Announcement Date: August 30, 2018

The Alaska Behavioral Health Association (ABHA), in partnership with the Behavioral Health and Economics Network, the University of Alaska – Anchorage, and the Alaska Department of Behavioral Health, convened on August 30, 2018 to discuss the prospect of collaborating on a data collection initiative between ABHA, the University and State. The purpose of this initiative would be to identify policy solutions to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of behavioral health treatment in the state, ensuring that the mental health and addiction treatment needs of Alaskans are met.

“Twenty-three other states have implemented similar data collaboration initiatives and ABHA is excited for the possibility of Alaska joining them,” said Tom Chard ABHA’s Executive Director. “With leadership from over 50 community mental health and substance use treatment providers across the state, we know the importance of providing access to quality, cost-effective behavioral health treatment. We hope that with our expertise and with the help of the University and State we can further improve access to behavioral health treatment.”

Currently, there is a provider shortage and lack of access to community-based behavioral health treatment in Alaska. Data that illuminate the gaps in treatment, as well as what evidence-based practices need to be implemented to best address these gaps, would be the outcome of this collaboration.

Dr. Joe Parks, Medical Director for the National Council for Behavioral Health who provided the Missouri and national perspectives as examples of the success of similar initiatives said, “The reason you should share data is because what gets measured is what gets done. I have seen how Missouri benefited from such efforts and know Alaska’s behavioral health services would see improvement if an effort was launched here.”

View the presentation by Dr. Joe Parks