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Friday Update 3-2-18

Greetings faithful readers. Goodness gracious, first NREPP gets whomped on the side of the head by SAMHSA, and then, just last week, the Now is the Time evaluation gets squashed like a bug three-quarters of the way through its study of effective approaches to working with transition-age youth. Clearly, we have got to start this edition of Friday Update with the Violet Transmissions cover of the Thomas Dolby hit; She Blinded Me With Science. Watch the video, support women in science, remind yourself of the importance of quality science, get ready to remind others of the importance of quality science, and then get to readin' Friday Update, cuz we got work to do!

Most important reads for this week  

Poof! SAMHSA Cancels National Evaluation for Grant Programs Implemented After the Sandy Hook Massacre
On March 1st, the national evaluation for the Project Aware and Healthy Transitions grant programs, which were created in response to the horrors of Sandy Hook, was shut down before critical information about effective strategies for meeting the needs of young adults at high risk for mental illness could be gleaned. Why? Especially after the recent tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, why would SAMHSA want to end an evaluation focused on identifying strategies for meeting the needs of young adults 16 – 25 who are at high risk for mental illness? It just makes no sense.

NREPP Two-Part Homework Assignment (Yep, ya gotta read both of these.) 

Has the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) lost its way?
Dennis Gorman writes: "At the time NREPP was introduced, there was concern that practitioners were using ineffective programs. NREPP requires that programs be evaluated using an experimental or quasi-experimental design and that the evaluation demonstrate an effect on at least one behavioral health-related outcome. It also requires that the results of the evaluation be published in a peer-reviewed journal, other professional publication or comprehensive evaluation report. The purpose of applying these criteria is, presumably, to weed out interventions for which there is no evidence of efficacy or very weak evidence. A look at the current list of NREPP programs suggests that such weeding out is not happening."

Read the Gorman article and then read Dennis Embry's response.

Harsh Critics of NREPP Who Fudge Their Homework
Dennis Embry writes: "Implicit in Dr. Gorman’s critique is the notion of reliability and validity, which represent measures of “truthiness”—a clever term coined by Colbert. Higher quality research typically reports on measures of reliability and validity, not just statistical significance. A statistical difference could easily .01 or .001 but be meaningless in practice. For example, I’m pretty sure that most Americans know that texting and driving are potentially harmful with high levels of statistical significance, but that doesn’t stop people from driving and texting (social validity).

Dr. Gorman’s critiques always demand transparency and good science of others’ research. Based on his own criteria, his current paper does not rise to the level of good science by his own standards, which is ironic given his calls for greater transparency in prevention research. His paper does not report the coding structure or provide a link to the coding structures used, nor does his report provide any reference of inter-observer agreement on his ratings of poor science. In other words, no independent party could easily replicate his findings using his methods. Inter-observer agreement is foundational to good science.

Keep asking questions, Network faithful!

SAMHSA Assistant Secretary Stakeholder Call
Speaking of asking questions, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Elinore McCance-Katz, is hosting a conference call to discuss any issues, comments, and concerns related to substance use and mental disorders. Given the sudden demise of the NREPP contract, and now the NITT evaluation contract, this opportunity to pose questions to the Assistant Secretary to help clarify the direction SAMHSA is taking about evidence-based practice, could not be more timely.

Outspoken and Precocious, Florida Students Struggle With Loss When the Cameras Turn Off
Even as they raise millions of dollars and plan nationwide rallies to stop gun violence, students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School struggle with nightmares. 

School Walkout: An Adult Ally Guide
Youth ERA has developed an Adult Ally Guide that identifies steps adults can take to empower students to boost their authentic message and not push an adult agenda. Youth ERA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting youth ages 14-25 who have experienced trauma. Their mobile crisis response team consists of highly trained youth peer support specialist staff who specialize in providing support to youth when they need it most. Youth ERA has supported over 14 schools who have experienced a school shooting, terrorist attack, or the loss of a student to suicide.

Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America
Support the 8-point plan to prevent gun violence from 19 national experts, endorsed by over 50 national organizations representing over 5 million professionals. 

Food for Thought: A Youth Perspective on Recovery-Oriented Practice
The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) Youth Council has created a video and discussion guide to help service providers understand the needs of youth when it comes to recovery-oriented practice.

Gathering of Native Americans Builds Resiliency Among Native Youth in the Bay Area
This post describes how the Native American Health Center has been delivering SAMHSA's Gathering of Native Americans (GONA) curriculum to urban native youth.

Understanding the Impact of Suicide in Rural America
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services released this policy brief and recommendations on suicide in rural America. It includes a discussion of the impact of suicide in rural areas along with prevention strategies at the state and federal levels.

Lot's of New Funding Opportunities from SAMHSA
Check 'em out and get to writin'!

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scottScott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

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