My broad area of research interest is psychiatric rehabilitation, focusing on adults with severe mental illnesses. I believe mental health services should be based on the best available evidence and address the skills and supports consumers of those services need in order to manage illnesses more independently and achieve recovery goals. My work addresses the level of consumers, staff, and mental health programs.
At the consumer level, living successfully with chronic health conditions requires that consumers become active collaborators in illness management. I have been developing a program of research to address this area using the Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) program. IMR is a curriculum-based approach to helping consumers set and achieve personal recovery goals and acquire the knowledge and skills to independently manage their illnesses. IMR brings together five empirically supported interventions: psychoeducation, cognitive-behavioral approaches to medication adherence, relapse prevention, social skills training, and coping skills training (http://act.psych.iupui.edu/content/illness-management-and-recovery). We have completed several studies of this intervention including a randomized controlled trial of IMR for people with schizophrenia funded by the VA. I collaborate with colleagues who study measures of fidelity, supervision, and ways to better implement these practices here and abroad.
Mental health providers work under a great deal of pressure, often without much support or financial incentives. Turnover rates are high, and burnout can be a large problem. My dissertation was focused on understanding staff burnout, and recently I have returned to this topic. Working with colleagues across the country, we developed a staff burnout intervention and have begun testing the program (called BREATHE). Our pilot work showed promising results, and we are expanding this research into more rigorous testing of the intervention over longer periods of time. We currently have federal funding by NIMH, VA and PCORI to more rigorously test the BREATHE intervention. We have begun to adapt BREATHE for a number of other professions, including cancer care and primary care providers, librarians, and probation officers. I have also been conducting work on staff beliefs and attitudes about recovery because this can be a critical part of helping consumers in their own recovery.
At the program level, I am interested in how to help mental health service providers deliver services that are based on the best research evidence. Much of my work in this area has been with Assertive Community Treatment. At the program level, we provide training and consultation, we measure program implementation (fidelity) and consumer outcomes, and we work with policy makers to help establishing funding that will encourage evidence-based practice. See the ACT Center of Indiana website for more information(http://act.psych.iupui.edu/) about our research, faculty, staff, and students.