RRI News

Lastest News from Pathways RTC


Recently, Pathways RTC staff produced two new consumer-friendly publications that are available for free download:

The Center also produced other publications over the past quarter.  Project EASA staff co-authored a brief report (Development and testing of the First-Episode Psychosis Services Fidelity Scale) in Psychiatric Services. Additionally, the Center was notified that two articles originally published online in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research would be published in print. These articles are part of the Special Section of the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, edited by Pathways staff, entitled “Positive developmental strategies for engaging emerging adults and improving outcomes.”
The Center also hosted a webinar on supporting the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth.  The webinar slides and recording can be found on the Pathways RTC website.  
Finally, our Strategic Sharing Workbook was referenced in a new guidance publication from SAMHSA.  
If you have any questions about the latest from Pathways RTC, please contact John Ossowski, Dissemination Manager via email.

Pathway RTC Researcher Featured in New York Times


Tamara Sale is the director of care for Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA) and principal investigator in EASA Connections, a Pathways RTC project.  This project brings together young adults who have been part of Oregon's early psychosis initiative to develop a peer-delivered series of web-based decision support tools for new individuals entering into early psychosis services.

Tamara was featured in a December 28, 2015 New York Times article that focused on early psychosis intervention.  

Read the article >>

New $33+ Million Contract for Training and Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Behavioral Health

Portland State University’s Regional Research Institute (RRI)announced today that it is part of a new contract awarded to the University of Maryland School of Social Work by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to serve as the National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health, operated by the National Technical Assistance Network for Children’s Behavioral Health (TA Network).  The TA Network, a partnership of 14 universities and organizations across the country, will provide training and technical assistance to all states, tribes, territories, and communities with Children’s Mental Health Initiative, System of Care Expansion Implementation, and System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Cooperative Agreements, as well as to states, tribes, territories and communities without grant awards. 
Dr. Janet Walker is the lead for the TA Network at PSU. Staff from the RRI’s Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, National Wraparound Initiative, and EASA Center for Excellence will have key roles in the work. These staff members include Dr. Nancy Koroloff, Dr. Jennifer Blakeslee, John Ossowski, Tamara Sale, Donna Fleming and Dr. Ryan Melton.
The Institute for Innovation & Implementation at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work serves as the coordinating entity and centralized contact for The TA Network.  In addition to Portland State University and the University of Maryland, the TA Network includes 13 core partners: Case Western Reserve University, Center for Innovative Practices; The Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.; The Family-Run Executive Director Leadership Association (FREDLA); Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development Center; Human Service Collaborative;  Management & Training Innovations; The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA); Tufts Medical Center; Policy Research Associates,  National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ); the University of South Florida, College of Community and Behavioral Science, Department of Child and Family Studies, in partnership with The Center for Community Learning and Selena Webster-Bass; the University of Washington; and, Youth M.O.V.E. (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience) National.  
In addition to its core partners, the TA Network includes a rich, diverse group of advisors, consultants and other resource organizations.  The TA Network has extensive expertise in cultural and linguistic competence; family and youth engagement and leadership; tribal systems of care support; policy, system design, and financing; clinical best practices, Wraparound, and workforce development; and early intervention and behavioral health integration. 
“The TA Network includes the foremost leaders and designers of children’s systems with years of experience developing, guiding and implementing reforms in the very states that our nation looks to as effective models.  We know that jurisdictions across the country are seeking top tier policy, financing, and system design support to ensure they can capitalize on the opportunities being made to them through the Affordable Care Act, Title IV-E Waivers, and other government reform initiatives.  We also know that, to keep relevant, technical assistance providers must have hands-on knowledge and experience to support states struggling with design and implementation efforts necessary to improve outcomes for children, youth and families; we have created a model for training and technical assistance that embraces this,” reflects Michelle Zabel, Director of the TA Network.
To sign-up to receive the TA Network’s weekly e-mail with highlights of resources, grants, conferences, and upcoming events, send an e-mail to TANetwork@ssw.umaryland.edu.  Like the TA Network on Facebook (CBHInfo) and follow the TA Network on Twitter (@CBHinfo). 

