November 2019
Welcome to our iSPARC Nov. 2019 Newsletter!

Registration for these
Upcoming Webinars is Open
WEBINAR: Re-Conceptualizing & Boosting Engagement for Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Needs in Community-Based Services

Date: Tuesday, Nov., 19, 2019
Time: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EST
Presenter: Vanessa Klodnick, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., Youth & Young Adult Services Director of Research & Innovation at Thresholds
Hosted by: The Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research and The Learning and Working RRTC
Register or Find More Information HERE .
WEBINAR: Increasing Therapy Usability for Deaf Sign Language Users

Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST
Presenters:  M elissa L. Anderson, Ph.D. &
Alexander Wilkins, Ph.D. from DeafYES!
During this clinically-oriented webinar, best practices for making therapy interventions more accessible and engaging for Deaf sign language users will be reviewed.
Register or Find More Information HERE.
Improving Practice
The L INK-KID Study

Our new Psychiatry Brief presents the implementation of a highly innovative Centralized Referral System – LINK-KID – developed at the Child Trauma Training Center (CTTC) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The LINK-KID referral system connects children in need of evidence-based trauma treatment with mental health providers who have been trained in these treatments.Implementing a centralized referral system such as LINK-KID can be a powerful tool to improved service. In this study, wait times for first intake were reduced to an average of 40 days, down from 6-12 months. Read more HERE.

Approximately 1 million women in the U.S. have profound hearing loss and use American Sign Language (ASL) as their primary language. Many providers are unfamiliar with the unique linguistic and cultural needs of the Deaf community, therefore Deaf women experience major obstacles to receiving effective physical and mental healthcare. Read about a measure that uses ASL to screen Deaf women for perinatal depression HERE . Watch the corresponding American Sign Language (ASL) video HERE .
Advancing Research
How Should We Decide Whom to Imprison? The Use of Risk Assessment Instruments in Sentencing Decisions  

iSPARC researcher Dr. Gina Vincent, PhD , along with colleagues, aggregated studies that compared imprisonment rates when risk assessment instruments were and were not used.Through a systematic review of the research, they identified 22 studies that included more than a million people who were charged with or convicted of a crime. They then compiled the results by conducting a meta-analysis and a narrative review. Her research has been published in Law & Human Behavior HERE and in the Oct. 27th, 2019 issue of The Conversation as an article entitled "Prisons Are Not the Answer to Preventing Crime". Read it HERE. Learn more about this research HERE .
Changing Policy
Research to Understand Language
Preferences of Persons Using Heroin
Dr. Ekaterina Pivovarova , an iSPARC faculty member, recently published an article in the journal Addiction! entitled, " In their own words: language preferences of individuals who use heroin." As we know, language matters and most people have a preference of using "person first" language. Her research found that label preferences by individuals who use heroin and are in early recovery are consistent with general guidelines about use of first‐person language and suggest avoidance of language indicative of drug misuse or dependence. Read more about Ekaterina's research HERE : The complete article is available HERE .
Empowered to Act
Our New Tip Sheet from Transitions ACR Addresses
Misunderstandings about Mental Health in the Media
Stories in the media, such as those told through the news, TV shows, movies, books, and social media sometimes use incorrect or offensive statements to describe mental health conditions. Unfortunately, these wrong ideas can be taken as facts by people who may not know a lot about mental health. The goal of this tip sheet is to bust these negative ideas about mental health and people with mental health conditions. We make recommendations about language use, explain facts (rather than myths) and include a list of resources for more information. This Tip Sheet was developed as a collaboration between the Massachusetts Statewide Youth Advisory Council (SYAC) and the Learning and Working Center at the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (TACR)  Read more HERE .
Young Adult Corner
New Young Adult Blog Post @ Transitions ACR Website
Our Young Adult team at Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research just posted a new blog called Classroom Friendly Coping Skills about some of the skills and tools you can use in the classroom that don't require "official accommodations". Some ideas presented include the 3-2-1 Grounding Technique and those popular spinner fidget rings. And if you want to know how a frozen orange can help, read our latest blog post HERE.
In The News

Our iSPARC researcher Celine Larkin, Ph.D. recently authored a journal article called “How suicide-bereaved family members experience the inquest process: a qualitative study using thematic analysis” in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being. Her study aimed to explore how suicide-bereaved family members experienced the inquest process, through qualitative semi-structured interviews.Read more about this study HERE .

Marsha Langer Ellison, Ph.D. , our Deputy Director of Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research , recently partnered with the Council on State Governments and the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University, to secure a $4 million four-year cooperative agreement to operate a policy development center focused on youth with disabilities, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more HERE .

In case you missed it, we were recently awarded the third cycle of a 5-Year Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Grant for our Learning and Working Center. The mission of the L&W RRTC is to use the tools of research and knowledge translation to help ensure that policies, programs, and supports for youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions (SMHCs) build the strong cornerstones that support successful long-term adult work lives. This third cycle of the L&W RRTC will conduct a coordinated and comprehensive set of activities. Read more 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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