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Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia Psychiatry and Allen Communication Win the Gold at Brandon Hall Awards

New training courses for improving the treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders receives prestigious award for Best Custom Content.

SALT LAKE CITY (November 22, 2010) — Brandon Hall Research has awarded their esteemed 2010 Excellence in Learning Gold Award for Best Custom Content to The Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia Psychiatry (CPI), the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene (RFMH), the New York State Offices of Mental Health (OMH) and of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), and Allen Communication Learning Services.

CPI and its partners are being recognized for their exciting new Focus on Integrated Treatment (FIT) training courses. The FIT courses are for mental health and substance use disorder professionals who treat people coping with Co-Occurring mental health and substance use Disorders (COD).

COD is when a person has both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. One of these disorders is hard enough for a person to cope with. The occurrence of both at the same time, while very common, makes it more difficult for the person to get effective treatment.

Michael F. Hogan, PhD, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health said, “Making health care better and more efficient requires specific actions, like helping providers to improve their practices. Using research-proven treatments is one approach, but traditional training is expensive in terms of travel time and taking people away from their duties. FIT offers an alternative: an internet based approach that provides access to national experts and can be used at any time. For this to work, training content must be high quality. This award–along with participation by over 1,000 people in this learning program–proves that FIT is meeting our high expectations.”

The FIT course, a series of web-based-training modules designed by Allen, in collaboration with CPI, OMH, OASAS, the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, and FireDancer Productions, is training mental health professionals on how to integrate the treatment of COD. This eases the burden on mental health and addictions care providers and improves the quality of care for the person seeking help.

Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, said, “Clinicians, supervisors and administrators who take part in this state-of-the-art, online learning are helping us provide critically needed treatment to New Yorkers with co-occurring disorders. We are very fortunate to have such outstanding partnerships to create and support the Focus on Integrated Treatment model. With it we are saving resources, enhancing our services, and most importantly, improving the lives of those who need these services.”

The need for this type of training was very significant. National data show that half of the people with COD don’t receive treatment. A third of people with COD get only mental health or addiction care. Only about one in ten get treatment for both disorders, and only about two percent get care that is evidence-based and integrated. CPI and its partners are using FIT to bridge these divides by training practitioners how to provide effective combined COD treatment.

“We’re very pleased to have this particular course honored with such an esteemed award,” said Ron Zamir, CEO of Allen. “This course is important, not only because it’s a fine example of video technology use in instructional design, but because it is being used to remedy a challenging issue in the mental health profession.”

About Brandon Hall:

The Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Awards program is in its 16th year of recognizing the best in innovative learning content, technology, and initiatives in workplace learning. The Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Awards are owned and operated by Brandon Hall Research.

About The Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene

RFMH, a not-for-profit membership corporation, optimizes the research and training objectives of the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene and its component agencies. Since 1952, RFMH has promoted the widespread availability of evidence-based practices to improve mental health services, ensure accountability, and promote recovery-oriented outcomes for people.

About The Office of Mental Health

OMH, New York State’s mental health authority, plans and delivers high-quality, consumer and family focused treatment and rehabilitative services to adults and children with severe mental illness or emotional disturbance. OMH works closely with government and community mental health services to provide assistance and education that promote recovery and hope.

About Columbia Psychiatry

CP is ranked among the best departments and psychiatric research facilities in the nation. Their distinguished clinicians and researchers are renowned for their outstanding contributions in clinical and research advances in the diagnosis and treatment of depression, suicide, schizophrenia, bipolar and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and childhood psychiatric disorders. Visit for more information.

About the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

OASAS oversees one of the nation’s largest addiction services systems dedicated to prevention, treatment and recovery, with more than 1,550 programs serving over 110,000 New Yorkers on any given day. Addiction is a chronic disease, but New Yorkers can know that help is available by calling the state’s HOPEline, 1-877-8-HOPENY. Please visit OASAS at

About Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center

The Dartmouth PRC conducts interdisciplinary research on services for individuals who have mental illness. The PRC specializes in developing effective interventions under research conditions, then translating these interventions into actual mental health service practices and evaluating their effectiveness in routine practice settings. PRC research incorporates scientific perspectives, including clinical, economic, and ethnographic. Visit for more information.

About FireDancer Productions

FireDancer Productions is a multi-award winning television production company located in Carbondale, CO. FireDancer provides a wide range of services that will smoothly guide a video production from creative concept to successful program. FireDancer is intensely committed to superior quality productions that are “challenging, compelling, and unquestionably effective.” Visit FireDancer on the Web at

About AllenComm:

For three decades, the learning and development experts at Allen Communication Learning Services () have helped many of the world’s largest companies sharpen their organizational performance. Allen expands their client’s capabilities by using progressive approaches in custom training, e-learning, and blended learning development, as well as learning portal development and technologies. This bold approach results in highly-customized organizational training solutions that help departments scale and achieve more, while improving ROI.