted policy efforts and are developing plans to host a Congressional briefing on the necessity of health IT to provide high-quality mental healthcare in 2010.

To learn more about the Knowledge Network Summit, view photos and read an Executive Summary online, visit http://centerstoneresearch.org/resources/knowledge-network/.

About Centerstone Research Institute

Centerstone Research Institute (CRI) is a unique not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving mental healthcare through research, information technology and clinical informatics. CRI conducts service and clinical studies and partners with leading research institutions to advance knowledge of mental health and addiction disorders and discover innovative treatments. The organization maintains an Institutional Review Board and manages the Knowledge Network, a technology-based, partner-driven alliance to facilitate the translation of research to practice. CRI also offers Behavioral Pathway Systems, a best practices benchmarking service. CRI is a recipient of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare’s Innovation Award. For more information about CRI, please visit www.centerstoneresearch.org.