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Announcing new Development Center for Enhancing Evidence-Based Supported Employment with Technology

Sarah Lord, Ph.D., Director of Dissemination and Implementation at CTBH, and colleagues at the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center (PRC) were recently awarded a 5-year development center grant from the Department of Education, National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research. This grant will support the development of an integrated suite of technology-based tools and a data management system to enhance the delivery of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) supported employment.

Over the past 25 years, researchers at the Dartmouth PRC have firmly established the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment as an evidence-based practice to help people with serious mental illness obtain competitive employment and succeed as steady workers. The model embraces a community-based team support approach that encourages collaboration between consumer clients and teams comprised of employment specialists, vocational rehabilitation and mental health counselors, families and employers. The IPS model has been widely adopted nationally and internationally. A major mental health organization in Europe, Mental Health Europe, recently urged the European Union to adopt IPS supported employment for all young people with serious mental illness.

Information technology is the key to expanding access to IPS supported employment and building efficiencies in delivery of the intervention in the face of increasingly diminishing financial resources. This new Center combines the multi-disciplinary expertise, experience, and creativity of the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center and the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health. A range of technology-based self-management, collaboration, and data management products will be developed as part of an overall platform, called the IPS Management System, to enhance the availability, consumer-centeredness, service quality, expansion, effectiveness, and efficiency of vocational services for people with serious mental illness. Future implementation plans include adaptation of the technology platform to enhance IPS supported employment for individuals with other serious disabilities, including chronic back pain, spinal cord injury, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.