Meet a NIATx Coach: Mat Roosa

Submitted by: 06/24/2015 by Maureen Fitzgerald

Mathew R Roosa, ACSW, LCSW-R is Director of Planning and Quality Improvement, Department of Adult and Long Term Care in Onondaga County, New York. Mat got started with NIATx back in 2005 when he was part of a change team at Central New York Services (CNYS) in Syracuse. CNYS was among the first organizations to test the NIATx model as a grantee in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded program, Paths to Recovery: Changing the Process of Care for Substance Abuse

One of the first CNYS NIATx change projects reduced waiting times to the outpatient program from 8 days to 0 days. The same project increased continuation rates for internal referrals in OP from 50% to 100%.

Since then, Mat has led many NIATx change teams. He’s also become a NIATx coach, presenter, and faculty member for the NIATx Change Leader Academy. When asked to name his favorite NIATx promising practice, Mat refers to NIATx principle #1: Understand and involve the customer.

“My favorite NIATx promising practices are those that reflect a variation on the theme of “Meet your clients where they are.” Whether that's walk-in intakes, adjusting schedules to meet client demand, or using Motivational Interviewing principals, everything we do to understand and meet the customer need gets us closer to the triple of aim of better care, outcomes, and cost containment. I like it when organizations use the word “customer” to describe those they serve, as it reminds the team of the customer service imperative: If they are not satisfied we cannot achieve our mission.”  

Mat first recognized the power of meeting clients “where they are” in his direct service work as a therapist and social worker. “It was a critical aspect of getting people engaged in their own process of personal change,” says Mat.

The same concept emerged later when Mat began to work at the management level and with NIATx and systems change. “It became clear to me that the same idea applies,” explains Mat. “You have to understand what an organization believes and feels about itself in order to help it embrace change.”

As a NIATx coach, Mat relies on dialogue as a tool for maintaining the customer focus—and then tailoring his coaching approach to the customer. “Through dialogue, I can help an organization self-identify needed changes—rather than trying to tell that organization what I think it needs to change. Just as with individuals, the goal is to shine some light by asking good questions that help organizations to find the path.”

Have a question for a NIATx coach? Submit your question to Maureen Fitzgerald: and a NIATx coach will answer it a future issue of the NIATx E-news!

  • All Stories