RWJ offering investigator-initiated research to build a culture of health

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced a call for proposals for Evidence for Action: Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health, a program supporting "investigator-initiated research to develop the evidence base needed to build a national Culture of Health - in which everyone has the opportunity to live their healthiest life possible." Between five and 12 grants will be awarded each year, totaling approximately $2.2 million. (Letters of intent are being accepted on a rolling basis)

F.D.A. approval of OxyContin use for children continues to draw scrutiny

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Ever since the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the narcotic painkiller OxyContin for certain children in August, it has faced unabated criticism from lawmakers and public officials who are wrestling with devastating rates of prescription opioid abuse in their communities. Last week, Hillary Rodham Clinton brought the issue to the presidential race, calling the agency’s action “absolutely incomprehensible.”

The crux of the issue is whether the agency’s approval will lead to more prescriptions for OxyContin in young patients. For years, the powerful long-acting drug has been prescribed off-label to very sick children in severe pain from cancer or spinal-fusion surgery. (Doctors can prescribe an approved drug to anyone and for any use they see fit regardless of specifications on the label.) The agency’s approval means those doctors will finally have “information about how to do it appropriately,” like dosage recommendations, said Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the agency’s acting commissioner, in an interview.


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sayitforwardWhen it comes to mental health conditions, silence is not golden. Silence breeds stigma, and stigma hurts. It prevents people from seeking life-saving treatment and support. The International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) is encouraging all of us to join forces with them to educate and inspire people to learn the facts, and talk about mental illness to eliminate the barrier of stigma.

TAKE ACTION October 12th-18th
Help Say It Forward to eliminate the barrier by choosing messages from the IBPF website to share this week via your choice of social media, email, or all three! Reach out to as many individuals as possible and encourage everyone to learn the truth about mental illness this week of October 12th through 18th!

  • #SayItForward #EliminateTheBarrier.

Teen foster care program reduces drug use in early adulthood

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Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care has demonstrated advantages over group residential placement for teen girls who are mandated to out-of-home care by the juvenile justice system. New findings from a follow-up to a trial supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate that those benefits extend to a reduction in illegal drug use in young adulthood.

ED & HHS release policy statement on inclusion in early childhood programs

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The “Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs,” released jointly by the Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) on September 14, 2015, states that all young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, where they are provided with individualized and appropriate support in meeting high expectations.

Children with disabilities and their families continue to face significant barriers to accessing inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, and too many preschool children with disabilities are only offered the option of receiving special education services in settings separate from their peers without disabilities.

The ED/HHS policy statement:

  • Sets an expectation for high-quality inclusion in early childhood programs;
  • Highlights the legal and research base for inclusion;
  • Identifies challenges to adopting inclusive practices;
  • Provides recommendations to states and local programs and providers for increasing inclusive early learning opportunities for all children; and
  • Links to free resources for states, local programs and providers, and families that have been developed to support inclusion of children with disabilities in high-quality early education programs.

The policy statement was written with the input of early learning professionals, families, and other early learning stakeholders. Though it focuses on including young children with disabilities, it is ED’s and HHS’s shared vision that all people be meaningfully included in all facets of society throughout the course of their lives. This begins in early childhood programs and continues into schools, places of employment, and the broader community.


NIH launches landmark study on substance use and adolescent brain development

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NIH awarded 13 grants to research institutions around the country as part of a landmark study about the effects of adolescent substance use on the developing brain. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study will follow approximately 10,000 children beginning at age nine to 10, before they initiate drug use, through the period of highest risk for substance use and other mental health disorders. Scientists will track exposure to substances (including nicotine, alcohol, and marijuana), academic achievement, cognitive skills, mental health, and brain structure and function using advanced research methods.

SAMHSA provides up to $649 million for programs addressing children’s mental health and substance use

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SAMHSA Press Release - Friday, October 2, 2015

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will be awarding up to $649 million in funding over several years for programs providing crucial prevention and treatment services addressing the behavioral health needs of children, adolescents, young adults, and their families. These programs address a wide range of behavioral health issues affecting young people and families including, suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, HIV-AIDS prevention, and serious emotional disturbance.

The programs address behavioral health needs stemming from a wide variety of circumstances including trauma and inadequate access to proper health care or other support systems.

