March to September 2015
SAMHSA has begun offering Virtual Implementation Academies, and North Carolina was invited to participate in the first one for Substance Use Disorders (SUDs).
North Carolina identified 20 individuals to comprise the team, including representatives from the VA; NC National Guard; the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services; the NC Department of Military and Veteran Affairs; the Governor’s Institute on Substance Abuse; the Alcohol and Drug Council of NC; and the Behavioral Healthcare Resource Program, UNC School of Social Work. March marked the kick-off conference call in which seven states shared their SUDs initiatives and learned about the objectives and framework for the virtual implementation academy. In May, states met both virtually and onsite for two days and identified their priorities and action steps. The NC team identified two priorities—increasing support-seeking behavior and improving the coordination of care and inter-agency collaboration. The team decided to focus on the first priority, by empowering, educating, and creating awareness among SMVF and community stakeholders in order for them to seek SUD services and support through Veteran Peer Support Specialists and myth busting tools. In June, NC team members participated in a three-session virtual learning community, in which they received additional training and technical assistance. In September, the NC team met onsite once more and made progress on identifying strategies for improving training for Veteran Peer Support Specialists and in outlining the goals and content for myth busting tools.