NEOUCOM conference promotes best practices for treatment of schizophrenia

—by Nicole Clevenger

Rootstown, OH—This past July, over 200 participants gathered at Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (NEOUCOM) in Rootstown to attend a conference entitled "Moving in the BeST Direction: An Incubator to Improve Schizophrenia Treatment in Northeastern Ohio."

Workshops examining various best practices and emerging and promising practices for the treatment of schizophrenia and related disorders were offered during this one-day event. Participants included professionals in multiple disciplines of behavioral healthcare, as well as consumers, family members, and advocates. Representatives from the Center for Evidence-based Practices (CEBP) at Case Western Reserve University were also in attendance.

The conference was made possible with funding from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation of Hudson, Ohio. The event was organized by Mark R. Munetz, MD, Margaret Clark Morgan Endowed Chair of Psychiatry at NEOUCOM and Chief Clinical Officer for the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board.

The keynote speaker, Frederick Frese III, PhD, associate professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at NEOUCOM, is a highly recognized and regarded advocate of best practices for people with severe mental illness. Dr. Frese described his experiences as a behavioral healthcare professional, an advocate, and a person living with schizophrenia.

Among the participants at the conference were several Coordinating Centers of Excellence in Ohio, which provide technical assistance (consultation and training) to behavioral healthcare organizations that are implementing evidence-based practices (EBPs) and best practices for people with severe mental illness. Representatives of the CCOEs were onsite to talk with participants and to distribute educational materials for their respective organizations.

The Ohio Supported Employment Coordinating Center of Excellence (SE CCOE) and Ohio Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Coordinating Center of Excellence (SAMI CCOE) were among those in attendance. Both are initiatives of the CEBP at Case that disseminate effective, evidence-based treatment models for people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The Ohio SAMI CCOE disseminates the evidence-based Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment (IDDT) model and the Ohio SE CCOE disseminates the evidence-based Supported Employment model. 

Nicole Clevenger, BFA, is a consultant and trainer at the Ohio Supported Employment Coordinating Center of Excellence (SE CCOE), which is an initiative of the Center for Evidence-Based Practices (CEBP) at Case Western Reserve University.