Month: September 2016

SSW to Study Pediatric ED Use for Behavioral Health Concerns

Michael Fendrich, PhD
Michael Fendrich, Ph.D
Associate Dean for Research

The Children’s Fund of Connecticut (CFC) awarded a $57,500 grant to the UConn School of Social Work to evaluate the impact of the Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services (EMPS) program on emergency department utilization (ED) among youth with behavioral health concerns. The research team, led by Michael Fendrich, PhD (Associate Dean for Research), will use administrative data from EMPS and Medicaid claims to compare EMPS clients to a matched comparison group on ED utilization. Brenda Kurz, PhD is the co-investigator. They will also conduct focus groups with EMPS providers to supplement the quantitative findings and to further inform system and practice changes.The project will identify risk factors influencing subsequent ED use among those who receive EMPS services. 


Brenda Kurz, PhD
Associate Professor


Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Michael Fendrich, PhD
Michael Fendrich, PhD
Associate Dean for Research

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently awarded a major grant to the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to develop new programs to address opioid addiction.

The SAMHSA award to DMHAS will provide $1 million each year over the next three years to expand access to medication-assisted treatment services in selected urban, suburban and rural locations in Connecticut. The grant provides a subcontract of $600,000 for three years to support a collaborative DMHAS/School of Social Work team that will conduct an evaluation of the intervention.

SAMHSA targeted states partly based on the their level of treatment need.  Connecticut was one of only twelve states to receive funding under this initiative.  “The award was given by SAMHSA to DMHAS not only in recognition of the strength of this outstanding proposal – but also with the realization that this crisis deeply impacts the State of Connecticut.  The evaluation component of this award continues the excellent DMHAS/SSW research collaboration,” said Associate Dean for Research Michael Fendrich who is the Principal Investigator of the evaluation.

“Medication-assisted treatment, along with counseling, has proven to be one of the most effective ways to treat people who are dependent on heroin and prescription drugs,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said.  “These services provide hope and support for recovery for those battling addiction.”

Eleni Rodis MS, Acting Directing of the DMHAS Research Division, will join Dr. Fendrich as co-I and Project Director of the evaluation.

Crystal Hayes Awarded White House Equity Grant

Doctoral student, Crystal Hayes, will conduct a pilot study using focus groups to better understand the birthing experiences of incarcerated women in Massachusetts. The study will identify the most important issues for the Prison Birth Project’s anti-shackling advocacy campaign in Massachusetts and the impact the organization has on the actual birthing experiences of women and girls of color.

Incarceration rCrystal Hayesates in the United States have soared by 500% in the past 40 years, with women as the fastest group of newly incarcerated people (The Sentencing Project, 2015). The United States is excessively incarcerating women, with less than 5% of the world’s female population, yet 33% of the world’s incarcerated women (Correctional Association of New York, 2015). However, the vast majority of those women are disproportionately poor, working-class women of color, under 50 years old, and at the peak of their reproductive years (Guerino, Harrison, & Sabol, 2011; The Sentencing Project, 2015). Moreover, nearly 25% of incarcerated women are pregnant or have recently given birth at the time of arrest (Correctional Association of New York, 2015). This substantial increase of incarcerated women is an urgent issue with major implications for prison reform policies regarding women’s reproductive healthcare needs.

In 2015, the University of Connecticut became a partner institution in the White House Collaborative to Advance Equity through Research on Women and Girls of Color. UConn has committed to broadening knowledge in these areas through supporting research on women and girls of color. Crystal’s project, Are All Mothers Created Equal: Race, Birth Behind Bars, & The Anti-Shackling Movement in Massachusetts, will address the research deficit.  She is receiving $2000 for the 2016-2017 academic year from UConn through the White House Collaborative program.



Researchers Say Gun Removals May Decrease Suicides

Linda K. Frisman, PhD
Linda K. Frisman, PhD
Research Professor

The research of Drs. Linda Frisman and Hsiu-Ju Lin, and eight other colleagues, is the focus of an Atlantic Monthly article, The Gun Law Saving Lives in Connecticut.

In 1999, Connecticut became the first state to pass a law authorizing police to temporarily remove guns from individuals when there is probable cause they pose a significant risk of harm to others or self.

Hsiu-Ju Lin, PhD
Hsiu-Ju Lin, PhD
Research Faculty/DMHAS EQMI Unit Senior Staff

The research is based on the article, “Implementation and Effectiveness of Connecticut’s Risk-Based Gun Removal Law: Does It Prevent Suicides?” forthcoming in Law and Contemporary Problems. The research study examined the characteristics, implementation, and outcomes of gun removals conducted in Connecticut during the period 1999-2013. This article will inform other states that are considering the adoption of similar gun-seizure laws.

Andrea Duarte, LCSW, MPH, Behavioral Health Program Manager for the DMHAS Prevention & Health Promotion Unit, was instrumental in providing the suicide data that was used for comparison. Andrea is also a frequent field instructor for School of Social Work master’s students.