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PRA's 2020 Year in Review SCROLL TO LEARN MORE

Big News in 2020

  • Refined our company's values and guiding principles to intentionally and comprehensively address our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); highlight our business goals; and underscore our company culture.
  • Enhanced our focus on DEI through continued staff member training and refinement of our DEI action plan that maps out the ways in which PRA can be a more inclusive and equitable workplace for employees.
  • Awarded the SAMHSA-funded Homeless and Housing Resource Center (HHRC) grant. HHRC will provide high-quality, no-cost training for health and housing professionals in evidence-based practices that contribute to housing stability and recovery and an end to homelessness.
  • Launched the Competence to Stand Trial microsite, a one-stop-shop for competence to stand trial/competence restoration resources, research, and tools.
  • Received silver-level recognition in the American Heart Association's 2020 Workplace Health Achievement Index.
  • Named a 2020 Capital Region Healthy Employer by the Albany Business Review.
  • Released Take Charge! A Workbook to Enhance Well-Being with the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, a workbook designed to offer individuals a self-paced, guided exploration of each of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness. Take Charge! is a hard-copy workbook developed in collaboration with national experts and is available for purchase on the PRA website.
  • Transitioned to a remote workplace in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and kept all staff members retained and supported so that we could continue creating positive social change virtually.

Top Accomplishments

Criminal Justice

  • In fall 2020, PRA released the Competence to Stand Trial Microsite, a one-stop-shop for competence to stand trial (CST)/competence restoration (CR) resources. This microsite offers tools, publications, and an assessment of PRA’s work providing technical assistance to diversion services programs in Washington State after the Trueblood class-action lawsuit settlement.
  • SAMHSA’s GAINS Center’s Communities of Practice offered technical assistance (TA) to 20 state and local teams across 4 critical topics (CST/CR, medication-assisted treatment implementation, reentry, and equity and inclusion).
  • The GAINS Center email list grew 62 percent in 2020, from 14,206 members at the beginning of September 2019 to 23,063 members at the end of September 2020.
  • In 2020, Policy Research wrapped up a 3-year project through the Bureau of Justice Assistance's VALOR Program. This project resulted in the development of a national Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) curriculum and the implementation of CIT programs within 4 jurisdictions (Alamogordo Police Department, NM; Honolulu Police Department, HI; Huntsville Police Department, AL; and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, LA).
  • In 2020, Policy Research completed 14 Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) Mapping Workshops, 2 SIM Summits, and 2 SIM facilitator trainings, reaching over 795 people.
  • The GAINS Center hosted 27 national webinars with a combined attendance of over 18,000 people.
  • Policy Research, Inc., in its capacity as a technical assistance provider to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, hosted a series of five virtual town halls and seven national webinars for Network Sites. These town halls focused on strengthening behavioral health strategies to reduce the misuse and overuse of jails. The webinars highlighted peer support, trauma, reentry, employment, telehealth, and DEI.

Homelessness

  • In August 2020, Policy Research, Inc. established the SAMHSA Homeless and Housing Resource Center, which focuses on providing high-quality, no-cost training for health and housing professionals in evidence-based practices that contribute to housing stability and recovery and an end to homelessness.
  • PRA staff members served as U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Regional Team Points of Contact for Continuums of Care in WA and IL. This technical assistance helps communities administer shelter and housing programs for individuals experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Through this HUD technical assistance mechanism, PRA staff contributed to products providing information about maximizing income supports and serving individuals involved in the justice system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Income Supports

  • In Fiscal Year 2020, the SAMHSA SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) TA Center conducted 20 major virtual TA events with a total of 4,609 participants. The team facilitated 14 SOARing Over Lunch calls, designed especially for individuals completing applications, with 2,790 participants.
  • The SOAR Online Course: Adult Curriculum celebrated 6 years with 10,930 successful course completions, and the SOAR Online Course: Child Curriculum celebrated 2 years with 313 successful course completions.
  • In 2020, there were 4,265 approvals on SOAR-assisted initial SSI/SSDI applications. Decisions were received in an average of 115 days with an allowance rate of 65 percent (as compared to the initial allowance rate of 30.8 percent for all persons aged 18 to 64 who applied for SSI or SSDI in 2019).
  • Analyzing Relationships Between Disability, Rehabilitation, and Work (ARDRAW) graduate students had the opportunity to apply for a small grant research stipend through two application cycles, which resulted in the largest cohort of students funded by the ARDRAW Small Grant Program since its inception.

Juvenile Justice

Service Members, Veterans, and their Families

  • The Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) TA Center engaged 20 new states in the VA/SAMHSA's Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among SMVF (Governor's Challenge). The SMVF TA Center worked with VA and SAMHSA to identify and facilitate the teams' focus on three priority areas for their suicide prevention action plans—screening and assessment, promoting connectedness, and enhancing lethal means safety.
  • In support of the Governor's Challenge, the SMVF TA Center hosted three Policy Academy meetings (one in-person and two virtual), which involved plenary sessions, concurrent workshops, state team work sessions, exhibitor meet and greets, and networking sessions. In addition, the SMVF TA Center hosted a virtual conference, “Evaluation: Keeping Your Efforts on Track,” with 200 participants.
  • Six communities in four states piloted a new Virtual Community Expansion TA model, which focuses on integrating and supporting local efforts through the statewide suicide prevention plans.
  • Additional TA offerings from the SMVF TA Center were focused on the Crisis Intercept Mapping (CIM) model. The CIM model helps communities identify gaps in local crisis care systems and work collaboratively to improve suicide prevention and crisis care services. The SMVF team engaged 10 communities in CIM events in 2020.

