The Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center is engaged in several projects designed to improve data collection, estimate workforce size and composition, and assess practice activities for all workers involved in prevention and/or treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. Center projects address three focus areas.

Current Research Projects

A Descriptive Analysis of Peer Provider Practice Settings, Scopes of Practice, and Reimbursement

A peer provider is defined by SAMHSA as “a person who uses his or her lived experience of recovery from mental illness and/or addiction, plus skills learned in formal training to deliver services in behavioral health settings to promote mind-body recovery and resiliency.” They are a growing subset of the workforce that…

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Behavioral Health Provider Shortages and Reimbursement Parity

Lack of access to mental health professionals is growing problem for those relying on Medicaid and/or Medicare for health needs.  Behavioral health care is now considered the country’s most costly health condition, with an estimated annual cost…

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Behavioral Health Services Capacity of Primary Care Physicians

This project seeks to understand which behavioral health services primary care physicians currently provide for their clients and how often they do so.

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Behavioral Health Workforce Minimum Data Set for Mental Health Counselors

Mental health counselors are the third largest segment of the behavioral health workforce and represent a profession that is projected to grow by 23% through 2026.14 Enumeration estimates place these counselors at between 134,000 and 166,000, depending on the source.

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Financing Behavioral Health Integration and Collaborative Care Models

Novel approaches to providing access to behavioral health care, like collaborative care and integrated behavioral health primary and social care models, have shown short and long-term positive patient and family outcomes in frontier, rural, and urban communities. These approaches are complex and rely upon coordination…

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The Behavioral Health Workforce in Rural America: Developing a National Recruitment Strategy

Nationally, rural American communities have some of the largest need for behavioral health care providers and yet the lowest availability.

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Understanding Telemedicine’s Role in Providing Medication-assisted Treatment to Treat Opioid Use Disorders: Barriers, Facilitators, and Areas of Need

Opioid-related overdose deaths continue to climb, reaching 42,249 in 2016,37 reflecting the growing population with OUDs in need of treatment. Clinically MATs reduce the risk of OUD death by up to 50%. Yet access to MAT remains severely inadequate…

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Workforce Capacity and the Opioid Crisis: Focus on Shortage and Maldistribution

The goal of this study is to develop a quantitative workforce capacity score to better characterize shortage, maldistribution, and needed workforce resources to combat the growing opioid crisis in the United States.

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