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Improving Rural Behavioral Health 

School of Social Welfare Dean Lynn Warner

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 30, 2018) -- The Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation has announced that University at Albany School of Social Welfare Dean Lynn Warner has been selected for the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) Program. Designed for teams of two researchers and one community leader, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders support engaged research, crafted and conducted by innovative teams to explore a problem and apply a solution in real time, making an immediate positive impact in their communities. The three-year program provides participants with annual support of $25,000 and a one-time research grant of up to $125,000 per team.

As a member of the program’s newest cohort, Warner will focus on the impact of health care payment reforms on accessibility to culturally competent behavioral health services in rural upstate New York. The other researcher on the team is Matt Spitzmueller from Syracuse University, and the community leader is Deceil Moore from Citizen Advocates North Star Behavioral Health.

“Rural behavioral health services target a population that is uniquely vulnerable, costly to serve, and difficult to reach. When this population is not effectively engaged, health disparities worsen and untreated illnesses put added pressure on health and social service systems,” said Warner. “Right now, with rapidly evolving changes in health care delivery in New York state, there are serious concerns about the ability of rural behavioral health agencies to thrive. My team will collaborate with local behavioral health organizations to identify and evaluate adaptations that will ensure they are valued partners in the systems of care in the North Country.”

The IRL program is one of four RWJ Foundation leadership development programs. They are all designed to equip leaders across the country—in every sector and field—to collaborate, break down silos, and use their influence to make communities healthier and more equitable. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the network of cutting-edge thinkers who are being supported to accelerate our impact on the policies and practices that will significantly contribute to health equity,” said Warner.

To learn more about the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) Program, RWJF’s other leadership development programs, and to meet other participants, visit http://interdisciplinaryresearch-leaders.org/.

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