Well-Being

  • In September 2020, Dr. Crystal L. Brandow, on behalf of PRA Well-Being, introduced Take Charge! to the field, along with Dr. Margaret Swarbrick, at the 2020 New York Association Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services' Annual Conference.
  • As part of a collaboration with WELCOA, PRA Well-Being released four podcasts on the topic of mentally healthy workplaces. The podcasts have been streamed over 350 times.
  • Dr. Crystal L. Brandow, on behalf of PRA Well-Being, co-authored the paper "Nudges to Support Health and Wellness for Individuals Served by Behavioral Health Programs" with colleagues Patricia B. Nemec, Psy.D., CRC, CPRP; Margaret Swarbrick, Ph.D., FAOTA; and Amy Spagnolo, Ph.D., CPRP. This paper was published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services.
  • PRA Well-Being released an infographic on mindfulness practices, incorporating strategies from Rachelle Pean, LCSW, co-founder of Root3d. Root3d collaborator Gordon Hakim Collier, LMSW, was also interviewed for a wellness-related blog post on Black mental health for PRA.
In 2020, our work went virtual! Through virtual events, Policy Academies, Leadership Academies, and trainings, we reached 46 states and the District of Columbia.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to restructure our events from in-person to virtual formats, we are still able to create positive social change!

A Selection of 2020 Contracts

  • Policy Research was awarded SAMHSA's Homeless and Housing Resource Center grant to develop up-to-date, comprehensive toolkits, webinars, and self-paced online trainings.
  • In partnership with the University of Cincinnati, Policy Research was awarded the Bureau of Justice Assistance's Academic Training Initiative to Inform Police Responses: A National Curriculum to Enhance Police Engagement with People with Behavioral Health Issues and Developmental Disabilities. Policy Research will develop an academic-based, transdisciplinary crisis intervention team (CIT) and other crisis response trainings to educate, train, and prepare law enforcement officers with this award.
  • Policy Research was awarded an extension of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge contract and will continue to provide technical assistance to jurisdictions about how to reduce the over-incarceration of persons with behavioral health conditions across the United States, as well as expand that learning to other jurisdictions.

Publications & Products

Criminal Justice

Homelessness

Income Supports

Juvenile Justice

Service Members, Veterans, and their Families

Systems Mapping

Well-Being

On the Horizon

Criminal Justice

  • During the next phase of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Safety and Justice Challenge (SJC) initiative, Policy Research, Inc., will be initiating a peer-to-peer learning model, the IMPACT Network. The IMPACT Network will engage both current SJC sites as well as communities not currently receiving SJC funding to maximize what SJC sites have learned about how to reduce the over-incarceration of persons with behavioral health conditions. In addition, it will expand the membership of the SJC Network and spread best and promising practices to other jurisdictions across the United States.
  • SAMHSA’s GAINS Center will be hosting Communities of Practice on the following topics: Engaging Clients for Successful Reentry; Competence to Stand Trial/Competence Restoration; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Reentry; and Building a Competent Crisis Care System at Intercepts 0-1.
  • SAMHSA’s GAINS Center will host virtual learning communities on three topics: teleservices, medication-assisted treatment implementation, and early diversion.

Homelessness

  • The SAMHSA Homeless and Housing Resource Center will be launching two online courses in the summer of 2021 focused on treatment and housing models.
  • The SAMHSA Homeless and Housing Resource Center will be hosting webinars and developing toolkits designed to expand on and support the lessons from the online courses.

Income Supports

  • With the guidance and expertise of the SAMHSA SOAR Expert Panel, the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center will modify tools, create additional resources, and encourage additional data tracking to ensure racial equity in SOAR implementation strategies.
  • As physical distancing continues with the COVID-19 pandemic, the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center will continue to provide strategies for SOAR providers to conduct their work remotely and with an expanded utilization of telehealth.
  • The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center will continue to expand its virtual technical assistance activities for supporting trainees with first-application cohorts, Online Course review sessions, outcome tracking orientations, and SOARing Over Lunch calls.
  • ARDRAW program staff are working on efforts to ensure racial equity in the review and award of small grant research stipends. Staff will work to increase and improve outreach and awareness of ARDRAW funding opportunities to reach a more diverse set of researchers for ARDRAW and include additional Black, Indigenous, and people of color in ARDRAW award decision-making positions.

Juvenile Justice

  • In 2021, NCYOJ will expand its virtual Train-the-Trainer models to certify trainers in the Crisis Intervention Teams for Youth and Mental Health Training for Juvenile Justice curricula.
  • As part of its School Responder Model work, NCYOJ will be releasing a new podcast series to support schools implementing the school responder model, an alternative to traditional school discipline.

Service Members, Veterans, and their Families

  • Eight new states will be engaged in the Governor’s Challenge to create statewide strategic plans for suicide prevention for SMVF.
  • Twenty state teams will be engaged in an Implementation Academy process to develop implementation plans for strategies under each of the three priority areas.
  • Ten new communities will be engaged in the Crisis Intercept Mapping through virtual and onsite TA.
  • The SMVF TA Center will host bimonthly Crisis Intercept Map team leader convenings to develop a community of practice with topical presentations and active participant dialogue.
  • Staff members have submitted an abstract to present at the American Association of Suicidology.

Well-Being

  • In January 2021, PRA Well-Being will engage in its first fee-for-service activity by providing virtual training to the Saratoga Community Health Center on the Eight Dimensions of Wellness.
  • In 2021, PRA Well-Being will continue to collaborate with WELCOA to produce high-quality content related to workplace wellness for the field.
Our 71 staff members live in 13 different states!