The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announces its Native American Service to Science Initiative. Service to Science is a national initiative operated by SAMHSA’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies and is dedicated to enhancing the evaluation capacity of innovative programs and practices that aim to prevent substance abuse and related mental and behavioral health problems or the underlying factors associated with increased risk. The Native American Service to Science initiative is an ancillary project of the Service to Science Initiative and is implemented by SAMHSA’s Native American Center for Excellence (NACE) and Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT). The Native American Service to Science Initiative assists tribal program developers, implementers, and evaluators in applying more rigorous evaluation methodologies to their work. Ultimately, the initiative supports tribal prevention efforts by increasing the number of programs that meet evidence-based standards.
Tribal programs must complete an application to be considered for the
Native American Service to Science Initiative.
Applications and all support documents are available by following this link: 2013 NA STS Initiative Applications must be received no later than March 25, 2013.
Please send all applications to Lynn Burns, NACE Executive Project Specialist as an email attachment to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax at: (240) 328-6170
The Purpose of the Native American Service to Science Initiative
Over the last decade, SAMHSA has emphasized the use of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to prevent substance abuse and address critical mental health needs. This emphasis is central to SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework, a five-step planning model based on epidemiological needs assessment, capacity building, planning, implementation, and evaluation. SAMHSA also recognizes that many innovative programs do not have the ability to demonstrate effectiveness, due to factors including a lack of resources or difficulties conceptualizing and designing evaluation. To build evaluation capacity at the local level for tribal communities, SAMHSA has established the Native American Service to Science Initiative, with the explicit long-range goals of:
- Supporting innovative tribal interventions seeking to demonstrate and document evidence of effectiveness.
- Increasing the number and array of EBIs from which tribal communities can select to address substance abuse.
The Service to Science Approach
Similar to the national initiative, the Native American Service to Science Initiative offers a combination of
face-to-face and electronic technical assistance (TA), tailored to meet the unique evaluation needs and readiness of participating programs. Using an intensive, hands-on approach, experienced TA providers work one-on-one with participants, matching services provided to evolving program needs.
Benefits of Participation
Pending the availability of FY2013 funds, selected programs will participate in the FY2013 Native American Service to Science Initiative and, in so doing, may benefit from:
- Access to evaluation experts as well as to others implementing locally developed and innovative prevention programs
- Enhanced and significantly improved program evaluation capacity
- Improved programmatic approaches informed by evaluation findings
- Eligibility for competitive subcontract awards to enhance evaluation methodologies
- Greater quality of submissions to national, evidence-based program registries, such as SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practice (NREPP)
Previous Participants’ Accomplishments
- Application and acceptance to national evidence-based program registries such as SAMHSA’s NREPP
- Presentations of program’s successes at national conferences
- Publication of reports and journal articles documenting program achievements
- Additional funding leveraged from federal or other sources
Some Areas of Technical Assistance
Participating programs receive various types of assistance from their TA providers to meet each program’s specific needs. Some examples of TA include consultation from TA providers on how to:
- Develop culturally appropriate logic models that link program goals and objectives to outcomes
- Design mixed-method data collection procedures
- Identify, develop, and adapt appropriate evaluation measures and instruments
- Apply procedures to protect the rights of evaluation participants
- Conduct qualitative and quantitative data analyses
- Hire and/or work with an evaluator
- Explore issues of innovation, adaptation, and fidelity
- Understand criteria for participation in SAMHSA’s NREPP
Who is Eligible?
Eligible participants include practitioners or local evaluators who represent innovative tribal prevention programs interested in demonstrating their program’s effectiveness using more rigorous evaluation methods. To be eligible for Service to Science, programs must be:
- Focused on the prevention of substance abuse and, if relevant, related behavioral health problems. The program should not focus on the treatment of individuals diagnosed with mental illness or substance abuse disorders.
- Innovative in design or focus—that is, embody prevention approaches resulting from experience in the tribal community and be distinguished by their creativity, originality, and utility. Programs must also be a first-time recipient of any Service to Science services.
- Responsive to community needs. Programs must address local substance abuse prevention.
- Informed by practical experience. Participating programs are developed with or informed by input from the Native American populations served and/or based on practical experience working with the Native American population in the setting in which the program is delivered.
- Focused on alleviating behavioral health disparities. Participating programs must target
American Indian or Alaskan Native populations affected by substance abuse, or by substance abuse associated with trauma and mental health problems.
- Committed to evaluation. Programs must be willing to dedicate the effort and time required to enhancing the rigor of program evaluation. Pending the availability of FY2013 funds, participating programs will work collaboratively with assigned evaluation experts for five to six days within a 12-month period. During this time, participants will also work independently to implement recommendations made by the evaluation experts. Thus, programs must have a funding level sufficient to operate for at least one year and be ready and eager to build evaluation capacity.
In addition to the above criteria, SAMHSA is interested in programs that address SAMHSA Strategic Initiative (SSI) #1: Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness, Goals 1 – 4. These goals include the following:
- With primary prevention as the focus, build emotional health, prevent or delay onset of, and mitigate symptoms and complications from substance abuse and mental illness.
- Prevent or reduce consequences of underage drinking and adult problem drinking.
- Prevent suicides and attempted suicides.
- Reduce prescription drug misuse and abuse.
For more information on the SAMHSA Strategic Initiatives, go to http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA11-4629/01-FullDocument.pdf