Texas Kicks Off Mental Health System Transformation Activities
March 1, 2006
Deputy Commissioner for Behavioral and Community Health of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Dr. David Wanser, convened the first public meeting of the state's mental health system transformation project on January 25, 2006.
Dr. Wanser introduced the initiative's project director, Vijay Ganju, Ph.D., who will be leaving the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors' Research Institute to head the program.
Two major foci of the project were outlined by Dr. Wanser. First, transformation will be brought to the community level with the goal of fostering local behavioral health collaboratives. The Texas Institute for Health Policy Research will work with several communities around the state to promote inter-agency partnerships on key mental health topics such as jail diversion.
The second focus of the transformation project is on using information technology to improve inter-agency communication. An information management system will be developed to facilitate cross-agency communication at the state and local level.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded Texas $2,730,000 in September 2005 for the first year of the five-year grant to transform the state's public system in accordance with the goals put forth in the final report of the President's New Freedom Commission.
Throughout the grant period, the transformation project will convene regular meetings, which will be open to the public. The next meeting will be held in early March 2006.
In recognition of the transformation project's major significance to the state, the Hogg Foundation will stay abreast of its progress and provide periodic updates on its activities in this newsletter in the coming months.