- Denise Middlebrook, PhD, Training and Technical Assistance Director, Reno, NV
- Jim Myers, MSW, Director of Evaluation/Planning, Gary Bess Associates, Lincoln, CA
- Gary Bess, PhD, Principal, Gary Bess Associates, Lincoln, CA
- Brenda Freeman, PhD, Professor, Educational Psychology & Counseling, Reno, NV
In May 2017, Indian Health Services (IHS), the health program for American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/NA) within the Federal Health and Human Services Department, issued a competitive funding opportunity for its pilot Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BH2I). The purpose was to increase capacity within health facilities operated by IHS, Tribal, and urban Indian organizations. Twelve (12) grantees were selected for the three-year initiative that involved a grantee-specific process and outcome evaluation, as well as a cross-site evaluation. The intent was to learn from grantees how BH2I services translated in Native-run agencies, and how conventional behavioral health services aligned with social, spiritual, cultural, and traditional services that characterize Native American programs. Several programmatic elements were added by grantees to BH2I that combined evidence-based interventions (e.g., Gathering of Native Americans [GONA]) to practice-based evidence from hundreds of years of culture and tradition (e.g., sweat lodges and talking circles). Some grantees added cultural brokers or traditional healers to their service intervention teams, and others embraced BH2I by promoting it as an approach consistent with Native values of body, mind, and spirit. The presentation will overview the Native-specific components introduced by grantees with brief, case study examples of methods tried. Attendees will be encouraged to consider the applicability of culture, tradition, and spiritual elements to other distinct populations of focus and how they blend with conventional integrated behavioral health care services.
- Understand the value-added by cultural and traditional practices to integrated behavioral health care services.
- Consider expansion of care teams to include non-traditional members.
- Consider the impact of non-clinical interventions in the mix of integrated care services.