Welcome to the iSPARC April 2021 Newsletter!
Improving Practice
Current Issues in Serving Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Significant Mental Health Disorders

In this report, Dr. Laurie Charlot, in partnership with iSPARC, gathered and summarized information to begin the process of developing a more responsive system of care in Massachusetts for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and significant mental health disorders.

Disparities in Vocational Supports for Black Young Adults with Mental Health Conditions

Our research brief, by Jonathan Delman, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. begins, "Young adult Black people with disabilities, including serious mental health conditions (SMHCs), are less likely to find and keep jobs than peers who are White" and then discusses the "Whys" including research on barriers and facilitators to employment. The research brief also presents information on Engagement and Access to Vocational Services. Read or download the brief HERE.
Changing Policy
Addressing Perinatal Mental Health by Building Medical Provider Capacity through Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs

Perinatal mental health (PMH) conditions have harmful effects on the health of perinatal individuals and their children, and are a leading and preventable cause of maternal mortality. Nevertheless, PMH conditions are underrecognized, underdiagnosed, and undertreated. To address these gaps, Massachusetts created the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP) for Moms to build the capacity of frontline medical providers to address PMH conditions by providing education, consultation, and resources and referrals. MCPAP for Moms has emerged as a successful and scalable model with at least 25 states or organizations implementing or developing similar Perinatal Psychiatry Access Programs. 

Read more about our work in our Research Brief, and then join the our webinar discussing this work.
Join Nancy Byatt at the webinar:
Closing the Gaps in Perinatal Mental Health Care by Building the Capacity of Frontline Providers.

Mood and anxiety disorders affect one in five individuals during pregnancy or in the first postpartum year. They increase the risk of adverse maternal, infant, and child outcomes and account for 9% of maternal mortality. Recognizing that frontline perinatal health care providers are in an ideal position to intervene; it is recommended that mental health care is integrated into perinatal care. However, barriers at the individual, provider, systems, and community levels impede treatment participation. Less than a quarter of women with perinatal mood or anxiety disorders receive mental health care. This presentation will review models for implementing evidence-based health care in perinatal care settings.
Advancing Research

We invite persons with lived mental health experience, family members, DMH staff & providers to attend the 2021 Annual Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) Research Centers of Excellence Conference on Monday, June 14th 12:30 - 4:30 PM EDT.

Take an inside look at the Centers of Excellence (Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) at University of Massachusetts Medical School and
Center of Excellence (COE) for Psychosocial and Systemic Research at Massachusetts General Hospital and how stakeholder-engaged research can change care provision and policy.

Empowered to Act
"When a Mental Health Crisis Hit My Family" - A Video Series
Mara's Story of Setting Boundaries
When a mental health crisis hit Mara's family, it turned her life upside down. The stress of being the caretaker of someone with a mental health condition was overwhelming and often debilitating, and Mara didn't like the feelings she was feeling. Mara tells her story of what happened, how she tried to handle it, and how a few changes around boundaries with her family member turned things around for her.

This video was created by members of our Family Advisory Board, a part of our Stakeholder Engagement Program.
Young Adult Corner
Translating Evidence to
Support Transitions (TEST)

The Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research project called Translating Evidence to Support Transitions (TEST) has created a series of three practice guides for educators who support and serve students with Emotional Behavioral Disturbance (EBD) to help transition planning for high school students.

The guides focus on 3 key area:
  • student-led IEP meetings
  • community agency representation at IEP meetings
  • concentrations of CTE coursework along career pathways

View the TEST project and the new manuals at our TEST website.
In the News
iSPARC now has a
LinkedIn page!

LinkedIn is a great way to learn more about the latest work being done by our faculty and researchers. We'll share news about the grants we've received and research projects we are working on, and publish announcements of upcoming events hosted by our centers and others in the field of public mental health. We hope to engage in conversation with you about the state of mental health research. For a more personal look at the people and work being done at iSPARC, join us on LinkedIn.
Our newest center - Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research - CeKTER has launched its website.

The Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research (CeKTER) aims to promote the use of employment research findings & research-based products by people with disabilities, employers, employment service providers, vocational rehabilitation professionals, and policy makers, with the overall aim of improving services, approaches, practices, and policies that support improved outcomes for people with disabilities.

What is the Transitions ACR Doing?
Our New Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Webpage
April 11th was National Pet Day. As a way to celebrate and highlight the comfort, companionship and therapeutic benefits animals bring to humans, our Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research has created a new webpage as a resource guide focusing on Emotional Support Animals (ESA). This new ESA resource webpage offers the 101 Basics of Emotional Support Animals and their differences from other types of animals (e.g. service, therapy and pets). We also answer important questions like "Can I take my ESA to college?" and "Where else can I bring my animal?"
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Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) | University of Massachusetts Medical School
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