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September 1, 2011 Volume 2, Issue 32
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This week, we share the perspective of an RTP subcontractor who has been assisting the professional disciplines in developing training outlines. Each professional awardee has drafted a training outline that incorporates findings from the Situational Analysis. This first step of translating assessment results into a curriculum outline, which will be followed by a fully developed curriculum, is often overlooked or minimized. The RTP project emphasizes the importance of strategically thinking through both the training content and the process for delivery. Joe Lunievicz of the National Development and Research Institutes explains the value of linking carefully crafted goals and objectives with anticipated training outcomes. He shares examples of challenges along with tips for resolving these obstacles. As with all activities, the professions are developing outlines with the active involvement of multiple stakeholders, including consumers, project staff, and other professionals.
The Outline is the Thing
by Joe Lunievicz, B.A., RYT
At first look, it seems like it would be easier to sit down, apply fingers to keyboard, and write the narrative. There would be no development of goals, no learning objectives, no arguments about format or time frames—just a beautiful, flowing narrative of content from Point A to Point B. It's a great picture to paint, but not very realistic.

This wouldn't allow for multiple opinions, areas of expertise, perspectives, or the challenges of different agendas. And it assumes one person would simply know the purpose of the training, what to include, what to leave out, the medium for implementation, the format of the medium, and the time frame for completion. Let's not even address word choice, grammar, or style.

The Training Outline provides a platform to build from, so that all of these divergent threads can be tied together, agreed upon, and put on paper in a quilt of ideas that teach substantive content.

Some of the obstacles teams have encountered this contract year that Training Outlines have addressed include 1) not knowing where to start; 2) being overwhelmed by the content, choice of medium, or format; and 3) dealing with too many agendas and the difficulty of reaching consensus. Let's address each of these in turn:

Using a team curriculum writing approach—even if it's one writer and a team of advisors in a curriculum advisory group—means the team needs a purpose for getting together. As they say: begin at the beginning. Agreement on overall purpose keeps all players pointed in the same direction, and allows those who wander off to be guided back. The assessment and Situational Analysis direct us to the target population and overall goal. Training Outline goals and corresponding learning objectives allow you to develop outcomes based on demonstrated need.

Learning objectives are needed for participants to leave the training being able to “say,” “do,” “recognize,” “identify,” “define,” “list,” or “demonstrate.” By addressing the items in the assessment and Situational Analysis, stakeholder input is considered and respected from the first step. Once you have reached an agreement on goals (direction) and learning objectives (measurable outcomes), then the skeleton is ready to be fleshed out.

Being overwhelmed by the content, choice of medium, or format is a challenge that surfaces again and again in curriculum writing. The recovery movement is a movement of change—theoretical and practical—one that will come with resistance in different forms and strengths from varying practitioner perspectives. Most practitioners found that starting with the work accomplished in the research and assessment phase—more specifically, the determination of which target populations to work with first—helped initiate decisions about what to cover and what to exclude right from the beginning. The smaller and more defined the target population, the easier it is to determine what outcomes are needed, and subsequently, the medium and format. Goals and learning objectives tell us whether content is heavy (state, identify, list, define), skill sets are to be learned (demonstrate), or values are to be addressed (recognize, identify feelings). Each stated objective directs us towards one medium or another.

For example, a Webinar may be the best choice when addressing groups that are scattered throughout the country with content-heavy material. Webinars are effective tools for disseminating content in a lecture format, and for using interactive approaches such as polls, question and answer formats, and audio staged role plays. However, they may not be the ideal medium for values analysis or identification and discussion of feelings, which best employ face-to-face training. Time frames for Webinars become quickly apparent, as an hour tends to be the limit of Webinar services and participants' attention spans.

Dealing with different agendas of curriculum advisory group members is always a challenge, and the larger the group of stakeholders, the more challenging it can be. Developing the narrative of a training through consensus is nearly impossible. (It's difficult enough to agree on sentence structure and word choice, let alone content.) When working with a larger group (or a smaller one with very strong and divergent opinions), let the work focus on goals and learning objectives first. Reaching agreement on these issues ensures stakeholders will be happy with ultimate outcomes, regardless of how the outcomes are fulfilled. Consensus creates shared responsibility and buy-in, from which all things will flow.

Joe Lunievicz is Director of the Training Institute, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. For more information about this week's Weekly Highlight, contact Joe Lunievicz at lunievicz@ndri.org.

