Innovation Award Recipients
In more recent years, the Annapolis Coalition recognizes outstanding and innovative products and programs that are furthering the development of the behavioral health workforce. Using Selection Criteria adapted from those used by the Harvard Kennedy School in selecting the Innovation in Government Award recipients.
Pennsylvania Psychiatric Leadership Council
The Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce presented an Innovation Award to the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Leadership Council (PPLC) and its parent company, the Philadelphia Mental Health Care Corporation (PMHCC) in January 2023. The PPLC was recognized for its innovative efforts to support community mental health in Pennsylvania by creating an infrastructure to increase the number of psychiatrists and to educate and support other behavioral health practitioners with a dedication to the public behavioral health system. The organization’s efforts have had a direct impact on the size and quality of the workforce.
Created in 2005, the PPLC is a voluntary collective of psychiatrists, consumers, families, advocates, administrators, payers, and providers. Its goals are to increase the number of well-trained psychiatrists providing public psychiatric care in Pennsylvania and to advance the quality of those services, ultimately improving the mental health of the people of the Commonwealth.
In its nearly 20 years of operations, the PPLC has introduced and maintained a number of programs and initiatives to supports its goals, including:
- Leveraging Medicaid funds and other resources for academically based Centers of Excellence (COEs) in Public Psychiatry in Pennsylvania for a one-year community psychiatry fellowship program. Since the establishment of the COEs, 80 psychiatrists have graduated from the public psychiatry Fellowship, with 75% remaining to work in Pennsylvania. The Psychiatric Fellowship program has expanded to include other disciplines such as Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners.
- Developing a guide and educational webinar designed to help recruit and retain psychiatrists who are interested in community-oriented, public-sector practice. (link to old Annapolis e-news article).
- Partnering with community-based organizations to ensure spirituality and religion are part of their training (Spiritual First AID); and a Visible Hands Collaborative that introduces Integrative Community Therapy and the power of the community to heal.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PPLC has also worked to improve mental health support for providers, while also addressing the need for diversity, equity and inclusion in the behavioral healthcare workforce in Pennsylvania.
- In 2020, PPLC launched weekly provider support groups that offered ongoing support for practitioners, many of whom were serving the highest risk populations in Pennsylvania's nursing homes, prisons, large urban areas, immigration and other public health sites during the pandemic. Weekly meetings were open not only to providers but also to their non-clinical staff. In addition to supporting these behavioral healthcare teams, the group published an early article, "Coming Out of Covid - Creating a Better New Normal," (Pennsylvania Psychologist, June 2021).
- In September 2022, PPLC conducted a statewide conference on the BH challenges and lessons learned during the pandemic based on an analysis of how politics impacted science, health policy and the public response during Covid. The conference drafted a "better policy model" for discussion and guidance in the future.
- Also in 2020, as national attention turned toward racial injustices, the organization convened a Racial Justice Committee in an attempt to evoke meaningful change in the behavioral healthcare workforce. The Committee’s work led to a PPLC commitment to an ambitious goal: working with the Psychiatric Residency programs in Pennsylvania to increase recruitment and retention of Black Psychiatrists and to assure that training would enable all psychiatrists to effectively serve Black and other marginalized populations and their families. This effort has launched a Learning Collaborative comprised of the leadership of the 13 Psychiatric Residency programs in Pennsylvania, facilitated by PPLC and the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society, with the goals of recruiting and retaining Black Psychiatrists and the development of curricula for training all psychiatrists to more effectively serve Black individuals seeking psychiatric services in Pennsylvania. The PPLC is now closely monitoring the results of these efforts.
The PPLC is a national exemplar of how passionate and committed professionals and leaders within a state can collaborate to systematically grow, support, and strengthen the behavioral health workforce. The Coalition honors them for their innovative efforts.
Further information on this awardee and its highly replicable programs can be obtained from Ken Thompson, M.D. ([email protected]), PPLC Director of Medical Affairs; or Mr. Lloyd Wertz, ([email protected]), Administrator, PPLC.
The Annapolis Coalition congratulates the PPLC for its dedication, spirit and success in supporting the behavioral healthcare workforce in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
MHALA Jump Start Fellowship
The Annapolis Coalition has recognized the Jump Start Fellowship, a program of Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHALA) as a Workforce Innovation. Jump Start is a 12-week, full-time fellowship program for individuals who are interested in working in the adult community mental health field. The program combines recovery-focused classroom instruction with applied internships to prepare participants for employment. The Jump Start Fellowship is made possible through the support of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, utilizing funding from the Mental Health Services Act Workforce Education and Training dollars.
To evaluate the program, the Coalition assembled a team of eight workforce experts with extensive behavioral health workforce experience to independently conduct reviews of program documentation using a standard scoring system to rate Jump Start on criteria used in previous national innovation searches: significance, effectiveness, novelty, and transferability. Simultaneously, The Coalition created and launched two surveys to assess satisfaction among program alumni and providers who subsequently employed these alumni. MHALA used its social networks and communication systems to reach out to alumni and providers. A summary of the expert ratings and the surveys was compiled for review by the expert panel. The results of this comprehensive review of the data collected about the Jump Start Fellowship confirmed that there was a strong consensus among experts, workplace partners, and alumni that the program is a beneficial and valuable resource—and one that clearly qualifies as a Workforce Innovation.
In late 2018, the Coalition awarded its Innovation Award to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) Community Care Behavioral Health Organization and the UPMC Insurance Services Division in recognition of the outstanding work of its Staff Assessment and Retention (STAR) Program. While providing services to the Medicaid population across Pennsylvania, this non-profit behavioral managed care organization designed a statewide electronic survey of its more than 500 network providers to assess each agency’s current retention and turnover rates – and plans. After providing informational webinars, the survey asked what strategies agencies used to improve retention and what factors were identified by the agencies that negatively impacted retention. Among a broad list of high staff retention factors were staff recognition, supervision time and access to training. Factors with the highest negative impact on retention were low benefits, low pay and excessive paperwork. Community Care is continuing STAR to monitor and improve retention of employees in the provider agencies and system of care. The organization intends to reward agencies with better retention with higher rates of reimbursement as part of Value Based Contracting. The full study or further information can be obtained from Deborah Wasilchak at [email protected] .
Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) was also recognized with the Annapolis Coalition’s Innovation Award for its outstanding work in addressing the behavioral health workforce needs in Nebraska. BHECN is a state-funded, university-based that addresses mental health and addiction workforce issues through Nebraska. The Board noted the innovative leadership BHECN has provided in many areas, including: creating behavioral health regional education and training sites; developing innovative strategies to deliver behavioral telehealth and integrated care training; establishing leadership in inter-professional behavioral health training, curriculum development and outcomes research; and providing funding for behavioral health trainees across disciplines. Particularly noteworthy is the organization’s effort in collecting, analyzing, and disseminating behavioral health workforce data, including monitoring workforce trends and identifying priorities for future workforce development. The multiple reports and dashboard maps created by BHECN and available on its website attest to the work it has done to identify shortage areas and then target resources to train, recruit and retain behavioral health providers to meet the needs of the citizens of Nebraska.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health and its Bureau of Substance Addiction Services
This award was presented 2018 in recognition of its outstanding work in developing and maintaining the Careers of Substance website. This website is a central resource for anyone involved in preventing, intervening in, treating, and supporting recovery from addictions in Massachusetts. The Annapolis Board noted the following characteristics of the Careers of Substance initiative: the overall quality of the design; the functionality of the site; its breadth of content; its practical utility for diverse audiences; and the ongoing commitment to maintain the site and continually refine it. It clearly can serve as a model for other states and communities.