Addiction Health Services: A Role for Social Work Researchers
Thursday, January 16, 2014: 3:30 PM-5:15 PM
HBG Convention Center, Room 103B Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
Cluster: Substance Misuse and Addictive Behaviors
Joseph J. Shields, PhD, The Catholic University of America
In recent years the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have committed themselves to support a broad program of scientific research to support decisions that policy-makers, payers, clinicians, and consumers make regarding the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders. The Institutes define health services “(as) a multidisciplinary field of inquiry, both basic and applied, that examines how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal beliefs and behaviors affect access to and utilization of healthcare, the quality and cost of healthcare, and in the end our health and well-being. Ultimately, the goals of health services research are to identify the most effective ways to organize, manage, finance and deliver high quality care” (NIDA, 2004; NIAAA, 2007). This symposium will consist of an overview presentation and three papers that address different aspects of behavioral health services research. We will review the background to addictions health services research and show how social work’s historical focus on researching real world problems from a solution focused, person-in-environment approach can contribute positively to the addictions health services research. We will then explore the role that social workers can play in developing innovative and important research in prevention and treatment services including understanding the role of health disparities in the delivery of services, improving the dissemination and adoption of research findings, comparing the relative effectiveness of interventions from a social work perspective, and organizing care to address chronic conditions.
The three papers that make up this symposium focus on key aspects of health services research. The first paper addresses the important issue of financing of services. Given the dramatic changes that will occur in the addictions health care industry as a result of the Affordable Care Act it is important that social workers be aware of financial factors that influence service delivery. The second paper focuses on management and supervision issues. These will become crucial areas of concern as services expand. The third paper focuses on organization factors and patient characteristics that influence the availability of social services and mental health services in methadone programs. It is important that social workers recognize and respond to the contextual factors that influence service delivery.
The overall goal of this symposium will be to encourage social work researchers to consider important questions of health services in developing their research programs.
* noted as presenting author