Research

Research Overview

MHLP strives to develop new knowledge and to disseminate this information to address some of society's most challenging problems. We use advanced methods of training, technical assistance, and knowledge dissemination to promote application of research related to behavioral health and justice issues. Key research initiatives examine court-based and other diversion programs, interventions that address substance use and co-occurring mental disorders, managed care and other delivery and finance mechanisms for Medicaid-funded behavioral health services, ethical issues among vulnerable research populations, pharmacy management approaches for Medicaid recipients, legal processes involving persons with mental disorders, treatment and reentry services in jails and prisons, and innovative strategies for veterans and homeless persons who have behavioral health disorders.

Current Projects:

Hillsborough County Enhanced Jail Diversion Program (EJDP) Evaluation

The purpose of the Enhanced Jail Diversion Program (EJDP) is to expand the existing Hillsborough county mental health jail divesion program to divert adults with serious mental illness or co-occuring disorders from the criminal justice system to community-based services prior to arrest and booking, with special consideration for veterans and active military members.  USF is the project evaluator, responsible for developing a system and/or process that captures all necessary relevant data to the program evaluation; geerating reports for program management and improvement; providing data and other information for SAMHSA required reporting; and investigating issues related to program process and outcomes.

Assisted Outpatient Treatment Grant Program for Individuals with SMI

The purpose of the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Grant Program is to increase capacity of services and evidence-based health services to individuals who have a serious mental illness (SMI) and have been court-ordered to receive treatment services.  Serious mental illness includes those with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, delusional disorder, and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Individuals with SMI have higher rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension, which negatively affect their quality of life and life expectancy.  In addition, symptoms associated with SMI often impair therapeutic compliance and self-care, resulting in higher rates of morbidity and mortality.  The goals of the program are to reduce Baker Act readmission rates, reduce interactions with law enforcement due to non-compliance with court orders, improve integration with primary medical care and preventive health services, and integrate key community programs including the jail diversion program.  USF serves as the evaluator of the program to determine effectivess of the interventions.

A Multi-State Evaluation of Extreme Risk Protection Orders: Implementation, Outcomes, and Jurisdictional Variations

Emergency Risk Protection Orders (ERPOS) recently proliferated in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shootings, after only existing in one state (Connecticut) for many years (starting in 1999). From March 2018 to December 2019 there were 5,074 petitions for ERPOs in Florida. USF is participating in the six-state study of ERPOS (CA, CO, CT, FL, MD, and WA) via a subcontract with Michigan State University. The focus of this study is to describe the implementation of ERPOs in states with ERPO laws that are different from each other, as well as to look at certain outcomes (such as suicide) pre and post ERPO implementation. This study will include obtaining and coding ERPO court documents, coding these documents, linking the identifiers from these ERPO documents to involuntary (Baker Act) examination data, and analyzing the ERPO coding and Baker Act data for people with ERPOs.

  • Principal Investigator:  Annette Christy, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  The National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research / Michigan State University

Baker Act Reporting Center

In partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families, USF operates the Baker Act Reporting Center. This Center has been in existence since 1996 and is the only center of its kind in the country. The Baker Act Reporting Center receives documents from mandated reporters, enters data from them, stores the documents electronically, and produces reports from the data, and provides technical assistance to the Florida Department of Children and Families and other stakeholders about our data specifically and the Baker Act generally. The Baker Act Reporting Center receives and enters data from forms for over 200,000 involuntary (Baker Act) examinations each year that are submitted by Baker Act receiving facilities and over 40,000 documents received from Clerks of Court statewide for longer-term civil commitment.

  • Principal Investigator:  Annette Christy, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  Florida Dept of Children & Families

Enhancing the Care Transitions Intervention with Peer Support to Reduce Disparities 

Unplanned hospital readmissions represent a critical failure of the healthcare system, perpetuate health disparities, and are the single largest driver of excess healthcare costs. Hospital readmissions are particularly prevalent among older adults; patients aged 60 and older account for nearly 60% of all unplanned readmissions. Racial/ethnic disparities in readmission rates are profound and are the greatest among African American and Latino/Hispanic older adults. The Care Transitions Intervention (CTI) is a non-clinical coaching strategy that occurs in the hospital, home, and via telephone for 28 days post-discharge. The Enhancing the Care Transitions Intervention with Peer Support to Reduce Disparities project is a three-armed randomized controlled trial of CTI alone, CTI + Peer Support (PS), and usual care (UC) to compare readmissions occurring within 6 months (assessed at 30 days, 90 days, and 6 months) in a high-risk minority sample of 201 African Americans and 201 Latino/Hispanics (age 60+) who are living with a chronic physical illness (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, COPD etc.). Study participants are recruited from three partner hospitals in South/Central Florida (2 urban hospitals and 1 rural hospital). 

