Lori Holleran Steiker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, co-authored the following post.
Today marks the beginning of an interdisciplinary effort toward solving the problem of youth substance misuse and addiction — an effort facilitated by UT Austin’s Office of the Vice President for Research.
Dan Jaffe, the university’s vice president for research, sponsors Pop-Up Institutes that work on important issues. As part of the Youth Substance Misuse and Addiction Pop-Up Institute, a town hall with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will be held in the Dell Medical School Health Learning Building Auditorium on Monday, May 14 from 5-8 p.m. SAMHSA is the part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that directs national behavioral public health efforts to reduce the impact of substance misuse and mental illness.
The Pop-Up Institute grew from the competitive, but ultimately unfunded interdisciplinary proposal for the MacArthur 100&Change grant ($100 million to one recipient to solve a problem). The group has met bi-monthly for the past academic year planning and creating the following deliverables:
- Health System augmentation and design to create comprehensive and effective services to transition-aged youth and their families in Texas (and eventually beyond) — including journey mapping, informatics, data sharing among agencies, warm hand-offs from medical care to community, etc. UT’s Youth Recovery Network is working with Dell Med’s Kasey Claborn on ways to enhance the health system for youth with addictions.
- Recommendations for Undergraduate Studies to integrate evidence-based prevention interventions and wellness components into academics (including the possibility of a UT Prevention and Wellness Center). Some of the Dell Med faculty are already involved in providing Signature Courses, mandatory for all incoming UT students.
- Enhancing a united web presence for the sharing of ideas, data, publications, grant proposals, and discussions among our interdisciplinary team of University of Texas researchers, staff, students, and community practitioners of the Youth Recovery Network.
- Working with Integral Care, Jim Baker, Robert Messing and Stephen Strakowski’s teams towards building a Community-Based Addictions and Neuroscience Center for Youth and other mechanisms of sustainability for the Pop-Up Institute momentum.
- The Pop-Up Institute will culminate with a SAMHSA Town Hall on Youth Opioid Prevention (May 14) and a conference on May 15.
Pop-Up Institute events are all open to Dell Med students, residents, faculty, and staff. We encourage all those in behavioral health realms to attend the Youth Recovery Network Research and Practitioner Convening on May 10 from 9 a.m. to noon at the UT Union Quadrangle Room. We will discuss ways to create wrap-around services for youth with substance use disorders as well as public health and prevention coalitions, especially in light of the youth opioid epidemic in Texas.
These events and talks encourage us to break down silos and share bio-psycho-social and spiritual perspectives for innovative, holistic, creative solutions that address the complexities of youth substance misuse and addiction. By connecting with community addiction prevention/intervention agencies, University High School (Austin’s first addiction recovery high school), and other members of the Recovery Oriented Community Collaborative and the Youth Recovery Network, we can take our national leadership role to the next level.
Please join us!