The RTP Resource Center Announces
Its Final Webinar in a Four-Step Series:
Step 4 in the Recovery-Oriented Care Continuum:
Thursday, October 6, 2011

3–4:30 p.m. ET

In the final Webinar of a series on the continuum of recovery-oriented care, we focus on a relatively new but important concept: a person's "graduation" from formal services, which often involves a transition to less formal community-based supports.

At one time, the mental health field believed most people would not recover from serious mental illness. Their lifelong dependency on formal treatment was expected, as was their chronic and deteriorating course. However, people did recover—in large numbers—though their exit from care was unplanned, unpredictable, and often unaddressed at the system level.

As a result, routine outpatient services typically have no-show rates around 50 percent, and the average age of individuals receiving publicly funded outpatient mental health services is about 40. People have "voted with their feet" and left care despite our best efforts. But we now know one of the reasons for this exodus: many individuals learn to manage their condition and want to return to their lives.

If people can recover from or learn to cope with serious mental illnesses, how can mental health professionals plan for this transition from the very beginning of treatment? Please join us and our presenters, Antonio Lambert, CPS, RTP Specialist for the National Association of Peer Specialists, Wes Sowers, M.D., Director of the Center for Public Service Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and Lauren Spiro, Director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, to discuss how we can help people graduate from care when it may no longer be needed. We will address options and alternatives for individuals who wish to move on from formal services, and how we can help ensure that those who have optimally benefited from our treatments have a meaningful life to return to.

To Register

Please share this announcement with friends and colleagues who may be interested in learning more about recovery-oriented practice in behavioral health services. For more information on SAMHSA's Recovery to Practice project, please contact the RTP Technical Assistance Center at recoverytopractice@dsgonline.com or 877.584.8535.

Behavioral Health and Tobacco
The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center (SCLC) is co-hosting a free Webinar with the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (ATTUD). Save the date for the 90-minute presentation, “Behavioral Health & Tobacco: The Final Frontier,” September 29, 2011, at 2 p.m. ET.

Tobacco is a primary cause of death among people with addictions and/or mental health disorders, and negatively influences recovery from other substances. ATTUD, an organization dedicated to increasing access to evidence-based tobacco treatment, developed a policy statement on incorporating these treatments into behavioral health services.

Webinar Objectives
  • Describe the effects of tobacco among people with addictions and/or mental health disorders.
  • Understand key findings from the ATTUD position paper.
  • Learn about relationships among tobacco dependence, withdrawal, outcome, and response to treatment.
  • Learn specific action steps for integrating tobacco treatment in behavioral health services.
Register now using the following link:

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education (CME) for physicians and allied health professionals.

UCSF designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Participants who join the session are eligible to earn up to 1.5 CME/CEU credits for a fee of $25 per CME/CEU certificate. Physicians and allied health professionals should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the Webinar. A certificate of completion will be available at no cost.

This Webinar will be recorded and available on the SCLC Web site beginning September 30, 2011. For more information, contact Reason Reyes, SCLC Director of Technical Assistance, at reason.reyes@ucsf.edu or 877.509.3786.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to your colleagues.

An Introduction to Mental Health Planning and Advisory Councils
All States are required to have a Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council for guidance on Federal mental health block grant funding. Join us September 6, 2011, at 2:30 p.m. ET, for a 90-minute Webinar on planning councils' statutory requirements and information about how you can get involved. Judy Stange, Executive Director of the National Association of Mental Health Planning and Advisory Councils, will discuss the general structure of planning councils and factors that foster their efficacy. Shel Gross, Director of Public Policy at Mental Health America of Wisconsin and Chair of the Wisconsin Council on Mental Health, will discuss his experience on the Council, which is recognized as an effective voice for the mental health community.

Registration Link

Questions? Email ssteverman@mentalhealthamerica.net or call 703.684.7722.

A recorded version of this Webinar will be available on Mental Health America's Web site.

The RTP Resource Center Wants to Hear From
Recovery-Oriented Practitioners!
We invite practitioners to submit personal stories that describe how they became involved in
recovery-oriented work and how it has changed the way they practice.
The RTP Resource Center Wants to Hear From You, Too!
We invite you to submit personal stories that describe recovery experiences. To submit stories or
other recovery resources, please contact Stephanie Bernstein, MSW, at 877.584.8535,
or email recoverytopractice@dsgonline.com.

We welcome your views, comments, suggestions, and inquiries.
For more information on this topic or any other recovery topics,
please contact the RTP Resource Center at
877.584.8535, or email recoverytopractice@dsgonline.com.

The views, opinions, and content of this Weekly Highlight are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.