  • Principal InvestigatorKyaien Conner, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)

Pinellas County Strategic Information Sharing Partnership 

The goal of this program is to support the implementation, enhancement, and proactive use of opioid data monitoring programs to obtain real-time/timely data collection from key stakeholders to better articulate the current state of opioid misuse.  

  • Principal Investigator:  Charles Dion, MA
  • Funding Agency:  Pinellas County 

Pinellas Data Collaborative 

USF provides Data Collaborative personnel to compile, maintain and update the Data Collaborative integrated data system and respond to report requests made by the Data Collaborative Steering Committee.

  • Principal Investigator:  Charles Dion, MA
  • Funding Agency:  Pinellas County 

Do More Feel Better: 3/3 Lay-delivered Behavioral Activation in Senior Citizens

The Do More, Feel Better project uses Behavioral Activation delivered by lay volunteers to address the large numbers of senior center clients who suffer untreated depression.  The focus of Behavioral Activation is to guide clients to reengage in daily pleasant and rewarding activities, and reduce depressive symptoms.  The goal is to determine if the lay delivery model has positive impact in comparison to MSW-delivered Behavioral Activation, leading to an effective intervention that can be used by a large untapped workforce of older adult volunteers across the nation.

  • Principal Investigator Amber Gum, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  National Institute of Mental Health

State Opioid Response Technical Assistance (SOR TA)

This project provides technical assistance to the Pinellas County Opioid Task Force by implementing a decision support tool using agent-based modeling. 

  • Principal Investigator:  Kimberly Johnson, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  SAMHSA / American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry / University of Missouri at Kansas City

Mentoring Emerging Scientists for Careers in Substance Use Research misuse and treatment services outcomes among justice involved adolescents

The purpose of this project is to investigate and diseeminate the mechanisms underlying potential racial/ethnic and sex disparities in substance use disorder treatment services among justice-involved adolescents, a health disparity population prone to suffer harsher consequences from substance misuse.  This study integrates a sociological theory of health disparities (the stress process model), a sociological framework for measuring unmet treatment needs (the cascade of care), and advanced quantitative methods (mediation analysis in structural equation modeling).

  • Principal InvestigatorMicah Johnson, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  National Institutes of Health / University of California, San Fransicco

Examining the Stress Processes Relating Ethnicity and Sex to Substance Misuse and Services Outcomes (ESPRESSO)

The purpose of this project is to investigate and disseminate the mechanisms underlying racial/ethnic and sex disparities in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services among minors in the criminal justice system, called justice-involved adolescents (JIA). JIA have an elevated risk for substance misuse and SUD that indicate a critical need for diagnosing and treating SUD. Consequences of untreated SUD in adolescence include incarceration/recidivism, violence, risky sexual behavior, as well as poor educational, occupational, and psychological outcomes, and early death. Only a portion of juveniles who meet diagnostic criteria for SUD are referred for clinical diagnosis, initiate treatment, and complete treatment. Although racial/ethnic minorities and females in the juvenile justice system can suffer harsher consequences from unmet treatment needs, some evidence indicate racial/ethnic and sex disparities in treatment services.

  • Principal InvestigatorMicah Johnson, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  National Institute on Drug Abuse

The Substance Misuse and Addiction Research Traineeship (SMART)

The key to an inclusive, heterogeneous and highly-skilled research community is to develop comprehensive initiatives that recruit, train, and cultivate burgeoning under-represented minorities and disadvantaged scholars early in their education.  The Substance Misuse and Addiction Research Traineeship (SMART) program is a comprehensive recruitment and research education program to enhance diversity in the next generation of substance abuse and addiction scientists.

