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Research Project

Integrated Evidence-based Behavioral Health Care Social Work Training Program

Principal Investigator
Leathers, Sonya J.
Research Area(s)
Research & Sponsored Projects
Gómez, Walter
Funding Source
Health Resources and Services Administration


The primary aim of this project is to increase the number of social work behavioral health workers providing integrated evidence-based behavioral health services to children, adolescents, and transitional age youth in the Chicago metropolitan area. The need to increase evidence-based prevention and treatment services to this population is critical. This project will build on established success in providing effective social work training in evidence-based interventions for elementary school age children to train 96 masters of social work students over three years to provide integrated services to children, adolescents and young adults ages 5 to 25. An active learning training model with demonstrated effectiveness in preparing evidence-based mental health practitioners will be used as the basis for the training program. A key aspect of the project is promotion of more effective behavioral health delivery models with the potential to dramatically increase access to services. This will be accomplished through collaboration with field sites with a commitment to developing innovative behavioral health training sites. In particular, the recent initiative to integrate mental health services into primary care settings provides a unique opportunity to create new inter-professional models for comprehensive health care. Organizational strengths that support this work include the proposed program’s location within one of the health colleges in the area’s largest urban medical training center; a history of strong partnerships with inter-professional mental health clinics; and an established track record of working collaboratively with field training sites to push the boundaries of practice as usual to provide more effective services.