One of the programs, Project AWARE, was developed as part of the Obama Administration’s “Now is the Time” initiative to expand and improve behavioral health services to children and youth – including youth who may be experiencing serious mental illness. SAMHSA’s youth mental and substance use disorder prevention programs work to ensure that children and youth in need of behavioral health services receive help as early as possible.

“These SAMHSA grant programs are essential investments in the behavioral health of our young people and our future,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto. “We must do everything we can through prevention and treatment efforts to ensure that our children are free from mental and substance use disorders, and given every opportunity to live happy, productive lives.”

The grant programs included in this SAMHSA effort are:

The actual award amounts may vary, depending on the availability of funds.

For more information on SAMHSA grants, visit

For general information about SAMHSA visit:

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.

Federal agencies join forces to help young children thrive

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SAMHSA Press Release - Wednesday, October 7, 2015 -

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and Administration for Children and Families (ACF) announced today that they have joined together to establish a new National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (Center of Excellence).

The Education Development Center, Inc., in Waltham, Massachusetts will receive $6 million over the course of the next four years to manage the Center of Excellence.

The Center of Excellence advances infant and early childhood mental health intervention that promotes the social, emotional, and behavioral health and development of young children.  It has been shown to improve young children’s social skills, reduce challenging behaviors, enrich adult-child relationships, improve classroom quality, and reduce teacher stress and turnover.

“This collaborative effort reflects the critical role early childhood providers, parents, and caretakers play in facilitating a young child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development,” said SAMHSA acting administrator Kana Enomoto.  “The Center of Excellence will help provide the effective tools and resources to child care centers, Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and other home visiting programs to ensure the healthy development of children during their formative years.”

The Center of Excellence will support the Obama administration’s goal of expanding access to high-quality early care, education and home visiting for all young children through:

  • Developing state of the art tools, training and technical assistance to help states and Tribal nations build strong and sustainable behavioral health support systems for children.
  • Ensuring that more child care centers, preschools, and home visiting programs have access to consultants who can help them meet the needs of young children, particularly those struggling with developmental and behavioral challenges.
  • Advancing research, training and policies that improve outcomes for young children, including reducing in suspensions and expulsions from early childhood programs.

The Center of Excellence also aligns with the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Report to the President, which recommends that all children should have a healthy start and enter school ready to learn – cognitively, socially, and emotionally.  The Center of Excellence will help to ensure that teachers, staff, caregivers, and communities have the resources to address the social, emotional, behavioral, and physical needs of children.

“The new Center of Excellence is a vital and cost-effective investment in the next generation and in many future generations to come,” said Linda K. Smith, deputy assistant secretary for early childhood development at ACF.

The Center of Excellence will provide child care centers, preschools, and home visiting programs with unprecedented access to expertise needed to enhance their capacity to support the well-being of young families and children.

“Safe, secure, and positive relationships are essential for the future well-being of infants and young children.  We are thrilled about this opportunity to strengthen the relationships among caregivers and young children through education, workforce development, and research,” said Michael Lu, MD, associate administrator for maternal and child health at HRSA.

For more information about SAMHSA and its programs go to:

For more information about ACF and its programs go to:

For more information about HRSA and its programs go to:

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.

Eliot Brenner joins the CMHNetwork Advisory Council

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Please join us in welcoming Eliot Brenner to the Children's Mental Health Network Advisory Council.

eliotEliot Brenner is a nonprofit executive with 15+ years’ experience leading program operations and change management in child welfare, mental health, healthcare, and philanthropy. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice.  

Most recently, Dr. Brenner was Type 1 Diabetes Program Director at the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which is the largest private foundation funder of type 1 diabetes research, treatments, and support programs. At the Trust, he led staff and strategy for a portfolio of 200+ grants totaling more than $200 million.

Prior to joining the Trust, Dr. Brenner was Deputy Executive Director at Casey Family Services, the direct service agency of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. At Casey Family Services, he directed all program operations and training, and led a staff of 290 that served more than 4,000 children annually.  Dr. Brenner also worked in the public sector, where he was Chief Consulting Psychologist for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He has published peer-reviewed articles in children’s services and mental health.  

Dr. Brenner currently serves on the Praesidium National Advisory Council for the development and implementation of national child safety and abuse prevention polices and practices for 2,600 YMCAs that have 20,000 staff and serve 9 million children annually.

