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.

Completed Research Projects

Distribution of Psychiatric-Subspecialities in the Behavioral Health Workforce

A shortage and maldistribution of psychiatrists is of critical concern within the behavioral health workforce.

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Mapping the Psychiatric Workforce Using the MDS

The demand for behavioral health care and substance use disorder services has increased, and the factors prompting this higher demand directly impact psychiatric workforce capacity.

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National Study of Behavioral Health Service Delivery in Vulnerable and Underserved Populations

Rural areas disproportionately experience mental health professional shortages.

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Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Provision of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: A Survey of Knowledge, Engagement, and Perceptions

This project will explore if the passing of CARA has encouraged more NPs and PAs to apply for a buprenorphine waiver as well as perceived barriers to applying for the buprenorphine waiver and prescribing MAT.

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School-based Health Centers as a Behavioral Health Service Setting

The proposed study seeks to expand on the information collected from the 2015-2016 National Census of School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) by identifying the range of school based behavioral health services.

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Understanding the Roles of Peer Providers, Addiction Counselors, and Community Health Workers in Behavioral Health

Various behavioral health providers often have overlapping scopes of practice that easily go overlooked, as they are generally not educated together, nor do they practice in cooperative settings.

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Utilizing the MDS for Human Resources Planning

The Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center (BHWRC) developed a workforce MDS for the broad field of behavioral health in 2015-2016.

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Where is Behavioral Health Integration Occurring Using NPI Data to Map National Trends

Integrated care, wherein physical and behavioral health needs are treated collaboratively, has resulted in improved patient-level outcomes and has increased screening and treatment of behavioral health disorders within primary care settings by reducing barriers like stigma, access, and accessibility.

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A Descriptive Analysis of State Credentials for Mental Health Counselors/Professional Counselors

Over 144,000 Mental Health Counselors (MHCs) are active across the United States, and an estimated 19% growth is expected in the field over the next 10 years.

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Behavioral Health Workforce Changes and the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has extended health insurance coverage to nearly seventeen million people, the majority of which has come through the expansion of Medicaid for low-income individuals.

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Characterization of Marriage and Family Therapists Using the MDS

This project seeks to collect data on variables to better characterize the Marriage and Family Therapist workforce such as demographic composition, practice characteristics, job functions, and settings where services are being delivered.

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Characterization of Social Workers Using the MDS

This project will focus on developing a methodology and recommendations for implementing a national data collection system.

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Development of an Organizational-level MDS for the Behavioral Health Workforce

The Center’s other MDS projects focus on individual-level behavioral health workforce data collection; however, this project seeks to create an additional instrument targeted to the organization-level that would assess workforce issues by provider organization.

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Impact of Telehealth on SOPs

Telehealth use among behavioral health providers has increased substantially in recent years.

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Recruitment and Retention of a Diverse Health Service Psychology Workforce

Studies show that behavioral health providers who share a racial or cultural identity with their patients exhibit higher treatment effectiveness and retention rates that providers who do not.

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SOP Issues Related to Medication-Assisted Treatment

The current opioid epidemic has spurred questions about the capacity of the workforce available to provide treatment to individuals with opioid addiction.

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The Behavioral Health Workforce in Correctional Facilities

The past three decades have seen dramatic increases of incarcerated individuals in the United States, specifically those being penalized for drug-related offenses.

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Toward a Better Understanding of Social Workers on Integrated Care Delivery Teams

Social workers are recognized as having a key role in the successful implementation of team-based models of care.

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Use of Telehealth to Strengthen Workforce Capacity

Approximately one in five adult Americans experience a behavioral health disorder each year; however, limited reach of behavioral health services remains a pervasive problem in the United States, especially among rural and underserved populations.

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Analysis of Behavioral Health SOPs

Scopes of practice delineate the specific services and functions a health provider is permitted to perform.

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Assessment of Competencies in Behavioral Health Professions

As the behavioral health workforce continues to expand, increased amounts of resources are being invested in the development of professional competency statements.

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Assessment of Service Delivery in Vulnerable and Underserved Populations

Accessibility and quality of behavioral health services is woefully inadequate in many communities.

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Case Studies of Team-Based Care Models

There is strong existing evidence to support the development of team-based care (i.e., “integrated care”) for behavioral health and primary care, although adoption is not yet widespread.

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Comprehensive Analysis of Social Worker SOPs

Scopes of Practice (SOPs) help guide professions by establishing guidelines for how a profession is to be practiced.

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Development of an MDS for the Behavioral Health Workforce

The purpose of this project is to develop a uniform set of measures for the behavioral health workforce that will standardize data collection procedures and improve data quality across occupations and practice settings.

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Moving Toward a More Diverse Behavioral Health Workforce

Like other health professions in the U.S., the troubling lack of racial and ethnic diversity is one of the key issues of concern for the behavioral health workforce.

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SOPs and Professional Responsibilities of Paraprofessional Workers

Recent policy changes expanding access to mental health and addiction services for millions of Americans are increasing demand for behavioral health services and reshaping the behavioral health workforce.

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Understanding the Billing Restrictions that Limit SOPs

The payment, reimbursement, and billing issues around behavioral health are substantial.

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