Pathways Researcher Featured in Article on Early Intervention in Schizophrenia

Tamara Sale, Director of Oregon's Early Assessment and Support Alliance and Pathways researcher, is featured in this Highline article about the benefits of early intervention in treatment of schizophrenia.
For more information about early intervention for psychosis, please see Pathways Project EASA Connections and Oregon's Early Assessment and Support Alliance (EASA).

Pathways RTC presents at the National Wraparound Implementation Academy


Janet Walker, Celeste Siebel. Mary Welch and others from Pathways RTC lead a workshop at the National Wraparound Implementation Center's first training academy. Their workshop provided knowledge about training and supporting young people who provide peer support.  The workshop was also supported by input from Youth MOVE and Kairos.  

The National Wraparound Implementation Academy was attended by over 200 participants from around the country.  It was held at PSU from July 14th through the 15th.


New Publications and Resources from Pathwways RTC


Congratulations go out to Pathways RTC researchers with recent publications!  Here's a list of the latest releases:

Nicolaidis, C., Raymaker, D.M., McDonald, K.E., Baggs, A.E.V., Dern, S., Kapp, S.K., Weiner, M., Boisclair, C., Ashkenazy, E. “Respect the way I need to communicate with you”: Healthcare experiences of adults on the autism spectrum. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice. In press.

Nicolaidis, C., Raymaker, D.M. (2015). Community based participatory research with communities defined by race, ethnicity, and disability: Translating theory to practice. In H. Bradbury (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Action Research (pp. 167 - 179). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Walker, J. S., Koroloff, N., & Mehess, S. J. (2015). Community and state systems change associated with the Healthy Transitions Initiative. Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 42 (2), 254-271.

The Work-Life Integration for Families with Children & Youth with Disabilities team has also been hard at work.  Recently, they made available a series of resources for parent support providers who need to balance work and family responsibilities.  You can access all of these resources and more from their project page.


New Publications from Pathways RTC


Researchers at Pathways RTC have been hard at work!  Three new publications were recently made available online:

Brennan, E. M., Nygren, P., Stephens, R. L., & Croskey, A. (2015). Predicting positive education outcomes for emerging adults in systems of care. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research. Online first: DOI: 10.1007/s11414-015-9454-y
Walker, J. S., & Flower, K. M. (2015). Provider Perspectives on Principle-Adherent Practice in Empirically Supported Interventions for Emerging Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, DOI: 10.1007/s11414-015-9465-8. 
Brennan, E. M., Rosenzweig, J. M., Jivanjee, P., & Stewart, L. M. (2015). Challenges and supports for employed parents of children and youth with special needs. In T. D. Allen & L. T. Eby (Eds.), Oxford handbook of work and family. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Available online
You can read authors' manuscripts of the first two on the Pathways web site.  And you can keep abreast of all the latest publications from Pathways RTC from our home page (see the "Recent Publications" section).

EASA presentation in Washington, DC


On Monday, 5/11, Tamara Sale, Director of the EASA Center of Excellence, spoke at the early psychosis Congressional briefing. The briefings were sponsored and organized by the National Council for Behavioral Health and National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

About EASA: The Oregon Early Assessment and Support Alliance, or EASA, recognizes that when you first experience psychosis you’re not likely to make it to a mental health center. EASA educates the community about the early signs of psychosis, and reaches out in a flexible and persistent way to engage with the young person when symptoms first occur. EASA focuses on supporting and partnering with the family, and provides a range of intensive services including medical, counseling, occupational therapy and school and work supports. EASA works with schools and employers, and helps young people gain the understanding, resources and support they need to successfully carry on with their lives.