Dr. Brenner holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Yale University.

The Prevention Institute is hiring!

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PIlogoThe Prevention Institute is searching for strong candidates for several exciting positions. They are particularly looking for individuals who can play key roles in violence prevention and/or mental health work, including promoting mental well-being for men and boys of color. Like all of the Institute's work, the focus will also be on promoting health equity.

About the Prevention Institute
The Prevention Institute, a dynamic organization, moves beyond approaches that target individuals, one person at a time, to create systematic, comprehensive strategies that change the conditions that impact community health. Determined to improve health and safety for everyone, PI builds prevention and equity into key policies and actions to transform the places where people live, work, play, and learn. PI’s work is characterized by an interdisciplinary approach and a strong commitment to community participation and promotion of equitable health outcomes among all social and economic groups.

Since its founding in 1997, PI has forged a strong track record in developing tools, building momentum for primary prevention, and in moving policy- and decision-makers toward an ever greater focus on community well-being and prevention. Our topical work includes advancing community prevention through health reform; promoting health equity; fostering healthy environments, such as those that support healthy eating and active living; and preventing injury -- including violence -- and trauma. The ideal candidate will be able to remain flexible and work across topical and functional teams and operational responsibilities as needed.

Read the job announcement below...

We are looking for staff members to join our team who are committed to improving health and safety and reducing inequities through a focus on prevention. We are particularly looking for individuals who can play key roles in our violence prevention and/or mental health work, including promoting mental well-being for men and boys of color. Like all of our work, the focus will also be on promoting health equity. This position will include responsibility for project implementation; advancing practice and policy; and taking on shared responsibilities within the organization.

Key Domains of Responsibility include:

  • Project management/leadership: Support development and implementation of projects. Coordinate projects, such as funded initiatives, the development of grants and papers, contracts, etc. to ensure successful and timely completion. Assist in development of materials and with preparation for events, conferences, consultations, and presentations, including logistical support.
  • Training, Presentations, and Consultation: Co-develop training tools and curricula and conduct trainings and presentations. Support the provision of consultation and technical assistance on effective prevention to various audiences, including organizations and communities. Support the provision of evidence/practice-based advice to key decision makers.
  • Research: Support research and/or writing on papers, articles, project reports and grants. Review the literature or other resources, conduct interviews, and synthesize key findings to inform prevention initiatives and tools. Support all aspects of research including key informant interviews, focus groups and surveys. Apply research findings to improve prevention initiatives.
  • Organizational Development: Share responsibility for operational and detail work required for project and organization success. Implement office/administrative systems.
  • Supervision: Provide supervision to Program Assistant(s), Coordinator(s), Manager(s) and/or graduate interns as assigned. Supervise work of designated project team members toward effective fulfillment of project goals and deliverables.
  • Partnership and Resource Development: Work with senior leaders to conceptualize grant elements and prepare successful grant proposals that strategically meet the goals of the organization and advance the field.
  • Other: Pitch in on other projects and assignments as needed


  • A minimum of 5-8 year’s relevant experience and a master’s degree in a relevant field or comensurate experience; the title and position, i.e. program manager or director, in the organization will be determined by the candidate’s experience
  • Ability to coordinate multiple projects, ensuring high quality, timely deliverables that meet funding requirements and advance Prevention Institute goals and visibility
  • Analytical and problem-solving capabilities
  • Ability to synthesize information and approaches
  • Ability to conduct literature reviews and interviews
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Effective oral communication skills, including for training and consultation and in meetings
  • Well-organized, attention to detail, and able to meet deadlines
  • Flexibility and ability to work on multiple tasks with appropriate guidance and supervision
  • Collaborative and team-oriented
    • Desire to learn and grow; consistently seeking new opportunities and integrating feedback to improve work quality
    • Commitment to prevention and health equity as well as PI mission, vision, and values
    • Interest in and commitment to work on injury/violence prevention and health equity
    • Expertise on men’s mental health and well-being and/or violence prevention highly desired

Salary and Benefits: Excellent benefits package & retirement plan. The appropriate salary level is determined by a review of relevant experience and set according to a principle of transparency and equity.

This position is based in our Oakland office.

TO APPLY: Please send a cover letter, resume, and brief writing sample or email to Incomplete applications will not be considered.

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