November 2018
We are excited to announce that the University of Massachusetts Medical School's (UMMS) Department of Psychiatry was awarded a new contract for a Center of Excellence for Public Mental Health Services and Implementation Research, continuing 25 years of funding from the state Department of Mental Health (DMH), Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As of October 1, 2018, the former UMMS Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center (SPARC) is now the Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center, or iSPARC .

The new iSPARC builds on the demonstrated strengths of the Department of Psychiatry's previous research centers of excellence by 1) adding investigators from the UMMS Department of Quantitative Health Sciences and its matchless expertise in implementation science and engagement of underrepresented groups, and 2) adding investigators from Boston University's Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation and its 35+ years of implementation and services research focused on the recovery of adults with serious mental illness. iSPARC will work in close partnership with the DMH and its stakeholders to use the tools of research to improve public mental health in the future.
Study Results
Honor our Veterans on November 11 

It's been reported that as many as 20% of returning Veterans suffer from mental health conditions making the goal for reintegration into communities and schools particularly difficult. 

Marsha Langer Ellison, Ph.D., an iSPARC researcher and Deputy Director of the Learning and Working Transitions ACR, is the Principal Investigator of a pilot project that looks to improve the academic standing and community re-integration of student Veterans with untreated mental health conditions. Along with her colleagues at the Bedford VA Medical Center, Dr. Ellison conducted a pilot test of the Veteran Supported Education Treatment Manual (VetSEd) to assess its feasibility for implementation as well as to gain some parameters of effect size to inform future studies.

This pilot study used a randomized controlled design and evaluated the feasibility of the VetSEd program, including recruitment, training, and retention of veterans, as well as the magnitude of the effect of a supported education (SEd) service on time spent in participation in educational activities. The study team recently published an article about the study called " A Supported Education Service Pilot for Returning Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder", in Psychological Services, 15(2).

Learn more here .
New iSPARC Publications
How to help families
Parental mental illness can have significant psychological, social and economic impacts on families. It is important for services to address the intergenerational impacts of parental mental illness. This issue brief is about one program in Australia that may be able to meet the intergenerational needs of families where a parent has a mental illness. Read more here .
Design and validate
There has been an increase in the number of youths referred to the juvenile justice system for charges related to stressful or chaotic home environments that result in adolescents being charged with domestic violence of a parent. These don't often result in significant harm and few repeat incidents, but the involved adolescents are often jailed. This led researchers to design and validate the Adolescent Domestic Battery Typologies Tool (ADBTT) using the largest sample of adolescents charged with domestic battery on a parent to date. The goal was to determine if there are subtypes of classes of youths who would be best helped by different system responses, some of which may pose a risk for further ADB, whereas others may need only minimal intervention to assist the family. Find out more here .

Watch the webinar about this study.
Preventing Bullying
October was National Bullying Prevention Month, but that doesn't mean that bullying prevention should stop on October 31. See some of our products that provide information and tips on stopping bullying and cyber-bullying below.
November 17, 2018 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day
Survivor Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. On Saturday, November 17, 2018, loss survivors will gather around the globe in small and large events while growing together in their grief journey.

iSPARC has a brief about how suicide calls can impact first responders. Read The Impact of Suicide Calls on Police here.

We also have a brief that is about a study done with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute that examined the cultural relevance and potential acceptability of mindfulness practices by frontline providers. Read Using Mindfulness for Increasing Provider Capacity to Support Inner City Survivors of Violence here.
In the News
Dr. Nancy Byatt, an iSPARC researcher, is featured in a recent Boston 25 News story about a new app called Lifeline4Moms that was developed by researchers at the University of Massachustts Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The app helps OBs screen new mothers for postpartum depression.

Find the story here and see more about Dr. Byatt's work here .
Webinar on College Student Mental Health
Recording now available!
In this webinar presenters Amanda Costa, Laura Golden and Ian Lane describe findings from a qualitative study that paints an intimate picture of the facilitators and barriers to academic success faced by college students with mental health conditions from the direct perspectives of college students, faculty, and Disability and Counseling Services staff. They also talk about an innovative peer-to-peer academic coaching intervention designed to address facilitators and barriers identified in our research findings.

You can watch the webinar by clicking here . Download the sldies here .
Who We Are
The Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (formerly known as the Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center) is a part of the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Department of Psychiatry. 

iSPARC is a Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) Center of Excellence for Public Mental Health Services and Implementation Research that aims to improve the mental and behavioral health of all citizens of Massachusetts and beyond. iSPARC is committed to transferring knowledge and insights gained through rigorous research to improve the lives of people with lived mental health experience.

We conduct Participatory Action Research, an all-inclusive approach that ensures that every aspect of our research incorporates the voices of those with lived mental health experience.
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Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) | University of Massachusetts Medical School | 508-856-5498 | 508-856-8700 | |