PRA's 2018 Year in Review Scroll down to learn more

Top Accomplishments

Homelessness & Benefit Access

  • The SAMHSA SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance (TA) Center created and launched the SOAR Online Course: Child Curriculum, approved for 20 Continuing Education Units from the National Association of Social Workers.
  • The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center developed and facilitated the first-ever State Team Lead Leadership Academy.
  • In calendar year 2018, staff reviewed 2,714 practice case application packets from the SOAR Online Course (including initial reviews and revise and resubmits) with 1,749 successful completions.
  • In 2018, there were 4,294 approvals on SOAR-assisted initial SSI/SSDI applications. Decisions were received in an average of 100 days with an allowance rate of 65 percent (as compared to the initial allowance rate of 29 percent for all persons aged 18 to 64 who applied for SSI or SSDI in 2017).

Well-Being & Veterans

  • Under SAMHSA’s Program to Achieve Wellness contract, PRA planned and moderated 4 webinars that shared supplemental resources, broadcasted a 3-part web-based training series, and released a 3-part podcast series.
  • PRA’s Well-Being efforts led to the release of eight podcasts covering the following Dimensions of Wellness: Physical, Environmental, Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Financial.
  • Under SAMHSA’s Service Members, Veterans and their Families (SMVF) TA Center, PRA facilitated a SAMHSA/VA Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among SMVF Policy Academy, a workplace suicide prevention conference—Employers Answering the Call: Helping to Prevent Suicide Among SMVF, and the SMVF Crisis Intercept Map for Suicide Prevention Virtual Implementation Academy.
  • SAMHSA's SMVF TA Center developed the toolkit, Resources for Implementing a Public Health Approach to Suicide Prevention Among SMVF.

Criminal Justice

  • SAMHSA's GAINS Center convened a Best Practices Implementation Academy to support national initiatives seeking to reduce incarceration among people with serious mental illness and substance use disorders. The Implementation Academy had over 100 participants.
  • SAMHSA's GAINS Center hosted a day-long virtual symposium on criminal justice and behavioral health for SAMHSA, federal partners, and the field with over 500 participants in attendance.
  • Policy Research authored guidance on competency to stand trial and competency restoration to guide the work of the Federal Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee.
  • Policy Research provided training and technical assistance to over 20 MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge sites and convened a Behavioral Health meeting for over 75 people.

Juvenile Justice

  • After nearly 18 years of serving as a national leader in the field of juvenile justice and behavioral health, the NCMHJJ was rebranded to the National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice, better reflecting the research and actual work of the Center.
  • The NCMHJJ/NCYOJ partnered with the National Association of School Resource Officers to offer Adolescent Mental Health Training to school resource officers and educators nation-wide, training nearly 1,000 individuals on adolescent development, child trauma, adolescent behavioral health, crisis intervention and de-escalation, and effective interventions.
  • The NCYOJ unveiled a Trainer Network for the Mental Health Training for Juvenile Justice, a training developed specifically to help juvenile probation, detention, and correctional staff more effectively and safety engage with young people experiencing a behavioral health condition.

In 2018, PRA conducted over 350 site visits and trainings to 47 states and territories!


  • Policy Research received an expansion of the Safety and Justice—Serious Mental Illness Technical Assistance contract, allowing PRI to assist more jurisdictions in developing strategies to reduce overpopulation in jails.
  • Policy Research received the ARDRAW Year 3 award with additional funding for new professional development opportunities for students. This new award will provide funding for up to 25 additional students to join the 24 students that were funded in Year 1 and 2.
  • Policy Research received an expansion of the SAMHSA's Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Technical Assistance Center contract. This new award allows the SMVF TA Center to work jointly with the Substance Use and Mental Health Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to better advance behavioral health systems serving Veterans.
Fee for Service Travel in 2018


65 Staff Members in 10 States
Staff events in 2018

on the horizon in 2019

Homelessness & Benefit Access

  • Policy Research hopes to rebid and continue SOAR work past the fall of 2019
  • The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center will continue rolling out SOAR for Children, including a SOAR Leadership Academy for Child Providers, a Child Curriculum launch webinar, and additional outreach to external partners.

Well-Being & Veterans

  • PRA’s Well-Being efforts in 2019 will include the introduction of a new Eight Dimensions of Wellness graphic, PRA Well-Being logo, and a Well-Being Resources page on www.prainc.com. Product development efforts will include the release of Take Charge! A Workbook to Enhance Well-Being with the Eight-Dimensions of Wellness, podcasts focused on Social and Occupational wellness, fact sheets for providers on each of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, a wellness wallet card, a compendium of wellness, and well-being instruments.
  • SAMHSA’s SMVF TA Center will expand its SAMHSA/VA Mayor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among SMVF efforts. The SMVF TA Center will plan and facilitate a SAMHSA/VA Governor’s Challenge, inviting seven states to participate in a Policy Academy process. Two conferences will also be convened, one geared toward furthering the work of both the Mayor’s and Governor’s challenge teams and one addressing Opioid Use among SMVF. And finally, the SMVF team will continue to refine its Crisis Intervention Mapping tool and model and provide implementation technical assistance to up to 10 communities.

Criminal Justice

  • SAMHSA's GAINS Center will convene five national topical Learning Collaboratives across 30 communities/jurisdictions.
  • Policy Research will convene a Policy Academy Initiative supported by SAMHSA and the MacArthur Foundation to bring together 6 state and 12 local jurisdictions to address policy and procedural issues related to opioids and other substance misuse.

Juvenile Justice

  • The National Center for Youth Opportunity and Justice will unveil a newly developed website with enhanced search functions and greater accessibility to the most current information to inform juvenile justice policy and practice.
  • The NCYOJ will convene two train-the-trainers for the Mental Health Training for Juvenile Justice, further supporting a nationwide network of professionals available to provide critical training to juvenile probation, detention, and correctional staff.
  • The NCYOJ will conduct analyses to assess the effect of implementing a trauma-informed decision protocol in juvenile probation settings on case planning and youth outcomes.
Created By
Policy Research


Photos by Rocco Farano and Unsplash

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