The Annapolis Coalition Logo.jpg

July 2021

Celebrating 20 years of promoting the behavioral health workforce

Homepage collage.png

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Executive Director, Gail W. Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN

Incredible! It has been 20 years since the Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce was founded. The need for the group arose from the perceived crisis in the field and the desire to shape a better trajectory for this compelling issue. I might ask each of you reading this to consider how much progress you think has actually been made over those two decades of time. 

Today we are emerging from the multiple impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the considerable toll it has taken on the physical and mental health of children and adults throughout the country. In some respects, the need for quality mental health care has never been greater, yet the shortage of qualified providers is at an all-time low. Clearly much work remains to be done.

And so it was that the Annapolis Coalition “doubled down” during the pandemic and maintained our critical work as we:

·      Continued to engage in focused activities with various stakeholders,

·      Re-energized our E-newsletter, and

·      Redesigned and enhanced our website

I encourage you to go to our expanded website where all of the work we have accomplished in the past years is accessible, and our ongoing activities are described. And if you have thoughts or ideas you would like to share with us, please do so from the contact link on our front page. We always want to keep the dialogue going as we both critically look back and strategically look forward!

Michael T Flaherty cropped.jpg

The Post COVID-19 Behavioral Workforce Challenge

by Michael T. Flaherty, Ph.D.

Board Chair, Annapolis Coalition of Behavioral Health Workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic has identified and catalyzed unprecedented needs and changes that must be made in today’s behavioral health care and its workforce.

During the pandemic 4 in 10 adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, and unmet mental health care needs increased from 9.2% to 11.7% in our population. The largest were unmet needs in young adults, ages 18-29, with less than a high school education (1). Despite a loosening of supportive medication management and increased pre-pandemic focus, overdose deaths exceeded a record 90,000 in 2020 (2, 3), with increased physical vulnerability for those with SUD (4). While largely transitioning to telehealth, treatment capacity for substance use remained at about only 10% for those in need (3). Interestingly, while traditional treatment sequestered, access to a variety of support groups (via telehealth) grew over 30% during COVID-19, offering 24/7 international contact and support (5).

The compelling questions that arise from our COVID-19 experience are how has it impacted our behavioral health services and science, and how can we become a better system and more skilled workforce? (Read more...)

Copy of Larke Nahme Huang_ Ph.D. _1_.png

Annapolis Coalition Welcomes Dr. Larke Huang and Dr. Stan Huey to Board of Directors


The Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce recently announced the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors: Larke Nahme Huang, Ph.D., and Stan Huey, Ph.D.


“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Huang and Dr. Huey to our Board of Directors,” said Mike Flaherty, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Their work in the behavioral health field will help guide our mission to strengthen a diverse, equitable and inclusive behavioral health workforce to improve health and healthcare.” (Read more about Drs. Huang and Huey here...)

Annapolis Coalition Reviews Learning Collaboratives

The Annapolis Coalition was commissioned by the National Coordinating Office of the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network to conduct a review of learning collaboratives. Learning collaboratives have been widely used in general healthcare and in behavioral health as a strategy for quality improvement and implementation of evidence-based practices. This review was to assist technical assistance providers in better understanding and using this approach to change management. It addresses these questions:

  • What are learning collaboratives?
  • What is the evidence for their effectiveness?
  • What are their key elements?
  • How have they been applied in behavioral health?
  • What are best practices for use in behavioral health?

The review concludes with a summary of key findings and a set of recommendations for technical assistance providers, a list of resources and a webinar. Read the summary, download the reports and watch the webinar here.

Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Don't miss out on future issues -- sign up here to join our mailing list.

Newsletter Sign-up

Visit us at