The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research and Policy has obtained two Health Resources and Services Administration Agreements to fund research centers.
The creation of the Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center will be funded by a $4.5 million award over five years and led by Director Brianna Lombardi and Deputy Director Lisa de Saxe Zerden. The center will house the only federally funded workforce center specifically focused on the behavioral health workforce.
Behavioral health needs in the United States are at an all-time high due to the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing opioid crisis, and the chronic shortage of available mental health and disorder services. related to substance use. Only half of those who need behavioral health treatment receive care. For members of underserved communities and vulnerable populations, access to behavioral health treatments is even more challenging.
The lack of a well-trained and positioned behavioral health workforce that reflects the community they serve is a persistent barrier to accessing behavioral health services. The composition of the behavioral health workforce is complicated by variations in disciplines and settings, educational background, licensure, scope of practice regulations, and reimbursement issues, making estimation difficult. the needs, sufficiency and distribution of behavioral health personnel. The UNC Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center (UNC-BHWRC) will conduct rigorous, evidence-based research that will inform policy and planning to strengthen the behavioral health workforce and increase access to services quality provided by practitioners from diverse backgrounds. UNC-BHWRC will generate the evidence needed to inform funding programs and strengthen training that improves the access, supply, distribution, diversity, and quality of behavioral health workers.
Additionally, the Sheps Center is thrilled to announce that the Health Workforce Research and Policy Program has received a five-year, $2.25 million award to support the Carolina Health Workforce Research Center (CHWRC). The CHWRC, established in 2013 and led by Erin Fraher, focuses on a wide range of emerging health workforce topics. This year, the CHWRC will conduct research on: the changing number and composition of the country’s health workforce in response to the pandemic and changing models of care delivery and payment; organizational, professional and societal factors that contribute to provider well-being and job satisfaction; the interprofessional, team-based models of care needed to provide integrated primary, behavioral health, and social care to underserved populations; and the contributions of historically black colleges and universities to the diversity of the medical workforce.