ALACRITY Center 2.0

Department news | July 5, 2023

Psychosocial clinical interventions are the preferred mode of treatment for most people seeking care for mental health problems – particularly among people of color and those living in poverty in both rural and urban communities – but very few people have access to them because they are difficult to implement in accessible settings like primary care medicine and schools. With a NIMH-funded P50 grant originally awarded to Patricia Areán, PhD, the UW ALACRITY Center has been addressing these critical implementation challenges for the past five years. Now co-directed by Aaron Lyon, PhD, and Sean Munson, PhD, the ALACRITY Center recently received a five-year renewal totaling nearly $10 million to continue its work. Brittany Mosser, MSW, LICSW, continues to manage the Center.

A key difference between the original center and the renewal is that while both focus on non-specialty settings where many people can or prefer to access mental health care, the first iteration focused more on primary care while the renewal focuses on a wider range of accessible non-specialty setting, with a particular emphasis on schools. The Center will develop and test four new solutions for addressing problems in the usability, contextual fit, and engagement of clinical interventions and implementation strategies in primary care and schools. The four projects include testing a decision support tool for Problem Solving Treatment in primary care clinics; creating an implementation strategy to support delivery of classroom supports for students on the autism spectrum; modifying a clinical intervention for youth trauma for use in education settings; and the adaptation of an existing implementation strategy to enhance delivery of school mental health assessment and triage. The Center will continue to support pilot studies over the five-year timeline.

The ALACRITY Center is a terrific example of multidisciplinary collaboration and is a unique partnership among the School of Medicine’s Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Family Medicine, the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering, the Department of Computer Science, the School of Social Work, the School of Public Health and the College of Education. This interdisciplinary approach fosters a comprehensive understanding of mental health challenges and facilitates novel studies to translate research into real-world practices.