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SAMHSA News - May/June 2007, Volume 15, Number 3

flags of seven Central American countries

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.

She noted 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 its curriculum.

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  End of Article

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Inside This Issue
Expanding HIV Assistance:
Outreach, Testing for
At-Risk Individuals
Part 1
Part 2
Resources on HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS Consumer Guide

From the Administrator: On Capitol Hill

Grants: Manual Clarifies Application Process

Children's Mental Health

Virginia Tech Tragedy: Coping with Trauma

Psychological First Aid

Veterans, Families: New Resources

Around the World Treatnet: Improving Treatment Around the Globe

Expanding Treatment in Central America

Treating Alcohol Dependence: Advisory

Recovery Month: Toolkit, PSAs Help Planning Efforts

PRISM Awards in Spotlight

Depression: Reports Offer Statistics

Mental Health Report Available

TAP 21A: Competencies for Clinical Supervisors

HBCU Conference Highlights Workforce

Homelessness Web Site Launched

STD Rates: Alcohol, Drug Use Linked

Staff in the News:
Dr. Kenneth S. Thompson


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SAMHSA News - May/June 2007, Volume 15, Number 3