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Pollard, Hoge offer recommendations to develop workforce in Coordinated Specialty Care

October 27, 2017

At the request of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD), Jessica Pollard, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Michael Hoge, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, developed a set of workforce competencies and recommendations for workforce development in Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) for early psychosis. The work was funded by SAMHSA and conducted through the Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce.

Pollard, Clinical Director of the Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis (STEP) Clinic at Yale, and Hoge, Director of Yale Behavioral Health and the Yale Group on Workforce Development, wrote an Issue Brief published by NASMHPD titled, "Workforce Development in Coordinated Specialty Care." After interviewing experts in CSC, they distilled a set of competencies and recommendations for recruitment, selection, training, supervision, and retention of CSC trainees and professionals.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines CSC as a "recovery-oriented treatment program for people with first episode psychosis (FEP). CSC promotes shared decision making and uses a team of specialists who work with the client to create a personal treatment plan. The specialists offer psychotherapy, medication management geared to individuals with FEP, family education and support, case management, and work or education support, depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. The client and the team work together to make treatment decisions, involving family members as much as possible. The goal is to link the individual with a CSC team as soon as possible after psychotic symptoms begin."

The use of CSC in randomized clinical trials has resulted in reduced psychiatric hospitalizations, improvement in quality of life, and greater vocational engagement, according to Pollard. More CSC programs are being established throughout the United States, requiring more mental health professionals to be recruited and then trained in the specialty.

Pollard and Hoge wrote the Issue Brief to begin to address the knowledge gap on this topic.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on October 27, 2017