Virtual Challenge Celebrates Spirit of Innovation

Behavioral health professionals, partners, and community stakeholders from across the state attended LSF Health Systems' Inaugural Behavioral Innovation Challenge on October 19th, offering praise for the event and the innovative platform that served as the backdrop for the virtual affair. "When I heard that LSF Health Systems was doing an innovation challenge I was beyond excited," said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris, who was a special guest speaker at the event. "It shows great leadership in an organization when people are given the time and space to innovate. Innovation is key to how we build a better delivery model for the services we provide. It's also how we find new opportunities and how we react to the changing needs of the populations we work with", Harris told the audience. Read More... 
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Northeast Florida Nonprofits Earn Top Honors for Innovation Videos

Twelve nonprofit organizations participated in LSF Health Systems’ inaugural innovation competition via a brief video submission highlighting the impact of programs. Top honors in the Judges Award Category went to the Sulzbacher Center, for its Chronically Homeless Offenders Program (CHOP), which diverts homeless individuals with mental health challenges from jail. The top prize was sponsored by PS27 Ventures, a Jacksonville-based company that empowers entrepreneurs to scale their breakthrough ideas. See the winning video here. Other top Judges Award winners included Children's Home Society of Florida's Family Crisis Coordination program and Talkable Communities, submitted by Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare in partnership with five other North Florida agencies.
Talkable Communities also won first place in the People’s Choice category, which was sponsored by Janssen Neuroscience, a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson whose mission is to develop new solutions and innovations that not only improve, but transform, the lives of people living with mental illness. See the winning video here. Vincent House of Hernando County and St. Augustine Youth Services were also recognized in the People's Choice Award category. Click here to log in to the event platform and view a recording of the live awards presentation.
Thank you to our sponsors who made our Inaugural Virtual Behavioral Health Innovation Challenge possible!

Event sponsors including the Florida Department of Children and Families, PS27 Ventures, Janssen Neuroscience and Stabilify helped make the 2021 Innovation Challenge a big success.
Opening Keynote

Bob Carter is a recognized global expert in institutional strategy and fundraising. He is chair of Carter; an international consultancy dedicated to advancing philanthropy worldwide. He previously was Senior Advisor for Changing Our World and Omnicom Non-profit Group and spent 26 years with Ketchum, 15 as President and CEO. Mr. Carter is past chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals International, the National Aquarium, and Boys’ Latin School. He has been a trustee for numerous others, including The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and a Certified Fundraising Executive.
Has your organization pioneered an innovative concept, program or initiative that has the potential to transform the lives of individuals living with mental health or substance use challenges? If so, we want to hear from you!

View our call for proposals here!

Take Suicide Off the Table: LSF Launches New Campaign

LSF Health Systems recently launched its largest suicide prevention awareness campaign to date.
The messaging campaign was conceived and created as part of an $800,000 SAMHSA Emergency Response Suicide Prevention grant awarded to LSF at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,000 individuals were screened for suicidality and more than 450 people referred and enrolled in intensive care coordination to reduce their risks. The outcomes were so astounding that Mental Health Resource Center, the behavioral healthcare organization in Duval County where the suicide prevention program is based, was successful in securing another SAMHSA grant to sustain it beyond the initial funding period. Learn more.

Dr. Christine Cauffield Earns Florida Trend Magazine's 2021 Women in Leadership Recognition

LSF Health Systems CEO Dr. Christine Cauffield was named one of Florida Trend Magazine's 2021 Women in Leadership.

The honor, along with a full-page profile story, is featured in the publication's November issue. Cauffield was featured among a handful of Florida's most influential female leaders in business and healthcare.
All Hands on Deck to Meet HUD's November Deadline

It’s a busy time of year for service providers and Continuum of Care (CoC) Lead Agencies who are hard at work responding to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The HUD funds support Homeless Crisis Response Programming, a Coordinated Entry System, Homeless management Information System (data collection), and program operations/services for community agencies serving individuals who are homeless and at risk of homelessness. LSF Health Systems actively participates in 7 Continuum of Care (CoC) coalitions that represent our 23-county region. The CoCs are volunteer-driven organizations responsible for addressing the needs of and supporting the effectiveness of the homeless systems they represent. Service providers have the opportunity to provide input on the needs and priorities of their communities, which may differ not only from  HUD's national lenses, but from CoC to CoC. 
The application process for HUD funds begins in September and concludes on November 16. The Lead Agencies for each CoC are responsible for putting the grant packets together and submitting them to HUD. Michael Blessing, LSF Health Systems’ Regional Director of Housing and Community Inclusion, and Nancy Eisele, Housing System Coordinator, play a key role in supporting this annual process which becomes more technical and competitive every year.  Read More...


LSF Health Systems was recently awarded a five-year, $995,00-per-year federal grant to expand a highly successful mental health screening and intervention program in Central Florida counties including Lake, Sumter and Marion.

The grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration funds expansion of LSF’s innovative SETS (Screen, Engage, and Treat for Success) pilot program that began in 2018. The SETS model uses trained Certified Recovery Peer Specialists, individuals in recovery from substance use disorders, to help overdose survivors and those at risk for overdose in treatment and recovery support services. Peer specialists use an approach called SBIRT (screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment) to determine if patients need inpatient services, outpatient services or other types of treatment. Read More...
Rural Health Summit 2021

Our second annual Rural Substance Abuse and Mental Health Summit welcomed 150 guests at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Gainesville on September 16th with special guest speakers Jodi Pfarr, M.Div., Consultant, Aha! Process, Andrea D. Clements, Ph.D., Professor and Assistant Chair for the Psychology Department at East Tennessee State University, and Tanner Clements, M.Div., Director for Uplift Appalachia and Teaching pastor at Christ-Reconciled Church, Tenn. Thank you to our partners, sponsors, and volunteers who helped make this event a big success!
Drug overdose survivors get second chance at life with peer support in Marion County
When John Pracko arrived at substance use treatment campus Beacon Point in September for alcohol detoxification, he was “a mess,” he said. “I drank every day, like I would drink till I couldn't function basically because I didn’t want to deal with anything,” he said. “But with the help of Beacon Point and all of the support and stuff they’ve given me, I have another opportunity in life right now.” Pracko is one of many Marion County individuals who have benefited from LSF Health Systems’ SETS (Screen, Engage, and Treat for Success) program, where peer specialists, who are in recovery themselves, serve people with substance use disorders. Click here to read this story in the Ocala Star Banner!
LSF Health Systems is one of seven behavioral health Managing Entities (ME) contracted by the Florida Department of Children and Families to manage the state-funded system of behavioral health care for people who face poverty and are without insurance. We serve a 23-county region in Northeast and North Central Florida. We are an arm of Lutheran Services Florida (LSF), a private 501(c)(3) human services agency with more than 35 years of experience helping people in need, regardless of religious affiliation, age or national origin. LSF is accredited by the Council on Accreditation, an international and independent human services accrediting body founded in 1977. To learn more about LSF Health Systems, click here.

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, persons needing special accommodations to participate in any meeting/hearing should contact Fatou Mbaye at 1-904-900-1075 for assistance.

LSF Health Systems 24/7 Access to Care: (877) 229-9098
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
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