Professor to present at national mental health conference

Submitted by: 11/01/2005

David Gustafson, director of the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx), will present on connections between addiction and mental health at the 21st Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy on Nov. 3 in Atlanta.

Gustafson, a professor of industrial engineering at UW-Madison, oversees NIATx, a national learning collaborative committed to improving addiction treatment. NIATx, launched in 2003, helps member treatment organizations apply evidence-based process improvement to increase timeliness to treatment, reduce appointment no-shows, increase admissions to treatment, and increase treatment continuation.

The network serves 39 addiction treatment agencies distributed across 25 states. On average, members report a 51 percent reduction in wait times, a 41 percent reduction in no-shows, a 56 percent increase in admissions, and a 39 percent increase in treatment continuation.

The 2005 Carter Symposium will focus on the Institute of Medicine's new report, "Crossing the Quality Chasm: Adaptation to Mental Health and Addictive Disorders." Among its recommendations, the report states that health care needs to better recognize the connections between the mind, the brain and the body.

Gustafson says the Institute of Medicine report represents a positive trend in behavioral health care. "I think it's tremendous that the IOM report is encouraging a closer working relationship between mental health and addictions. Though there are certainly differences between mental health and addiction treatment, there is significant overlap that we need to recognize," he says.

NIATx is a national learning collaborative supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Paths to Recovery national program office, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Strengthening Access and Retention (STAR) program, and independent treatment organizations. It is part of UW-Madison's Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis

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