The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has designated Rush University Medical Center a Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Disparities in Older Adults. Along with the designation, SAMSHA awarded a five-year, $3.5 million grant to support the center’s work to increase the availability of behavioral health care for vulnerable older adults.
Rush the only institution in the nation SAMSHA chose to be this kind of center, which has been named Engage, Educate, Empower for Equity: E4, The Rush Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Disparities in Older Adults (or E4 Center for short). Led by the Rush Center for Excellence in Aging, the E4 Center will train community-based health care providers to implement evidence (research)-based practices and programs (EBPs) for vulnerable adults who experience the greatest behavioral and physical health disparities.
Specifically, the center will work to reduce behavioral health disparities for older adults in the following SAMHSA strategic priority areas:
- Depression and suicide
- Substance use disorders
- Serious mental illness
- Socioeconomically disadvantaged and underserved ethnic and racial minority groups
To achieve this goal, the E4 Center will employ training and other activities to prepare health care professionals to provide culturally-appropriate EBPs on a large scale. This effort will include working not only with licensed mental health care providers but also community-based organizations, direct care workers and the Aging Network — the system of federal, state and local services designed for older adults.
Across the five-year grant period, the E4 Center anticipates training nearly 3,000 providers each year, for a total of 15,000.
“The E4 Center will have a broad and lasting impact on the care of our most vulnerable older adults with mental health and substance use disorders,” said Erin Emery-Tiburcio, PhD, ABPP, co-director of the Rush Center for Excellence in Aging.
The E4 Center is led by Emery-Tiburcio and Robyn Golden, LCSW, co-director of the Rush Center for Excellence in Aging, who have decades of combined experience working with older adults and developing innovative programs. “Building on work of the Center for Excellence in Aging, we are excited to create E4, which will touch the lives of older adults and families at Rush, in our community, and across the nation,” Emery-Tiburcio said.
To learn more about E4, please contact Emery-Tiburcio at Erin_Emery-Tiburcio@rush.edu.