New Pathways RTC Staff

Pathways RTC extends a warm welcome to three new members of our team, Amy Bass, Dora Raymaker and Nicholas Bukea.  Learn more about Amy, Dora and Nick below - and be sure to introduce yourself when you see them at the RRI:
Amy Bass received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Oregon in 2012 and is currently pursuing her master's degree at PSU in Post-secondary, Adult, and Continuing Education with a specialization in higher education and organizational change. Assisting students experiencing mental health crises in her previous position as an administrative assistant at the Center for Student Health and Counseling at PSU strongly influenced her beliefs that student academic success is integrally linked to mental and physical health. She was initially drawn to her administrative role at the RRI because the goals and projects of Pathways RTC fall in step with her own personal beliefs about mental health and education. Amy is very pleased to be a supportive part of the RRI and she's excited to help create positive changes in mental health research and services targeted towards young adults. 
Dora Raymaker, PhD, is a systems scientist engaged in multiple services research projects in collaboration with individuals with disabilities and mental health conditions. Most recently, she began working with EASA Connections as Project Coordinator. Her interests include community-engaged practice, measurement adaptation and knowledge translation, and dynamics at the intersection of science, society, and public policy. In addition to her work at the Regional Research Institute, she co-directs the Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education.
Nicholas Bukea is a young adult with lived experience with the mental health system. He is a board member of EASA (Early Assessment and Support Alliance), an organization that provides early intervention and support to young people in the early stages of serious mental illness. Nick works as a research assistant on the Systems/Policy and Change (S/PAC) project at the Pathways to Positive Futures Research and Training Center at Portland State University. Nick joined the team because he has a passion for giving back to the system that has helped him recover from psychosis.  

EASA on Kink 101.9 fm


Identifying mental illness early means less recovery time, fewer visits to the emergency room, less homelessness and productive lives for people living well with a brain disease. Half of all mental illness has its start before age 14. Now, an innovative program seeks to provide intervention and services before psychosis sets in. Here's more information about EASA

Research from Pathways RTC published in Special Issue of the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research


Researchers from Pathways RTC have collaborated with others to produce a special issue of the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research.  This issue presents new findings that build the knowledge-base around interventions for young adults with serious mental health conditions.  Ahead of the print journal, the following articles are presently available on-line:

Walker, J. S., Brennan, E. M., Jivanjee, P., Koroloff, N., & Moser, C. L. (2015). Introduction to the special issue: Empirically-based interventions for emerging adults with serious mental health conditions. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11414-015-9456-9.
Walker, J. S. (2015). A theory of change for positive developmental approaches to improving outcomes among emerging adults with serious mental health conditions. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11414-015-9455-x.
Geenan, S., Powers, L. E., Phillips, L. A. (2015). Better Futures: A randomized field test of a model for supporting young people in foster care with mental health challenges to participate in higher education. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11414-014-9451-6.
Friesen, B. J., Cross, T. L., Jivanjee, P., Thirstrup, A., Bandurraga, A., Gowen, L. K., Rountree, J. (2015). Meeting the transition needs of urban American Indian / Alaska Native youth through culturally based services. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11414-014-9447-2.
Walker, J. S., Koroloff, N., Mehess, S. J. (2015). Community and state systems change associated with the Healthy Transitions Initiative. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 42(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11414-014-9452-5.


2014 Oregon General Assistance Study presented to State Ways and Means Committee


RRI researchers Karen Cellarius and Sandy Leotti traveled to Salem on February 11th to present their findings from a study of the need for reinstating state General Assistance funds for childless adults with severe disabilities who are waiting to qualify for federal disability benefits. Research Team members included: 

  • Mary Oschwald -- P.I.
  • Karen Cellarius -- Co-P.I.
  • Sandra Leotti -- Research Assistant
  • Kelly Gray -- Research Assistant
  • Vicky Mazzone -- Office Support
  • Holly Hein --  Graphic Design and editing
Click here to access the report.


New publication from Pathways RTC: Article on Supporting Youth to Participate in Higher Education


Pathways RTC Futures project aims to improve post-secondary preparation and participation of youth in foster care with mental health challenges.  This new article highlights positive outcomes from an intervention involving a Summer Institute, individual peer coaching and mentoring workshops. 

EASA project on KINK 101.9 FM Jan 14th


Tamara Sale from the EASA Center for Excellence discussed the Center and its work with Sheila Hamilton on the KINK morning show "Sheila and Dan".  The interview was conducted on Wednesday, January 14th.   Link to the interview below - 



Director Susan Richardson invited to Whitehouse

An office of the White House has invited Reclaiming Future’s Executive Director Susan Richardson to address a gathering of policy makers, researchers and practitioners on the interplay of academic achievement, juvenile justice and substance abuse.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy and the US Department of Education are together hosting the summit June 10th in Washington, DC.  Conference organizer Meredith L. DeFraites, who is an ONDCP Criminal Justice Policy Adviser, said:  "There will be about 30 people at the table - high level federal officials and leaders of national and regional organizations interested in moving on the issue. It's by invitation only."
Reclaiming Futures is a juvenile justice reform initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Headquartered at the Regional Research Institute within the PSU School of Social Work, Reclaiming Futures now has 39 sites in 18 states.