  • Principal InvestigatorMicah Johnson, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  National Institutes of Health

Scientific training in addiction research techiques (START) for gifted future investigators from historically underrepresented and underserved backgrounds

  • Principal InvestigatorMicah Johnson, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  National Institute of Health / University of Vermont and State Agricultural College

Up To Me:  Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness on College Campuses

  • Principal InvestigatorKristin Kosyluk, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  DHHS Administration for Community Living / National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research

Criminal Justice - Kentucky CAN HEAL (Communities and Networks Helping End Additional Long-term)

The Kentucky CAN (Communities and Networks) HEAL (Helping End Addiction Longterm) [KCH] study is a large-scale, community intervention project submitted in response to the HEALing Communities request for proposals to “test the immediate impact of implementing an integrated set of evidence-based interventions” with the aim of reducing opioid overdose deaths by 40% in three years. Dr. McGladrey will be responsible for designing and managing standard operating procedures for implementation of evidence-based practices in criminal justice settings and conduct of criminal justice related research activities. Expected results include successful implementation of evidence-based practices prioritized by HCS KY coalitions for criminal justice agencies within study timelines and development of scientific papers from research activities.

  • Principal InvestigatorMargaret McGladrey, PhD
  • Funding Agency:  National Institutes of Health / University of Kentucky Research Foundation

Florida Best Practice Psychotherapeutic Medication Guidelines

Principal Investigator:  Marie McPherson, MBA
Funding Agency:  Florida Department of Health

Statewide Pediatric Psychiatric Consultaton Hotline Quality Improvement

Principal Investigator:  Marie McPherson, MBA
Funding Agency:  Florida Department of Health

Behavioral Health Hub Expansion: Collier County

Principal Investigator:  Marie McPherson, MBA
Funding Agency:  Florida Department of Health

Statewide Psychiatric Consultation Hotline Implementation

Principal Investigator:  Marie McPherson, MBA
Funding Agency:  Florida Department of Health

Summer Research Institute at the Florida Mental Health Institute (SRI@FMHI)

Principal InvestigatorKathleen Moore, PhD
Funding Agency:  National Institute on Drug Abuse

Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office, Inc. (DACCO) Family Treatment Services

Principal Investigator:  Kathleen Moore, PhD
Funding Agency: DACCO Behavioral Health, Inc.

Effects of remote motivational enhancement and MySafeRX on post-detox engagement and retention in buprenorphine treatment

Principal Investigator:  Kathleen Moore, PhD
Funding Agency: Department of Health and Human Services / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Marchman Act Drug Court Enhancement

Principal Investigator:  Kathleen Moore, PhD
Funding Agency: 13th Judicial Court Hillsborough County

Evaluation of Family Dependency Treatment Court (FDTC)

Principal Investigator:  Kathleen Moore, PhD
Funding Agency: 13th Judicial Court Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County Early Childhood Court Sequential Intercept Mapping

Principal Investigator:  Kathleen Moore, PhD
Funding Agency: 13th Judicial Court Hillsborough County

Process Evaluaton of Tampa Bay Thrives Let's Talk Program 

Principal Investigator:  Kathleen Moore, PhD
Funding Agency: Tampa Bay Thrives

Research Examining Factors Associated with the Opioid Crisis among Underserved African Americans (REFOCUS)

Principal Investigator:  Khary Rigg, PhD
Funding Agency: National Institutes of Health / University of Kentucky Research Foundation

Adapting and Testing an Intervention for Families with a Parent in Methadone Treatment

Principal Investigator:  Khary Rigg, PhD
Funding Agency:  Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts

Criminal Justice, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Technical Assistance Center

Principal Investigator:  Abigail Shockley
Funding Agency: Florida Dept of Children & Families

VA CIS IPA for On-Line Curriculum Revisions

Principal InvestigatorMatthew Scott Young, PhD
Funding Agency: Dept of Veterans Affairs / James A. Haley Veterans Hospital

Low Demand Safe Havens Project

Principal Investigator:  Matthew Scott Young, PhD
Funding Agency: Dept of Veterans Affairs 

Evaluation of Meridian Behavioral Healthcare Supportive Services for Veteran's Families Program

Principal Investigator:  Matthew Scott Young, PhD
Funding Agency: Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.