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ICRC-S Webinar Series to Start in January 2016: 

Successful Collaborative Research for Suicide Prevention: What Works?

The fourth annual webinar series conducted by the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S), a CDC-funded research center focusing on a public health approach to suicide prevention and research, began on Tuesday, January 12, 2016. A project of the University of Rochester Medical Center and Education Development Center, the ICRC-S draws suicide prevention directly into the domain of public health and injury prevention and links it to complementary approaches to mental health.

To prevent suicide, researchers need community and partner input in all phases of research to enable the development and dissemination of evidence-based and culturally competent interventions. This year's webinar series will explore the important factors that influence collaboration and will share real world experiences from collaborative research projects, including successes and challenges.

Each monthly webinar will be one hour and will provide an opportunity for dialogue with the webinar presenters.

Understanding Adolescent Suicide Attempts: A Research Collaboration among the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Simmons School of Social Work, and Boston Children’s Hospital 

The first of six webinars in the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention's (ICRC-S) 2016 webinar series took place on Tuesday, January 12th from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The speakers for this webinar were members of the Massachusetts team that attended the ICRC-S 2014 Research Training Institute, including Dr. Kimberly O'Brien and Dr. Joanna Almeida, Assistant Professors, Simmons School of Social Work (Boston), and Brandy Brooks of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Suicide Prevention Program. Their collaborative research project focused on understanding the preparatory thoughts, behaviors, and decision-making processes that precipitate adolescent suicide attempts. David B. Goldston, Ph.D., Duke Child and Family Study Center Practice, Duke University, moderated the webinar. Dr. Goldston acted as mentor to the Massachusetts team for 12 months. 

On Friday, August 14, 2015, ICRC-S hosted "Exploring the Impact of Suicide Prevention Research in Social Media," with speakers Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, M.D., Ph.D., M.M.Sc. and Benedikt Till, D.Sc. Recent developments in the field of media and suicide research reflect a change in focus from traditional to online media and an increasing attention to stories of hope and recovery and their potential to help prevent suicide. In this webinar, the presenters focused on their recent research investigating how stories of recovery delivered via newspaper reports and fictional films impact various audiences. Furthermore, they presented findings on the role of the Internet in conveying information about suicide and suicide prevention in the United States and in Europe.

About Our Presenters

Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, M.D., Ph.D., M.M.Sc. is Associate Professor and Head of the Suicide Research Unit of the Institute of Social Medicine, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. He is co-chair of the IASP Media & Suicide Task Force, Co-chair of National Representatives to IASP, and the founding chairman of the interdisciplinary Austrian science platform Wiener Werkstaette for Suicide Research. In this role, he was awarded with the Erwin Ringel Award (Austrian Society for Suicide Prevention) and Hans Rost Award (German Association for Suicide Prevention) for the description of a suicide-protective Papageno effect of media portayals of coping with adverse circumstances. Dr. Niederkrotenthaler is principal investigator in several projects related to media and suicide and has so far written 65 scientific and educational publications in the area of suicide prevention. He is also an independent contractor in the U.S. Lifeline Crisis chat evaluation. From 2011 to 2012, Dr. Niederkrotenthaler worked as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC, Atlanta. In addition, he served as a discussant of Aspirational Goal Number 10 Increasing help-seeking and referrals for at-risk individuals by decreasing stigma in the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention's Research Prioritization Task Force.

Benedikt Till, D.Sc. is an Assistant Professor in the Suicide Research Unit, Institute of Social Medicine, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. He has a doctoral degree in psychology (major: media psychology) and is experienced in quantitative and qualitative research methods. He is also a founding member of the Wiener Werkstaette for Suicide Research, the Austrian platform for interdisciplinary suicide research and prevention. Dr. Till works in the field of media psychology, health communication and suicide research. He has conducted several investigations in the topic area of media and suicide and is author of numerous publications on the role of the mass media in suicidality and suicidal behavior. In 2011, he was the winner of the Star Award of the International Academy of Suicide Research for the best research paper published on suicide by a young researcher. Dr. Till is currently involved in a three-year project investigating the representations and effects of suicide-related websites on Internet users.

On Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time ICRC-S presented “Exploring the Impact of Suicide Prevention Research in Criminal Justice Systems,” with speakers Dr. Marc Swogger of the University of Rochester and Dr. Robert Canning of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Incarceration has been identified as a risk factor for suicide and studies have shown that suicide is significantly higher among people that have had contact with the criminal justice system, even if they were never convicted or served time. In this webinar, Dr. Swogger spoke about psychopathy in relation to substance use treatment, violenceoverall psychopathology, and suicidality in forensic populations. Dr. Canning moderated the webinar and discussed issues of conducting research in prisons.     

