January 2018
In This Issue
Who We Are
As a Massachusetts
Department of Mental Health Research Center of Excellence, SPARC aims to improve the mental and behavioral health of all citizens of Massachusetts and beyond.
Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research 
promotes the full participation in socially valued roles of transition-age youth and young adults (ages 14-30) with serious mental health conditions.
What We Do
SPARC and the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research are 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. 
Tell Us What You Think
We want to hear from you!
If you are interested in knowing more about a particular area of research or want to collaborate with us, please let us know .
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Stay Connected

Upcoming Events
Don't miss our February 6th webinar featuring Chuck Lidz, Ph.D.!

Improving Informed Consent to Clinical Research

Clinical research participants are often described as having therapeutic misconception when they lack adequate appreciation of one or more essential differences between clinical research and usual medical care. Therapeutic misconception creates a tension between the need to protect the rights of individual participants and the  importance of promoting research that advances the public good. Little attention has been paid to studying ways to reduce therapeutic misconception. Learn more in our upcoming webinar! 

Date & Time: 
February 6, 2018 
1:00PM to 2:00PM EST

Register here!


SPARC and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Commonwealth Research Center will be hosting the annual Massachusetts DMH Research Centers of Excellence Conference on Thursday, March 29, 2018 at UMass Medical School in Worcester. This year's focus is on Person-Centered Integrated Care. Stay tuned for more details! 

Find materials for previous years here.


In March, SPARC and the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research researchers will be presenting at the 31st Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health in Tampa, FL. The to Adulthood Center for Research will also be hosting our 2018 Youth & Young Adult Mental Health State-of-the-Science Conference during the larger conference.
Find Out What's Happening at SPARC
Our Top 5 Products of 2017
In the News
In August 2017, SPARC Director, Maryann Davis, Ph.D., was one of 14 national experts appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC). In its first report to Congress, released in December 2017, the Committee shines a spotlight on critical issues and needed services for Americans living with serious mental illness and serious emotional disturbances, and the importance of concerted efforts by the federal government to address these issues. The report presents the current status of federal activities, a summary of advances in the care and treatment, and research and strategies to improve services for individuals with serious mental illness/emotional disturbances.

Watch the December 14 press  conference  about the  ISMICC Report to Congress 2017 .  Get the full report of The Way Forward: Federal Action for a System That Works for All People Living With SMI and SED and Their Families and Caregivers on SAMHSA's website .

SoAP Podcast by Ekaterina Pivovarova, Ph.D. 
Dr. Ekaterina Pivovarova's Using Drug Treatment Courts to Manage Substance Use Disorders podcast addresses:
  • Developing an understanding about the importance of addressing substance use disorders in criminal justice populations,
  • Exploring the efficacy of drug treatment courts and ways of improving retention in existing programs, and
  • Understanding the relationship between comorbid medical conditions, addiction, and quality of life in criminal justice populations.

Listen to the podcast

Want to learn more about Dr. Pivovarova's work? Find it here.
Hot off the Press!
The Family Model provides clinicians  and  managers with a
brief, accessible, and practical approach that supports collaborative ways of working with individuals and their families in which one or more members experience mental illness. It can be used as a tool to foster engagement and facilitate thought about connections between symptoms and relationships, while highlighting a family's strengths and difficulties.

Enhancing Family Communication in Families Where a Parent has a Mental Illness discusses the Think Family-Whole Family Programme, which differs from other interventions by putting a central focus on fostering effective communication within families. This can enhance families' understanding of parental mental illness and how it affects behavior and relationships, help families jointly set goals for recovery, and enable more supportive interactions among family members.
Like these? See our other products on parent and family mental health.

Learn about a SPARC study that aims to improve Deaf people's trust and involvement in biomedical research. The Deaf ACCESS: Adapting Consent through Community Engagement and State-of-the-art Simulation project is led by Melissa Anderson from SPARC and Co-Investigator Timothy Riker from Brown University. See the companion ASL video here.

Read more about the Deaf ACCESS study here .
In the Community
Physical and mental health go hand-in-hand. Check out these personal wellness videos developed by SPARC's Mental Health Experienced & Years of Understanding (MHE & YOU) Advisory Council. 

Find out more about our Wellness program and products.
Keep Informed