Welcome to the Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center's newsletter, where you can keep up to date with our research, presentations, publications, and events.
BHWRC Newsletter: 2020 Recap
In this Issue:

  • 2020: A Visual
  • Communications Snapshot
  • In the News
  • Publications
  • Completed Projects
  • 2021: Looking Ahead

2020: A Visual
Increased web traffic, social media growth, and media attention! Check out some of our biggest wins from 2020.
Increase in Website Users
Communications Snapshot
Communicating with our audience through email and social media is proving beneficial for increasing awareness of the BHWRC, as well as encouraging engagement with our content.

Email contacts grew by 63.52% (+760), and garnered an average open rate of 20.79% (more than industry benchmarks, per Constant Contact).

Twitter saw the most social media growth with a 26.18% increase in followers during 2020 (Facebook followers grew 14.08%). Despite a drop in audience engagement on Facebook, our audience tweeted away, spurring a 94.96% increase in engagements across twitter.

All communications intended to drive traffic to our website, and succeeded in growing users by 46.87%, sessions by 44.60%, and pageviews by 28.11%.
In the News
Angela talks all things Behavioral Health Workforce
With news and information about COVID-19 a top priority, there has been an increase in attention on the BHWRC and Center Director, Angela Beck, PhD, MPH. News coverage includes:
Completed Projects
The BHWRC completed 9 projects this year. Check out project highlights below and view more information on our newly updated projects page of the website.
The Behavioral Health Workforce in Rural America: Developing a National Recruitment Strategy
A multi-case comparison study describing state incentives for behavioral health provider recruitment, particularly into rural areas. Current recruitment practices to build the provider pipeline in a given state and incentivize practice in areas suffering from maldistribution of workers are examined.

Results find more than 60% of rural Americans live in a mental Health Professional Shortage Area, and more than 90% of psychologists and psychiatrists and 80% of social workers practice exclusively in metropolitan areas.
This study measured the extent to which social workers were able to transition to tele-behavioral health during COVID-19 and the barriers and facilitators they experienced during this rapid change to tele-behavioral health service delivery.
Social Work Answers the (VIDEO) Call: Tele-Behavioral Health Use During COVID-19
Behavioral Health Provider Experiences with Telehealth in Michigan during COVID-19
A variety of services can be provided via telehealth, such as general wellness visits, nutrition counseling, and behavioral health services. Before the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, telehealth services were widely underutilized despite the proliferation of Internet-enabled telecommunications technology. However, in March 2020, the federal government recommended the use of telehealth services to mitigate public health risks associated with COVID-19. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services adjusted regulations and reimbursement requirements for telehealth.
2020-2021 Projects
The team has finalized our upcoming projects for Year 6, 2020-2021. Work on many of the projects has already started, with a focus on better understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the provision of behavioral health.
Michigan Substance Use Disorder Workforce
Education and Training Assessment
The workforce treating substance use disorder (SUD) is complex, ranging from primary care providers, to master’s level clinical counselors, to certified social supports. Understanding SUD treatment capacity requires a deeper understanding of how each segment of this workforce is trained to treat SUD. To this end, the BHWRC is undertaking a project as part of Michigan’s Section 1003 Demonstration to better understand the state’s SUD workforce training and education at three different levels: the national level, the state level, and the program level.

This project is supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $3,448,066 with 100% funded by CMS/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CMS/HHS, or the U.S. Government
Assessing Behavioral Health Workforce Surge Needs due to COVID-19
Estimating Supply of Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Providers
Exposures to traumatic events may be associated with poor behavioral health outcomes. Findings from a previous COVID-19 literature review indicate that symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress, and anxiety are more likely to be present for months and years in individuals exposed to public health crises. Emerging evidence of increased need for mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) services during the COVID-19 pandemic is consistent with these observations.
Studies on the U.S. BH workforce show low proportions of providers specializing in treatment of children and adolescents, as well as a geographic maldistribution of said workforce. This lack of access to care may be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which a transition to distance learning could disrupt students’ access to BH providers at schools.

Peers in the Behavioral Health Workforce: Costs and Contributions
Behavioral Health Payment Models Post-COVID-19 Pandemic
This study will compare revenue models, billing, and direct costs for behavioral health services in a sample of facilities with peers to facilities without peers to determine where incorporation of peer services is cost-positive for these facilities. Project is a continuation of a 2019 project in partnership with University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
Aimed at determining how payment models result in variations in supply of behavioral health providers over the course of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic in the US, this is an observational study of payment model design features in relevant legislation, regulations and executive orders affecting Medicaid and commercial plans.
Let's Connect!
We're more than just a research center; We're a communicator of industry knowledge and resources. Our aim is to connect behavioral health organizations and practitioners, and to become a recognized voice on behavioral health news, information, and research.

Join us on Facebook or Twitter to receive the latest updates right in your feed!
Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center | University of Michigan
Phone: (734) 763-3118 | E-mail: bhworkforce@umich.edu