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time the ICRC-S hosted the webinar"Exploring the Impact of Suicide Prevention Research in Faith-Based Communities" with speakers Dr. Sherry Molock of George Washington University and Rev. Phyllis Jackson of the Rochester, New York area. Faith communities can work to prevent suicide by enhancing many of the activities that are already central to their mission.   Dr. Molock shared her research on depression and suicidal behaviors in African Americans and the role of faith in healing.   Rev. Jackson talked about her experiences in implementing health ministries as a foundation for suicide prevention. This session was moderated by Dr. Ann Marie White of the University of Rochester Medical Center.  

About Our Presenters

Reverend Sherry Davis Molock, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Dr. Molock graduated with honors from Dartmouth College in 1979, earned a master's degree (1981) and a doctoral degree in clinical/community psychology (1985) from the University of Maryland, College Park. In May 2000, she graduated with honors with a Masters of Divinity degree from Howard University. Dr. Molock teaches undergraduate and doctoral courses in the field of clinical psychology and conducts research on depression and suicidal behaviors in African Americans. Dr. Molock is currently developing HIV and suicide prevention programs for youth in African American churches.  Her work has appeared in a number of professional journals, including the Journal of Black Psychology, the Journal of Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior and the American Psychologist.  She has served on a number of local and national boards, including Adoptive Families of America, the National Organization of People of Color against Suicide (NOPCAS) and the American Association of Suicidology.  She also serves as a grant reviewer for NIMH, NIDA, and SAMHSA.  Dr. Molock and her husband, Guy Molock, Jr., are the founding pastors of the Beloved Community Church in Accokeek, Maryland.

Reverend Phyllis D. Jackson, R.N., B.S. is a registered nurse, an ordained minister, and Pastor at Joint Heirs Kingdom Ministries in Rochester, New York. She is a community engagement specialist at the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency. A focus of her work is engaging faith communities and the community at large around health issues such as cardiovascular health and social determinants.  She is founder and CEO of His Hands Free Community Outreach Center at Grace United Methodist Church.  Rev. Jackson is a founder of the Interdenominational Health Ministry Coalition (IHMC).  IHMC's mission is to establish the truth that health is a spiritual issue, and to promote health and wholeness of mind, body and spirit.  She has been a lead partner of the Renewing of the Mind workshop series that aims to advance awareness of mental health and to support mental health ministries in faith settings. She is certified in gerontology and in HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, and education. She is a certified diversity trainer.  She sits on several boards and serves a variety of local agencies, advising these entities around various topics of health improvement. For instance, she is a member of the African American Health Coalition, as well as the Latino Health Coalition of the Greater Rochester Area.  She works on the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.  She volunteers with the National Kidney Association and works with her local Scleroderma Foundation.  Rev. Jackson has received several community recognition awards.


Ann Marie White, Ed.D. is Director of the Office of Mental Health Promotion (OMHP) and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She leads department-level change initiatives to deepen Psychiatry's community engagement via service, education and research.  OMHP oversees community, consumer and diversity affairs for Psychiatry faculty and staff. Dr. White directs local and national training activities in collaborative research to infuse scientific inquiries with mental health-related policy and program activities of communities. She promotes mental health supporting behaviors, services utilization and mental illness prevention strategies within community-based settings.  She conducts multimedia education to develop civic engagement among youth and young adults from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds. Her research interests focus on successful transitions into adulthood. Her 10+ years of research experiences in developmental psychology emphasized the role of community settings such as childcare, arts centers and after-school programs in the development of children and adolescents.

On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time the ICRC-S conducted the webinar "Exploring the Impact of Suicide Prevention Research in Schools," with speakers Holly Wilcox, Ph.D. of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Peter Wyman, Ph.D. of the University of Rochester Medical Center.  In partnership with families and communities, our nation's schools are obvious places to identify youth at risk of suicide, and they can also play a critical role in preventing youth suicide.  The webinar speakers addressed suicide prevention research that is being conducted in schools, discuss the known impact the research has made, and identify needed research and practice going forward.  This session was moderated by Nathan Belyeu of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. 

