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Introducing Illume: The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence

Behavioral health is more than managing symptoms. It is about supporting a life of fulfillment and joy for every person.

Ten years ago, the dream of a center of excellence to strengthen the behavioral health system of care in St. Louis began. The idea formed by Joe Yancey and Dr. Gary Morse became a reality last year with support from Missouri Foundation for Health.

The Center of Excellence, powered by Places for People, is an idea born out of our organization’s unique experience with research and evaluation, the organization’s extensive use of evidence-based practices, and our commitment to recovery-focused services. The Center of Excellence envisions being a catalyst for systems change. Led by an advisory board and involving key stakeholders from all facets of behavioral health, our ultimate goal, through advocacy, innovation and sharing information is to create better outcomes for people living with mental illness and substance use disorders.

An idea this important, needs a name that inspires wonder. The St. Louis Regional Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health was a fine name to get the Center of Excellence off the ground, but lacked a certain spark or light.

As this Center of Excellence moves from plan to pilot to production, we would like to introduce you to Illume: The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence.

We hope the new name for the Center of Excellence inspires curiosity and excitement.

We intend for the two dots above the U to convey the collaboration and partnership required to truly change a system, as well as pay homage to the single dot in the Places for People logo.

Moving forward as Illume, we hope to ignite and spark change in the behavioral health system, and ensure that the best treatment options are available and accessible for everyone living with mental illness and substance use concerns in our community and beyond.

Illume envisions behavioral health systems of care that are accessible, recovery-oriented, and promote well-being.

Illume will support this by providing intensive training opportunities and one-on-one consultations with providers, as well as community-wide presentations and trainings by leading experts in the field.

Since our kickoff webinar in December, Illume has hosted three internationally-recognized evidence-based practice experts – Dr. Robert Drake, Dr. Maria Monroe-DeVita, and Dr. Robert Meyers.

We invite you to join us May 12 for a webinar focused on the evidence-based practice Illness Management and Recovery, with a keynote by Dr. Kim T. Mueser who helped to develop the IMR model. Learn more about this webinar here.

We invite you to learn more about our training and consultation options on our updated Illume web pages.

Illume’s philosophy goes beyond a one-time training. Our dedicated staff will follow-up with intensive support and mentorship to ensure that agencies are able to implement evidence-based practices to provide proven treatment methods to individuals and families in our community.

We also hope you will join us on the new Illume social media channels.

On Wednesday, March 31, we will discuss the new name and the hopes for our Center of Excellence during a Facebook Live presentation. Join the presentation on Places for People’s Facebook page at

We look forward to working with you to achieve a consistent excellent standard of care in our region by making knowledge, research and skill improvement accessible to all.