New Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Will Build Statewide Capacity to Serve Iowans

April 4, 2022

The Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD), Iowa’s UCEDD, has been awarded a grant from the Iowa Department of Human Services to establish a Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health in Iowa. CDD will collaborate with the Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation to create the new Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health to develop and implement evidence-based practices to support individuals with serious mental illness (SMI), serious emotional disturbances (SED), and co-occurring conditions.

As the lead partner in the collaboration, CDD will serve as the administrative home for the project, and will provide overall project management and coordination. This will include leading the implementation of training and fidelity monitoring, providing technical assistance, managing subcontractors, and developing and executing work plans. The Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation will take the lead on a statewide environmental scan and related gap analysis work. This will include capturing a robust picture of the status of Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), Individual Placement and Supports (IPS), Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), and other evidence-based practices being utilized across the state to support individuals with SMI, SED, and co-occurring conditions.

CDD will also partner with the University of Iowa Department of Psychiatry and with Shelter House, a homeless services agency. The UI Department of Psychiatry will bring expertise in ACT to the Center of Excellence, and Shelter House will support PSH programming.

Caitlin Owens, Associate Director of Iowa’s UCEDD, will serve as Project Director for the Center. “Our goal is to help current and prospective ACT, IPS, and PSH providers in the state build their capacity to ensure the provision of excellent services to individuals with disabilities and mental health conditions,” Owens says.

The scope of work for the initial grant contract will take place over an 18-month period, with two additional contract years anticipated, and total projected funding of $2.2 million for the project. With the foundational administrative work underway, CDD expects to launch the Project April 11, 2022.

Derrick Willis, Director of Iowa’s UCEDD, sees the new Center of Excellence as a demonstration of what UCEDDs do best. “This project has the potential to change the lives of so many Iowans who need behavioral health services,” Willis says. “Our UCEDD is positioned and ready to lead the change.”

To learn more about Iowa’s new Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health, get in touch with Meredith Field at [email protected].