Co-Sponsored by the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S) and the University of Michigan Injury Center

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About the webinar:

The ICRC-S presented "Exploring the Impact of Suicide Prevention Research in the Workplace," on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The webinar featured speakers Steven Stack, Ph.D. professor at Wayne State University and Director of the Center for Suicide Research and Allison Milner, Ph.D. Research Fellow at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. The presenters discussed research that is being conducted in the workplace, explaining the impact this research has had, and identifying needed research and practice going forward. Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, CEO of the Carson J. Spencer Foundation and the Workplace Task Force Co-Lead for the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention, moderated this session.

About our presenters:

Dr. Steven Stack is an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Full Professor of Criminal Justice, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. He is also Director of the Center for Suicide Research, a registered nonprofit corporation in Troy, Michigan. Dr. Stack received his PhD degree in Sociology from the University of Connecticut in 1976. He has previously held appointments at Penn State University, Auburn University, Indiana University (Indianapolis), and Alma College. He was Chair of the Criminal Justice Department at Wayne State University, 1994-2001. He has served as Secretary of the American Association of Suicidology and President of the Pennsylvania Sociological Society. He is currently on the editorial board of Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior and Archives of Suicide Research. Dr. Stack is the author of over 300 articles and chapters, and most of these are on risk and protective factors for suicide. His major streams of work include social correlates of suicide acceptability, the relationship between family integration and suicide, religion's protective effect on suicide, analysis of media influences (copycat suicide), musical subcultures and suicide, and occupation and suicide risk.

Dr. Allison Milner is a Research Fellow at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. Her current areas of research include the influence of quality of work, job stress, and unemployment as determinants of mental health and suicidality. Dr. Milner's work ranges across a number of externally-funded etiologic and intervention projects. She has recently been recognized with a Young Tall Poppy Science Award for the State of Victoria, which recognizes her achievements as an outstanding young scientific researcher and communicator. Allison has an honorary appointment at the Population Health Strategic Research Centre at Deakin University.


Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas is a clinical psychologist, mental health advocate, faculty member, and survivor of her brother's suicide, and she sees the issues of suicide prevention and mental health promotion from many perspectives. Currently, she is the CEO of the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, the Survivor Division Director for the American Association of Suicidology, and the Workplace Task Force Co-Lead for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Dr. Spencer-Thomas is a professional speaker and trainer, presenting nationally and internationally on the topic of suicide prevention and has published four books on mental health. 

About the Webinar

The Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S), a CDC-funded research center focusing on a public health approach to suicide prevention and research, began its third annual webinar series on January 20, 2015.  A project of the University of Rochester Medical Center and Education Development Center, the ICRC-S draws suicide prevention directly into the domain of public health and injury prevention and links it to complementary approaches to mental health. 

The settings which will be addressed in this year's ICRC-S webinar series, Exploring the Impact of Suicide Prevention Research in Multiple Settings, will include:

  • Health Care
  • Schools
  • Faith-Based Organizations
  • The Justice System
  • The Workplace
  • Social Media

Each monthly webinar will be one hour and will provide an opportunity for dialogue with the webinar presenters.

The first webinar in the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention's (ICRC-S) 2015 webinar series took place on Tuesday, January 20th from 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  The speakers for this webinar were Eric Caine, M.D., ICRC-S Director and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester, and Jane Pearson, Ph.D., Chair, Suicide Research Consortium, National Institute of Mental Health.  Dr. Caine and Dr. Pearson launched this series with an overview of the impact of research on national goals for suicide prevention. They discussed the efforts of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the 2014 work of the Research Prioritization Task Force, and the links between research and practice. Jerry Reed, Ph.D., M.S.W., ICRC-S Co-Director and Director of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, moderated. 

About Our Presenters

Eric Caine, M.D.

Eric Caine, M.D. has served since 1996 as John Romano Professor and Chair, URMC Department of Psychiatry, and Co-Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide (CSPS) since its founding in 1998.  He has deep experience in the evaluation, management, and aftercare of acutely suicidal individuals, dating to the 1970s.  In the past, he worked as a year-round inpatient hospitalist for nearly a decade and as an outpatient psychiatrist for more than two decades.  He participated in >100 psychological autopsies as part of a team that worked with the Office of the Medical Examiner, Monroe County, NY.  Dr. Caine has had continuous NIH funding since 1983.  For nearly two decades, he has focused on public health approaches to suicide prevention and has led these efforts through CSPS.  He was PI of a NIH-supported collaborative consensus process on public health approaches to prevention, funded from 2001-05 by a coalition of NIMH, NIAAA, NIDA, NINR, NICHD, SAMSHA, and CDC, and a NIMH Research Education Grant (R25) from 2005-10 that supported the training and development of multiple graduate and post-graduate suicide researchers, as well as community partnership teams.  From 2004-2010, Dr. Caine led the NIMH/NIDA funded Center for Public Health and Population Interventions for Preventing Suicide, which spawned a wide variety of ongoing grants, and he now directs the CDC-funded Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S), the only such center in the United States devoted to suicide prevention.  Its mission is to merge injury prevention and mental health perspectives to forge new public health, community oriented approaches to preventing suicide, attempted suicide, and their antecedent risks. 

