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Spotlight: Navajo Regional Behavioral Health Center

This is a quarterly series designed to highlight valuable resources developed to further the integration of mental health and substance abuse systems and services. Navajo Regional Health Center was a part of a SAMHSA-supported learning collaborative and agreed to share their experiences, resources and lessons learned.

Navajo Regional Behavioral Health Center (NRBHC) is serving as demonstration site for integrated co-occurring disorders treatment in Indian Country. The model "Co-Occurring Healing Center" is the first known site to undertake efforts to improve services for individuals with co-occurring disorders by incorporating Western best practices and Indigenous best practices for holistic and culturally responsive integrated healing/ treatment.

Navajo Nation is unique in that it spans three states; Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Navajo Nation is larger than 10 of the 50 states in America. Navajo Nation's Department of Behavioral Health Services includes 14 diverse sites that employ a total of 250 staff. NRBHC is the largest of those sites with a staff of 72 people.

NRBHC has:

  • Used the Dual Diagnosis Capability in Addiction Treatment (DDCAT) to examine the components of Western evidence-based practice existing within the healing centers and develop action plans to guide improvements.
  • Defined and developed a measure called the Tribal Core. Compatible with the DDCAT, the Tribal Core captures processes and practices to ensure that the healing center is responsive to the culture and spirituality of Indigenous/Native people.
  • Examined staff perceptions and understanding of cultural and spiritual identity and increased staff awareness of their own cultural and spiritual identity.
  • Refined the process for assessing individual's acculturation/enculturation and how that information is used in the healing process.
  • Began developing a dashboard of Western and Indigenous outcome measures for co-occurring disorders and establishing a process for generating, capturing and using data for program planning, quality improvement, and sustainability.
  • Began to develop leadership (Indigenous & Western/Transformational) capability to support the integration efforts.
  • Provided training with continuing education credits (CEUs) and support to practitioners who work with individuals with co-occurring disorders.

For more information contact: Dr. Sidney Brown, Behavioral Health Director, NRBHC at