Center builds upon University of Tennessee partnership

By Jerry Vagnier, president & CEO

One source of pride for the Helen Ross McNabb Center is the collaborative relationships we foster, which allow us to provide services and grow as an organization. For the past decade, the Center has engaged with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on multiple levels, including service expansions, academic placements and research partnerships.

We recently partnered with the University of Tennessee College of Social Work and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide services to homeless families in Knox and surrounding counties. Through a new grant, we will serve about 90 families over a three-year period and will focus on ensuring that the families have access to permanent housing, mainstream benefits, and behavioral health and recovery services. The program, which began in January 2018, is community-based and will follow the Integrated Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders model (a SAMHSA evidence-based practice).

The Center has also been a leader in HIV prevention, education and community outreach in East Tennessee since 1991. In the last decade, there has been a 140 percent increase in incidence of HIV in men ages 18-24. Due to the tremendous stigma these young men face, there are many barriers to them receiving the services they need. Through a partnership with the University of Tennessee, the Center’s prevention team is reaching out to high-risk youth and their families and will help connect them to mental health and substance abuse services.

Within our relationship with the University, we are also able to provide services through the Department of Athletics and through wellness initiatives on campus. This innovative design has been recognized nationally as a promising practice model.

Through joint applications for federal funding, the Center has expanded its services through East Tennessee over time. Services funded through federal funds have impacted our work in the areas of addiction, technology, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, co-occurring, high risk youth, nursing, social work and cultural competency.

In addition, academic and research collaboration has truly benefited the greater Knoxville community.

The academic partnerships allow us to interact with colleges, including but not limited to the College of Social Work, College of Nursing and the Haslam College of Business for various placements, internships and projects. The Helen Ross McNabb Center benefits by being exposed to talent graduating from the University and moving into the workforce. The University reaps the benefit of having high-quality placements and unique learning opportunities to offer its students.

Through our research partnership, the Center is learning new applications to better help the people we serve. As a leader in the behavioral health industry, the Helen Ross McNabb Center seeks to be on the forefront of new techniques and interventions for the best possible outcomes for persons served. The ability to expedite lessons learned from research to the practice environment enhances the services the Center offers. Additionally, the academic interface with researchers keeps our clinical professionals abreast of the latest industry findings, trends and standards.

We are excited to continue our collaboration with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, to support our mission of “improving the lives of the people we serve.”

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