Jane Pearson, Ph.D.

Jane Pearson, Ph.D., chairs the National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) Suicide Research Consortium.  She is the Associate Director for Preventive Interventions in the Division of Services and Intervention Research, and she is currently leading the staffing for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Research Prioritization Task Force.   Dr. Pearson serves as the National Institutes of Health representative to the DHHS Federal Steering Group on Suicide Prevention. She assisted in the development of the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Suicide and the first National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.  She served as a member of the Veterans Administration Blue Ribbon Workgroup on Suicide Prevention.   Dr. Pearson is an adjunct associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, a recipient of a U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary's Award, the American Association of Suicidology Marsha Linehan Award for Treatment Research, and a Public Service award from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.   She has had a private practice in clinical psychology, and has authored papers on the ethical and methodological challenges of suicide research.


Jerry Reed, Ph.D., M.S.W.

Jerry Reed, Ph.D., M.S.W., began serving as the Director of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center in July 2008.  Through this work, he provides state and local officials, grantees, policymakers, interested stakeholders and the general public with assistance in developing, implementing and evaluating programs and strategies to prevent suicide. As a member of the Executive Committee of the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, Dr. Reed co-led the task force with the Surgeon General that updated the U.S. National Strategy for Suicide Prevention in 2012.  Additionally, Dr. Reed serves as the Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Injury, Violence and Suicide overseeing multiple projects and also serves as Co-Director of the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention with partners at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  His interests include geriatrics, mental health, suicide prevention, global violence prevention and public policy.  Dr. Reed received a Ph.D. in Health Related Sciences with an emphasis in Gerontology from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 2007.  His research topic addressed variation among states in crude rates of older adult male suicide.


Stephen Russell, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Interim Director, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences. President, Society for Research on Adolescence 

Ann Haas, Ph.D., Senior Consultant, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., ACSW, Director, Family Acceptance Project, San Francisco State University

Moderator: Julie Ebin, Ed.M., Senior Prevention Specialist, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, EDC


In its efforts to address behavioral health disparities, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has prioritized the goal of suicide prevention among vulnerable populations, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. Despite strong indications of elevated risk of suicidal behavior in LGBT people, limited attention has been given to research, interventions, or suicide prevention programs targeting these populations. This webinar will offer participants up-to-date information about what is already known about LGBT suicide risk across the lifespan as well as what is being done to improve future research.  

Dr. Russell will report on the findings of an expert panel focused on the need to better understand suicidal behavior and suicide risk in sexual minority populations.  He will summarize existing research findings; he will also share recommendations for addressing knowledge gaps and applying current knowledge to relevant areas of suicide prevention practice.

Dr. Haas's presentation will focus on recent efforts to address the critical need for valid, generalizable data on the sexual orientation and gender identity of individuals who die by suicide. This will include a  brief review of how the lack of systematic data about suicide mortality among (LGBT) people significantly limits our understanding of suicide risk in these populations, and hence our ability to develop and implement appropriate and effective intervention and prevention strategies. Recently, agencies and organizations responsible for collecting and reporting on mortality data convened to address this challenge. Dr. Haas will report on the outcome of this meeting and describe the next steps in a ground-breaking effort to determine the manner and causes of suicide mortality among LGBT people. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of opportunities for participants to become involved in this work.   

Dr. Ryan will provide information about recent developments in the Family Acceptance Project, a research, intervention, education and policy project that helps ethnically and religiously diverse families to support their LGBT children in the context of their family, culture, and faith communities. This research-based family support model includes counseling strategies, assessment tools, and multicultural family education materials to help parents, foster parents, and caregivers prevent health risks, including suicide, and promote their LGBT children's well-being. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Review what is known about suicide risk among LGBT populations across the lifespan.
  • Identify gaps in research and describe how this impacts our understanding of the scope of the problem and design of prevention strategies.   
  • Describe new work to develop and test a protocol for collecting postmortem data on sexual orientation and gender identity. 
  • Explain a research-based health and mental health family support model that helps ethnically- and religiously-diverse families to support their LGBT children. 
  • Identify relevant resources available to researchers and practitioners.

