TTUHSC El Paso One of Six to Receive Hogg Foundation Grant

The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin has awarded $1.2 million in grants to six Texas organizations to coordinate the dissemination of the Recovery to Practice (RTP) curricula across the six behavioral health professions in Texas.

The goal of the Hogg Foundation RTP Grant Program is to support the dissemination of the RTP curricula across the fields of psychiatry, psychology, social work, nursing, peer support and addiction counseling in Texas. The six awardees, including Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Department of Biomedical Sciences, have each been granted $200,000 over four years.

“The Recovery to Practice initiative is helping to catalyze a national paradigm shift, in the behavioral health professions, toward a recovery-based model,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. “We are thrilled as a foundation to support these six organizations in bringing RTP to Texas.”

“We are honored as a center to be a part of this national movement of the RTP and are ready to share this new recovery based model of treatment to not only emerging psychiatrists in the state of Texas, but also to our seasoned practitioners,” said Juan Zavala, M.D., assistant director in the TTUHSC El Paso Department of Biomedical Sciences and director of this grant. “We feel that clinicians that are armed with this new training in recovery can improve the lives of our fellow Texans who suffer from mental illness.”

The Texas Recovery to Practice in Psychiatry Program (TRIPP) is a four-year project with the mission to educate Texas psychiatrists in the recovery model of mental health.  The TRIPP coordinating center will be located at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) El Paso Center of Emphasis in Neurosciences.  “We will work to educate psychiatry residents about this model throughout the state of Texas, with a teaching team consisting of two psychiatrists and one recovery expert with self-knowledge of the process,” said Zavala.

In addition to working with residency programs throughout Texas, the team will also focus on disseminating the recovery model to psychiatrists working in key mental health centers located in at least four major metropolitan areas, and to the four largest state psychiatric inpatient hospitals.  Teaching will involve didactic and experiential training and will be conducted in concert with recommendations from the national office of the American Psychiatric Association recovery to practice program.

TRIPP leadership will work with subcontracted sites with the goal of educating over 300 psychiatry residents and 100 psychiatrists working in mental health centers and state psychiatric hospitals over the course of the program.  Changes in attitudes of providers will be measured over the course of time and TRIPP will foster collaborative teaching activities with other RTP grant awardees to include psychology, nursing, social work, peer support, and addiction counseling.

“The Recovery Model of Mental Health is a major change in how mental health professionals think about working with and helping persons with mental health challenges.  Rather than considering the physician an expert who makes diagnoses and treats symptoms of illness, the focus shifts to the patient playing an active role in determining a plan for how he or she will recover from the challenges being faced,’ said Michael Escamilla, M.D., director of the TTUHSC El Paso Center of Excellence in Neurosciences and co-director on this grant.  “This model has been advocated for by consumers, family members, and the American Psychiatric Association, but it requires a vastly different approach to how psychiatry is taught and practiced currently.

“In the Recovery model, the treatment for each patient will aim to assist the person in establishing a meaningful and productive life – based on their values and goals.  The involvement of peer specialists at all levels of treatment are an important feature of this model, as well as a focus on positive goal-setting, individualization of treatment goals, and a shift away from symptom based treatment planning.  This shift requires that all persons in the mental health profession gain a better understanding of what will be a more collaborative approach to treatment.

“Although many psychiatrists have naturally incorporated such approaches into their work, this will be the first time our field addresses this from all levels (consumers, psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists and others involved in the field of mental health).  The Hogg Foundation grant gives us a great opportunity to transform how psychiatry is practiced in Texas for future generations.”