Suicide Bereavement Support Group Offered

The Disability Awareness Resource Team (DART) offers a NEW support group for anyone who has lost a family member or friend to suicide.  The bi-weekly support groups seek to provide a safe space for people to connect over shared experiences and offer mutual support. The groups will be facilitated by Rose Savage, an experienced group facilitator who has grieved the loss of someone by suicide.   The first meeting is Thursday March 27th from 2:30-4:30 and will be held at the Portland State University/Regional Research Institute (1600 SW 4th Ave. Suite 900 Portland, OR 97201). If you or someone you know would benefit from the bereavement group, please contact Jill Tucker, DART Coordinator (503) 725-4160 or jillrtucker@gmail.com

SSW and RRI Represented at Tampa Conference

Janet Walker, faculty in the School of Social work and the Regional Research Institute, presented an invited plenary entitled "Wraparound for a New Era" at the 27th Children’s Mental Health Research and Policy Conference in Tampa, FL on March 4, 2014, together with Eric J. Bruns, Michelle Zabel, Elizabeth Manley, Madeline Lozowski, and Jody Levison-Johnson. 

Portland State University program for foster youth ranked one of the best in the nation


Author: John Kirkland
Posted: January 29, 2014

My Life, a project of the Regional Research Institute at Portland State University’s (PSU) School of Social Work that helps youths transition from foster care to adulthood, was selected last week as one of the top programs of its kind in the United States by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) in Washington, D.C.
CSSP is a national, nonprofit organization working to shape public policy to improve the lives of children, families and communities. It conducted a national search for initiatives that are making a critical difference in the lives of youth in foster care or the child welfare system.  The PSU program was one of 15 chosen out of a field of 130.
CSSP said the 15 programs are models of effectiveness, and that it will use them in its efforts to help influence program and public policy changes across the country. 
“These 15 programs represent organizations and agencies that are achieving outcomes that are truly improving the well-being of very vulnerable youth,” said Susan Notkin, CSSP associate director. “They share a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities adolescents face, the impact of trauma they have experienced, and the commitment needed to stick with them no matter what.”
Youth in foster care, about 50 percent of whom receive special education services, often face many problems during young adulthood, including unemployment, difficulty getting into college, homelessness, and mental health issues.
Since it began in 2009, My Life has helped more than 250 Portland-area teens, 16 and older, by providing weekly coaching to help them learn and apply skills to identify and reach their goals.  Skills taught include problem solving, finding resources, building connections with adult allies, and managing discouragement. 
Teens in the My Life program are coached over a one-year period. During that time, they also attend several workshops with other My Life youth and adult mentors who were in foster care.
“My Life is the first program for youth exiting foster care in the nation that is being rigorously tested to determine whether providing youth in foster care with self-determination experiences and skills that will help them to successfully move into adult life,” said PSU professor Laurie Powers, co-leader of the program with principal investigator Sarah Geenen.
Read more at Oregon Live


Said Amali joins RRI staff, Qatari colleagues visit


Said Amali, Ph.D., is joining the RRI as Co-Investigator and Project Manager for a new project, entitled "Exploring Factors Linked to Qatari Post-Secondary Students’ Academic Persistence and Success." For the month of January, two collaborating researchers from Qatar University--Dr. Batoul Kalifa and Dr. Bardeya Al-Ammari--will be visiting the RRI to help get the collaborative project underway.  Ahlan wa Sahlan!

John D. Ossowski Joins The National Wraparound Initiative


Welcome to our new Project Manager, John D. Ossowski, MS, LMSW, Research Associate. John is a graduate of the State University of New York and Portland State University. John earned his MSW from Portland State, specializing in community-based practice and social sustainability. His career has bridged the fields of education and social work with at-risk, underrepresented youth. He views the National Wraparound Initiative through a sustainability lens because of the Initiative’s focus on the self-determination and well-being of future generations – both primary requirements for a sustainable society.