cal developments have created easy-to-access data
streams that facilitate communication about student performance between students, teachers, counselors, and
others such as parents. For example, students are directly
involved in STARS as an autonomy support where they
develop classroom goals and monitor their own performance on that goal using a web-based application. Teachers not only electronically approve student goals using an
app developed for this purpose, but they also rate student
performance. Students are provided with the teacher
feedback on a daily basis and also during weekly processing meetings with school counselors, who are responsible for directly training students.
Our research ideas and studies are all the product of multidisciplinary collaborations. Notably, these studies were all
coauthored by teams of interdisciplinary scholars. School psychologists contributed to the innovative hypotheses regarding
the influence of school contexts on youth symptoms, developmental psychologists shape ideas related to the timing and
sequence of symptom patterns, clinical psychologists and
psychiatrists influenced the teams’ understanding of co-occurrence and symptom patterns in youth with serious mental
health disorders, and collaborators with public health and prevention science backgrounds contextualized the findings and
their broader preventive-intervention implications. Implementation fidelity tools were created by members of our team with
training in school and clinical psychology and special education. The complex group randomized study designs and analyses were developed by members of our team with training in
public health, prevention science, and advanced educational
statistics and methodology.
Our partnerships with community members from diverse
backgrounds and areas of expertise were also shaped by this
multidisciplinary focus. Our social work colleague with
knowledge of community resources and structures took lead on
forging many of these initial connections across service sectors. The most effective strategies for building these partnerships include simply listening to others, distilling ongoing
communication about needs and desired outcomes into actionable steps that reflect a scientific approach, encouraging leadership buy-in and involvement, and advocating for the need to
set aside personal agendas in pursuit of a greater common goal.
Not surprisingly, it takes much effort and persistence to create
these connections among leaders in various service sectors,
with the most productive conversations often taking place over
coffee or lunch. In addition, community partners must also
come to believe that multidisciplinary research teams are committed to assisting a community achieve higher goals. Researchers demonstrate their commitment through actions including by providing many hours of free training on topics
requested by partners, genuinely listening to the needs of
individual sectors and connecting these needs of that sector
with expertise and services.
Lessons Learned and Future Directions
Impacting the population health of youth requires collaboration across many sectors and areas of specialization.
Improving access to nurturing environments and high quality mental health supports is vital if we are to effectively
reduce the population level prevalence and burden of youth
mental health concerns. Our experiences have confirmed
our belief that people will work together if a team clearly
articulates its vision and mission in a way that empowers
and inspires people to solve big world problems.
The Coalition and FACE are the culmination of the tireless work of members of MPC as well as many other
community stakeholders over several years, including those
who helped pass the tax funding initiative to support youth
mental health and those who conceived of a program to help
families and youth access high quality mental health care.
As such, these programs hold the hopes and aspirations of
an entire community for improving the social, emotional,
and behavior health of all youth. Three years into their joint
implementation, we now have two fully functional cross-sector implementation programs that provide a coordinated,
transparent, and collaborative approach to improving access
to quality social, emotional, and behavioral health services
for all youth and their families in the county.
We built these programs with attention to the science base,
some of it our own, regarding the challenges of impacting the
population-level social, emotional, and behavioral health of
youth. We now have initial evidence that our efforts are having
the impact that our community hoped for when it invested in
this effort. Schools are implementing sophisticated screening
and intervention practices and youth are showing signs of
improvement. Families are accessing FACE and, in turn, accessing available health and social services. Community providers are accessing trainings in EBPs that, in turn, increase
their ability to provide the high quality care our youths and
families need. Finally, families are also reporting significant
improvement in the top problems that led them to seek care,
suggesting that these efforts are making a difference for youth
who come to FACE and seek other services in our community.
Much work remains toward building these programs into the
world-class entities that we have envisioned, conducting rigorous studies of their effects, and sharing these models with
other communities throughout the nation. Our multidisciplinary team of partners will certainly shape these evaluation
and dissemination efforts and help ensure their success.
Aarons, G. A., Sommerfeld, D. H., & Willging, C. E. (2011). The soft
underbelly of system change: The role of leadership and organizational
climate in turnover during statewide behavioral health reform.
Psychological Services, 8, 269 – 281. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0026196
Beidas, R. S., & Kendall, P. C. (2010). Training therapists in evidence-based practice: A critical review of studies from a systems-contextual
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