Following the webinar, SPRC created a question box for you to submit questions related to the presentation. Our presenters have responded to a sample of your questions. The answers have been compiled in this document: ICRC-S & SPRC Q & A with Panelists.

Dr. Kim Van Orden presented the latest research on the epidemiology and public health significance of late-life suicide. She provided an overview of risk and protective factors and models for integrating these factors. She concluded with what is known about how to intervene to prevent late-life suicide.

Kim Van Orden, PhD is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She is a clinical psychologist and her research addresses the role of social connectedness in the etiology and prevention of late-life suicide. In particular, a substantial portion of her work involves applying the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide to understand the mechanisms of late-life suicide prevention. She is co-author of the book, The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working with Suicidal Clients. She is the Project Director of and Co-Investigator on a CDC-funded randomized trial of peer companionship for older adults. She is currently awarded a career development award from NIMH to study the psychosocial mechanisms whereby a behavioral intervention reduces suicide risk in older adults. Kim also maintains an active clinical practice providing cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy to older adults.

This webinar began with a discussion about moving from "research and practice" to practical research. Dr. Lezine presented background information about the language used around suicidal behavior, the epidemiology of those behaviors in the U.S., and possible risk and protective factors. Research efforts were framed within guidance from the Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention, and connected to related international work. The presentation also highlighted the shift from using suicide attempt survivors as research subjects to engaging them as partners in the development and implementation of new studies.
In addition to considering ways to move research into practice, the webinar considered ways to improve and/or promote promising practices through research and evaluation. Concepts such as help-seeking and help-giving were be proposed as prompts for community input as well as outcomes (i.e., asking the community "what would help?"). Ideas from individuals who lived through a suicidal experience were provided on topics from peer support and connectedness to hospitalization and medication. Finally, the webinar discussed the emerging emphasis on protective factors and moving from "high risk suicide prevention" to high stakes life promotion".

Youth suicide is a prevalent issue in North America, and is the third leading cause of death for all young people on the continent. The problem is even worse for rural Indigenous youth, for whom suicide is the second leading cause of mortality. Some Indigenous communities suffer from the highest youth suicide rates in the world, while others have rates far below the national average. These community-level differences suggest potentially important areas for intervention. In this webinar, presenters Birdie Trainor and Lisa Wexler described some of the challenges to approaching suicide prevention one individual at a time, particularly for Indigenous communities, and offered some alternative strategies that utilize a broader approach to prevention. The presentation identified evidence-based interventions that focus on broad-based injury prevention principles, described some promising approaches that build on community-level support systems and service-system infrastructure that are in development in one Indigenous rural region of Alaska, and shared current suicide prevention research relevant to Indigenous communities (Wexler & Gone, 2012; Wexler, 2009). 

Presenters: Bridie Trainor and Lisa Wexler

A tribal member of Nome Eskimo, Bridie Trainor earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Bridie has worked in residential treatment centers with women, children, and teens in Alaska and New Mexico. Bridie has been Director of Kawerak Wellness since 2009. Kawerak, Inc. is a tribal non-profit representing the twenty tribes of the Bering Strait Region including people of Inupiaq, Yupik, and St. Lawrence Island Yupik descent. Lisa M. Wexler, Ph.D., MSW, is an associate professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her current work often utilizes participatory and digital methods to engage young people in research as co-investigators and help new projects build linkages between formal and informal systems of care and support in tribal and other marginalized communities.

Dr. John Bartkowski, Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and evaluator of the Mississippi Youth Suicide Prevention Project, Shatter the Silence, will discuss accomplishments and challenges related to the implementation and evaluation of Mississippi’s youth suicide prevention initiative. Although Shatter the Silence will guide much of this discussion, broader lessons pertaining to various types of youth risk prevention programs will also be addressed. Drawing on more than a decade of experience working with state agencies and community-based organizations, Dr. Bartkowski will pinpoint successful strategies for overcoming cultural barriers and resource constraints related to program implementation and evaluation.

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize and disseminate best practices in collaborations among state agencies, community-based organizations, and universities
  • Identify and adopt strategies for overcoming cultural barriers and resource constraints with respect to program implementation and evaluation