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Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Technical Assistance (SMVF TA) Center Implementation Academy

The Implementation Academy brings together states and territories to target a specific plan priority, engage experts in implementation, and facilitate peer sharing.

Since 2008, SAMHSA has held Policy Academies to help states and territories strengthen behavioral health service systems supporting service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF). To date, 46 states, 4 territories, and the District of Columbia have participated in the Policy Academy process with the goal of developing state/territory-wide strategic plans designed to address these issues.

To support Policy Academy graduates in the implementation of their plan’s priorities, SAMHSA and its SMVF Technical Assistance (TA) Center are inviting states and territories to participate in Implementation Academies. This new model of TA will bring together small delegations from up to 15 states and territories to focus on a specific strategic plan priority, work intensively to determine optimal ways to implement best practices, and define success indicators. Each Implementation Academy will target a specific topic, engage subject matter experts to work with teams wherever they are in the implementation process, and facilitate peer-to-peer sharing.

2014 Implementation Academy Priority Areas

Based on an extensive review of strategic plans, previous Policy Academy work, and TA needs assessments, the priority areas identified for 2014 are:

  • Military and Veterans’ Families
  • SMVF Criminal Justice Issues
  • Suicide Prevention for SMVF

Implementation Academy Key Objectives

  • Increasing understanding of and familiarity with the issue
  • Gain an understanding of promising, best, and evidence-based practices to address the issue
  • Increase knowledge about the challenges and lessons learned in implementing strategies
  • Expand the components of existing strategic plan that focus on the issue including defined assignments, deadlines, and measurable outcomes

States/territories are invited to participate in an Implementation Academy based on the priorities identified within their strategic plans. The figure below illustrates the steps involved:


Orientation Call
State/Territory Team Lead

  • Receive overview of Implementation Academy from SMVF TA Center staff
  • Begin identifying specific implementation issues
  • Discuss delegation selection


Web-based Prep Session(s)
All State/Territory Delegations and All Team Delegates

  • Participate in web-based TA session(s) with subject matter expert
  • Prepare for Implementation Academy work
  • Complete "homework" assignments


Implementation Academy
All State/Territory Delegations and All Team Delegates

  • Participate in intensive team work sessions
  • Review progress and identify gaps
  • Share innovations and best practices
  • Receive onsite TA
  • Refine action plan with timelines and measurable outcomes


Individualized TA
Single State/Territory Team; All Team Delegates

  • Receive tailored TA to facilitate follow-through
  • Adapt best practices and strategies
  • Review, capture, and monitor outcome data

When a state/territory accepts the Implementation Academy invitation, an Orientation Call is scheduled. This call provides the Team Leader with information about the goals and objectives of the Implementation Academy and offers guidance in the selection of an appropriate, four-person delegation to take the lead on the Implementation Academy work.

Implementation Academy delegations from all participating states/territories are required to attend a web-based Prep Session, facilitated by the SMVF TA Center and a subject matter expert. The web-based prep session will ensure that the members of each delegation understand the goals of the Implementation Academy and are prepared for the work of the in-person event.

The Implementation Academy is a 2-day meeting of approximately 75 participants, including state/territory delegations, SAMHSA representatives and other federal partners, subject matter experts, facilitators, and SMVF TA Center staff. During the meeting, delegates will have the opportunity to review their team’s progress to date, participate in facilitated, multistate TA sessions, learn about innovative strategies for implementing their strategic priorities, identify outcome measurement strategies, share best practices with other attending teams, and receive targeted TA from subject matter experts.

Following the Implementation Academy, each participating state/territory has an opportunity for additional Individualized TA. Follow-up TA is coordinated through the SMVF TA Center approximately 60-90 days after the Implementation Academy and is delivered onsite or via web-based technology.

For further information on the Implementation Academies please contact SMVF TA Center Assistant Director, Nick Meyer.

Last Updated: 06/04/2015