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Solano County receives national recognition from the American Association of Medical Colleges for improving access to mental health services for underserved populations
June 17, 2022
SOLANO COUNTY – The Solano County Behavioral Health (SCBH) completed a five-year Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funded Innovation Plan that has received local, state, and national accolades for its effort to address mental health disparities. The project, called the Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Cultural Transformation Model (ICCTM) Innovation Project, received second place in the 2022 “Innovations that Bolster Community Trust in Science Award” from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).
The ICCTM Project will be highlighted as the first case example listed in the third edition of the Principals of Community Engagement which is a publication currently being developed by the National Institute of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. This publication is available in English and Spanish and is used worldwide as a guide for best practices related to engaging communities in identifying strategies to address health concerns and disparities.
In addition to this prestigious award and national recognition, the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) recently approved the use of COVID funding to scale the ICCTM Innovation Project to all California counties. The project’s strategies will be implemented through a statewide ICCTM Learning Collaborative, which will be delivered in partnership by SCBH and the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities (CRHD). SCBH will be providing individualized mentorship and consultation in four counties, including Los Angeles, Fresno, Kern and Marin, each who have made a commitment to a practicum engaging identified underserved communities in their counties during the course of the Learning Collaborative.
The ICCTM project was active from 2016 to 2021, and SCBH partnered with UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities (CRHD), three local community-based organizations, including Rio Vista CARE, Fighting Back Partnership, and Solano Pride Center, and most importantly community members in Solano County to implement the MHSA Innovation funded project.
The ICCTM Project was anchored in the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care community engagement practices. The goal was to implement strategies to increase access and utilization for services for County-specific underserved populations that had historically been shown to have low mental health services utilization rates in Solano County identified as the Latino, Filipino, and LGBTQ+ communities.
The five-year ICCTM Innovation Project was implemented in three phases:
- A comprehensive cultural needs assessment using a community engagement approach
- The development of a Solano-specific training curriculum and community-defined quality improvement (QI) action plans using the national CLAS Standards as a framework
- Refinement and implementation of the QI action plans
“What UC Davis Health, CRHD and the County and community partners have accomplished with this unique collaboration is nothing short of remarkable,” said Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, the CRHD Director. “This is one of the most meaningful projects I’ve been involved with in my entire career because of the way in which we collectively increased access and utilization of much-needed mental health services for populations that have been historically underserved.”
Through the ICCTM Project fourteen (14) community-defined QI action plans were developed and focused on improved community engagement, workforce development and training. For example, one of the QI actions plans “Takin CLAS to the Schools” supported the funding and implementation of culturally responsive School-Based Wellness Centers on forty-five (45) K-12 and adult education sites across Solano County. Another example of a QI action plan was the development of a community friendly resource guide called the “TRUEcare Promoter Roadmap” QI action plan intended to provide information for community members about the availability of a variety of specialty services in their preferred language. For more information on the QI action plans see the most recent update here.
“As a result of the ICCTM Project, we are now using an equity lens in all things we do, from outreach to service delivery,” said Tracy Lacey, Solano County Senior Manager and MHSA Coordinator.
Some of the more significant outcomes of the project included:
· The SCBH 24/7 Access Line received an increase in calls from an average of 1,601 callers per year prior to the project, to 2,066 callers per year after the project ended
· Access line use among Solano County residents increased by 29 percent, and was higher among the three communities of focus
o Filipinx increased calls by 32 percent
o Latinx increased calls by 41 percent
o LGTBQ+ increased calls by 309 percent
· LGBTQ+ consumers doubled their usage of outpatient services from 4 to 8 percent
The ICCTM project has resulted in the transformation of the SCBH’s service delivery, policies, contracting process and hiring practices. Ms. Lacey added, “In addition to increasing access to care for the three communities of focus, we are most proud of taking a community that was often invisible and creating environments where people can be seen as their authentic selves,” in reference to our LGBTQ+ community. As a result, our mental health teams are much more responsive to the behavioral health needs of the populations they serve in general and underserved populations. The Solano County (ICCTM) Innovations Project: Final Evaluation Report provides more detailed information regarding the project methods, implementation, outcomes, and proposed next steps.
ABOUT SOLANO COUNTY BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
Solano County Behavioral Health assists over 6,000 children, youth and adults each year who are experiencing a psychiatric crisis, addiction, or who have significant mental and emotional disabilities. Visit our website and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@SolanoCountyBH)