The use of evidence-based treatments (EBTs), clinical guidelines that rely on what researchers have found to be effective treatment, has grown in all areas of health care in an effort to reduce errors and improve health. In the field of mental health, most EBTs have been developed for use in urban areas and may not be easily transferable to rural environments. Out of 39 Washington State counties, 23 are classified as rural with more than one million residents.
Applying a translational research approach, the investigators' first priority is to develop, modify, and implement EBTs for substance abuse and mental illness for use in Washington's rural areas. The team's long-term priority is to develop a self-sustaining program that is supported by public and private sector funds to conduct high-quality research for translation into effective treatment protocols. Through the use, refinement, and delivery of EBTs, this group of clinician-researchers seeks to improve the physical and behavioral signs and symptoms of drug and mental health disorders. If successful, the program will provide savings to Washington in the medical and social costs of managing these disorders. Washington State realizes about four dollars in benefits for every dollar spent for treatment costs related to delivering treatments for alcohol, drug, and mental health disorders.