Science and Service Award Winners
Organizations across the Nation are delivering needed services and interventions to at-risk populations and those with substance abuse and mental health issues.
SAMHSA is taking steps to honor the efforts of these programs as a part of its mission to build resilience and facilitate recovery. The Agency’s new Science and Service Awards program recently recognized 20 public and private sector organizations and community-based coalitions that have improved their communities by providing evidence-based interventions.
During this first year of the Science and Service awards program, applications poured in from around the country. In the end, SAMHSA received 115 applications, and the 20 inaugural awardees were selected based on independent reviews of all submissions as well as site visits.
Four awardees were chosen in each of five categories: substance abuse prevention, treatment of substance abuse and recovery support services, mental health promotion, treatment of mental illness and recovery support services, and co-occurring disorders.
To be eligible for an award, each organization needed to demonstrate successful use of a recognized evidence-based intervention, including interventions published in the scientific literature or those that appear on a Federal or state registry.
“The success that these organizations demonstrate and the positive impact they have on individuals and families is visible proof of the importance and direct benefit of using the latest strategies to prevent and treat mental illnesses and substance abuse in our communities,” said SAMHSA Administrator Terry L. Cline, Ph.D.
Each Program Has a Story
Five organizations were recognized at SAMHSA’s National Advisory Council meeting in September, with the remaining winners scheduled to appear at other Agency events.
With representatives from each of the five organizations present to talk about their community success stories, Kevin Hennessy, Ph.D., SAMHSA’s Science to Service Coordinator, said the awards were important.
“The goal is to reduce lag time between translating the research on these interventions into actual practice,” Dr. Hennessy said, noting that this process of transition can last 15 to 20 years. (See SAMHSA News, September/October 2006.) “Our recognition of these awardees gives them an opportunity to share interventions with their peers and excite other professionals in the field to create change.”
At the awards ceremony, representatives from each of the five organizations talked about how their programs have helped people at the local level.
Virginia Hoft, Executive Director of Sante Fe Adolescent Services (winner in the category of substance abuse prevention) said her agency has helped youth by using evidence-based interventions.
“A lot of times, what we saw with our kids is that they got what was left over,” Ms. Hoft said. Since the organization’s program uses interventions based in schools, homes, and communities to strengthen families and increase resiliency in at-risk youth, she added that community partnerships have been critical to the organization’s success. “We treat our participants like they’re family, and we treat our community partners like they’re customers.”
For more information on the awards program and winners, visit the Science and Service Awards page on SAMHSA’s Web site at www.samhsa.gov/scienceandservice.