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Health Services Research & Development

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2009 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract

National Meeting 2009

2006 — Implementing a Randomized Trial of a Peer Support Recovery Group for Veterans with Mental Illness

Eisen SV (Bedford COE), Clark JA (Bedford COE), Mueller L (Bedford MIRECC), Fratus W (Bedford VA ), Bottonari K (Bedford COE)

Workshop Objectives:
The objectives of this workshop are to present and discuss the many challenges and rewards entailed in implementing a randomized clinical trial of a peer support group intervention (Vet-to-Vet) for veterans with mental illness, and to generate recommendations for successful implementation. This randomized trial is funded by the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service (RR&D). The President’s New Freedom Commission Report on Mental Health and the VHA plan for improving mental health care recommend transforming the mental health system to focus on recovery. Peer/consumer support groups, which provide a forum for mutual acceptance, empowerment, information, education, advocacy, skills training, and community reintegration are an important component of this plan.

Activities will include brief presentations from four workshop presenters, each representing different aspects and perspectives on implementation of the study. Each presenter will then raise questions for discussion by the audience which will lead to recommendations and guidelines for successful implementation. Dr. Sue Eisen, Principal Investigator, will present an overview of the study design and methodology as well as the steps taken to work with a wide range of programs to facilitate implementation. Dr. Jack Clark, co-PI, will present the qualitative aspects of the study and lead discussion of how qualitative data can complement, supplement, and sometimes contradict quantitative study results. Dr. Lisa Mueller, co-investigator, will present the process of coordinating with the Peer Advisory Committee for the purposes of implementing this study, and lead a discussion on the potential outcomes of partnering with peer facilitators for researchers and clinicians in the field of psychosocial rehabilitation. Mr. Warren Fratus, peer specialist, will present and lead discussion of the impact of the peer facilitator role on the mental health of peer facilitators, and potential needs for clinical support.

Target Audience:
Researchers, clinicians, or program directors/administrators interested in mental health services, peers as providers, and consumer/provider partnership programs.

Assumed Audience Familiarity with Topic:
No familiarity with the topic is required, although some familiarity with implementation of clinical trials, mental health services in VA, and/or use of peer/consumer providers in mental health services or other health/illness conditions would be useful.

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