Initially launched as the Prairielands Addiction Technology Transfer Center (PATTC), in 1998, our Center transitioned in 2012 to become the National American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) ATTC. Our proposed goals (abbreviated) include: 1) Assess/build BH care and primary healthcare workforce capacity e.g., use of technology, continuous quality improvement, etc., to enhance service access; 2) accelerating diffusion of culturally-informed/trauma-informed EBPs; 3) strengthening Tribal data collection systems; and 4) increasing collaboration through systems change. Our overarching implementation strategy will use a systems change approach to improve organizations and systems of care, enhance access, engagement, implementation, and outcomes based in a continuous quality improvement framework. This shift and associated learning curve will require patience and cultural understanding but will be facilitated by our longstanding trusting relationship with our many tribal partners, leaders, tribal members and communities.
Our staff has traveled to all 12 IHS regions and met with providers, provider associations and Indian Health Service staff, listening to needs and issues in tribal and urban Indian behavioral health treatment programs. The trusting relationships we have built over the past 5 years and the collective work we have done to expand the effectiveness of the Native and non-Native workforce serving Native populations will provide the foundation for us to shift our focus from a primarily training model to developing, improving, and diffusing the quality of services and interventions provided across the prevention, treatment, maintenance (recovery) continuum. We will utilize more intensive TA models focused more on organizations, localities and systems, create more self-paced online courses and distance learning strategies, promote learning communities that include public health, and create tools for continuous quality improvement.
Our Center has had an active Advisory Council (AC) for 5 years, all of whom are members from various tribal communities or members of AI/AN dissent, from across the country. They are tribal leaders, representatives from tribal provider organizations, AI/AN researchers, urban and tribal BH programs and organizations, tribal judge, BH leaders, spiritual leaders, members of the consumer community, and Ex-Officio members from IHS, and Bureau of Indian Education. We also secured three new advisory council members: 1) from Portland Area Health Board, 2) Native LGBT/Two Spirit community, and 3) an Ex-Officio member, SAMHSA RA from Region 6. These well-established and trusted relationships will make it possible to take our proposed accelerated actions to support the ATTC Network, AI/AN Tribes, tribal organizations, urban Indian programs, state and local governments, and other organizations to develop and strengthen the specialized behavioral healthcare and primary healthcare workforce that provides substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery support services to tribal communities. The University of Miami (UM) Miller School of Medicine Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Comprehensive Drug Research Center (CDRC) will serve as an independent evaluator.