Expanding Treatment in Central America
Similar to the Treatnet initiative in other parts of the world (see Treatnet:
Improving Treatment Around the Globe), a training-of-trainers effort is underway in Central America.
“It’s like a mini-Treatnet for Central America,” explained H. Westley Clark,
M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). “The
Central American project and the Treatnet project are synergistic.”
Upcoming meetings this summer and fall will link the Central American and Treatnet projects,
added Ivette A. Torres, M.Ed., M.S., Associate Director for Consumer Affairs at CSAT.
that this training assistance is expected to flow in both directions.
Evaluation data from the Central American effort could inform the global one, Ms. Torres explained.
And Treatnet materials adapted for Spanish speakers will help the Central American centers spread
the word about proven approaches to treatment.
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In the Caribbean
The Caribbean Basin and Hispanic Addiction Technology Transfer Center (Caribbean ATTC) in Puerto Rico plays an important role
in the initiative’s work.
Last summer, the Caribbean ATTC handled logistics for a 5-day training session in San Juan, Puerto
Rico, which brought together 40 trainers from more than 10 countries.
The ATTC launched the event by offering a 2-day workshop on adult learning principles, adapted
from the more extensive Training Point professional development curriculum for trainers offered
by the ATTC national office.
The Caribbean ATTC also arranged visits to two treatment centers, a faith-based facility for
men and a facility for women. “The participants had a lot of questions,” said María
del Mar Garcia, M.S.W., M.H.S., Coordinator for Continuing Education at the Caribbean ATTC. “They
wanted to know more about how to treat special populations such as women, adolescents, and people
who are homeless.”
The Caribbean ATTC continued its collaboration by helping with another training, which took place
in March in San José, Costa Rica. Three ATTC faculty members offered presentations on neuropsychopharmacology
and psychopharmacology in substance abuse treatment, organizational leadership and change, and
administrative issues related to running a treatment program.
“In its first phase, the initiative did needs assessments,” explained Ms. Torres. “Then
they developed training modules.” Another in the series of three train-the-trainer events
took place in Guatemala.
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The Caribbean ATTC and its host institution, the Universidad Central del Caribe, are also helping
with another of the initiative’s projects: the development of minimum certification requirements
for treatment providers in Central America. The hope is to “professionalize” the substance
abuse field in the region, explained Ms. del Mar Garcia.
To achieve that goal, the Caribbean ATTC and the Universidad Central del Caribe are helping to
develop a structure for the certification process. The first step was to create a consortium of
Central American universities that will support the effort. At the training in Costa Rica, the
Universidad Central del Caribe, six other universities, and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) centers in seven countries signed
a collaboration agreement.
Now the Caribbean ATTC and the Universidad Central del Caribe will support the network by promoting
collaboration as each country develops a certification mechanism and each university strengthens
By helping to ensure better-trained treatment providers throughout Central America, the Caribbean
ATTC is expanding its influence beyond the nation’s borders. “Our collaboration with
UNODC is a very good example of how the ATTC network in the United States affects not only the
United States, but the entire world,” said Project Coordinator Evelyn Feliberty, M.A., of
the Caribbean ATTC. Visit this ATTC's Web site at http://cbattc.uccaribe.edu.
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