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MFH grant marks major milestone for St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health

A grant from Missouri Foundation for Health will help bolster a new initiative from Places for People with a goal of improving the overall public behavioral health system.

MFH awarded the St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health $900,000 over three years, beginning in July 2020.

The Center of Excellence will strengthen the capability of the behavioral health workforce in St. Louis and beyond through a variety of knowledge dissemination and related activities.

A primary goal of the Center of Excellence is to increase access to evidence-based practices and improve client outcomes, while enhancing the recovery-orientation and effectiveness of the regional system of care.

Places for People, in collaboration with a number of key regional stakeholders, will operate the Center of Excellence.

“We believe the St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence will help to raise all boats in our community to create healthier outcomes for community members living with mental illness and substance use disorders,” said Places for People CEO Joe Yancey. “This has been a goal of our organization for a long time, and we are proud to have Missouri Foundation for Health’s support in making it a reality.”

The Center of Excellence will employ a variety of methods to improve the delivery of evidence-based and best practices in the St. Louis area, including using regional conferences, webinars, onsite team-centered trainings, project-focused consultations, and provider mentoring and coaching.

“Now, more than ever, the delivery of behavioral health care is critical to well-being of Missouri communities,” said Bob Hughes, president and CEO of MFH. “This timely and relevant initiative is a step toward closing the treatment gap for St. Louis and bringing about meaningful improvements to a system that has been in need of integration and coordination in order to better meet the needs of the people.”

Funding the initiative is one of the three components of Places for People’s current $15 million capital campaign, along with funding the purchase and renovation of a new location at 1001 Lynch Street in Soulard, and establishing an endowment fund.

The Center of Excellence’s key personnel and “faculty” have extensive expertise in a wide range of behavioral health evidence-based practice training content and implementation experience that can be shared with providers, agencies, and system leaders throughout the St. Louis region.

“Evidence-based practices are a key for improving the health and well-being of people with behavioral health disorders,” said Gary Morse, Ph.D., the Center of Excellence Director. “We are fortunate to be able to work with a number of national and regional experts who will help bring the most effective behavioral health services to the people of St. Louis.”

By providing resources for providers in our region, the Center of Excellence will enhance public awareness and support for people with behavioral health disorders.

For more information about the St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health, visit our website at https://www.placesforpeople.org/center-of-excellence.

“Now, more than ever, the delivery of behavioral health care is critical to well-being of Missouri communities. This timely and relevant initiative is a step toward closing the treatment gap for St. Louis and bringing about meaningful improvements to a system that has been in need of integration and coordination in order to better meet the needs of the people.”

Bob Hughes, president and CEO of MFH

About Missouri Foundation for Health

Missouri Foundation for Health is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through partnership, experience, knowledge, and funding.