Mental and behavioral health are cornerstones of a good quality of life, yet most people cannot obtain effective, evidence-based behavioral health services in the community when needed. Treatment advances abound in university research centers but are rarely translated to the community settings that serve the majority of the nation. Further, evidence-based practices developed in academic settings can take decades to reach those most in need in the community, and such models are often uninformed of and less applicable to real world practice settings. These science-to-service gaps are reflective of an urgent need to integrate research and practice to improve the behavioral health of our communities across the lifespan.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry have partnered to establish CiTECH, the Center for Interventions to Enhance Community Health, to study, understand, and improve community behavioral health services. This collaborative research Center, the first of its kind between a School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry, will serve as a bridge to the community in order to conduct translational research on population behavioral health. Directed by Shaun M. Eack, Ph.D. and David A. Brent, M.D., the mission of CiTECH is to enhance the quality and length of life of individuals living with behavioral health conditions through innovative community-based interventions.
CiTECH’s primary aims are to:
• Develop and test effective community-based interventions to improve health, with an emphasis on behavioral health;
• Partner with community agencies to ensure “real world” readiness; and
• Integrate behavioral health interventions into everyday community settings to help people where they are and prevent disability.
To accomplish these aims and the mission of the Center, CiTECH will provide research infrastructure, mentorship, pilot awards, and community partnerships to support scholarly research on community-based interventions to improve behavioral health across the lifespan.
Priority areas for the Center include youth mental health, suicide, addiction, and psychosis, with faculty and community experts represented in each of these distinct areas.
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