Each February, we celebrate Black History Month – a time to honor the legacy and achievements of Black Americans. At Integral Care, February also marks the annual Central Texas African American Family Support Conference – the first conference in Texas to focus on the healthcare needs of African Americans. Integral Care has sponsored this event for 23 years. This year’s conference, which took place last week, featured critical conversations around how adverse childhood experiences can impact adulthood, post incarceration syndrome, Black women, caregiving and parenting, and much, much more. People with lived experience shared inspiring stories. Professionals offered critical tools and resources. Meaningful relationships were built. I am grateful to the incredible conference Planning Committee for putting together another memorable and meaningful event that united and energized attendees and look forward to continuing the conversations that were started.
Honoring Black History Month
A Message From Our CEO
Recognizing the centuries of racism, discrimination, inequality, and inequity, Integral Care is committed to providing quality health care to everyone. To do that, we must look critically at the areas within our organization that need improvement. Recent work our team has been doing in this area includes the development of a Health Disparities Report live dashboard and expanding access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in BIPOC Communities.
Health Disparities Report Live Dashboard
Launching in March, this abbreviated version of our annual Health Disparities Report Card will be used to provide more real-time, actionable data to staff on areas that are known to be impacted by structural racism. It will include disparity gaps for several high-risk conditions and indicators, such as schizophrenia spectrum diagnoses, disruptive and conduct disorders, homelessness, tobacco use, involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations, Clozapine access and hypertension.
Many of these focus areas were selected to align with recommendations outlined in the American Association for Community Psychiatry Self-Assessment for Modification of Anti-Racism Tool (SMART), which is a quality improvement tool designed to facilitate organizational change in community behavioral healthcare. The SMART tool enables centers to quantify the extent to which their organization is affected by racism, and to use that information to implement concrete organizational change.
Expanding access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in BIPOC Communities
Integral Care continues to use data to identify health inequities and drive interventions to reduce them. In 2022, Population Health and Substance Use treatment staff at Integral Care conducted an analysis around the utilization of substance use treatment services relative to overall Integral Care programs and national data around health disparities in substance use treatment. We found that Black/African Americans account for 21% of the total Integral Care population; however, only comprise 13% of clients served by a substance use program in FY21. Disparities are also found when analyzing clients currently open to a substance use program (only 12% Black/African American). This data was used to prioritize outreach to Black and African American clients with opioid use disorder to reduce identified disparities within the utilization of specialty substance use treatment services. In 2023, Substance Use program staff established new Business Plan goals to build upon this work, with the goal of expanding access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) while also addressing the barriers we know exist for members of the BIPOC community in accessing these and other substance use disorder services. Integral Care will continue collaborating with Central Health and other community stakeholders to expand MAT access and address the opioid crisis in Travis County.
In reflecting on the moving stories we heard at this year’s conference and the work our team is doing to ensure everyone can access the care they need, I am reminded that we all have a role to play in building a safe, inclusive and equitable community for all.
Chief Executive Officer
Past Transparencies sorted by year
January 2023: Celeberating the 23rd Annual Central Texas African American Family Support Conference
December 2022: Looking Ahead to the 88th Legislative Session
November 2022: Supporting Children’s Mental Health
October 2022: Working Toward Racial Equity
September 2022: Coming Together on the Road to Recovery & Suicide Prevention
August 2022: Expanding Access to Critical Mental Health Support
July 2022: Supporting BIPOC Mental Health through Data
June 2022: Celebrating Pride Month
April-May 2022: Looking Ahead to Mental Health Month
March 2022: Honoring Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
February 2022: Strengthening Our Network of Mental Health Support
January 2022: Looking Ahead in 2022
December 2021: Celebrating Progress & Innovation in 2021
November 2021: Action Steps Toward Preventing and Ending Homelessness
October 2021: Language Access & Racial Equity
September 2021: Treatment & Addiction Psychiatry at Integral Care
August 2021: Returning to School plus the Legislative Wrap-up
July 2021: Creating Lasting Change for BIPOC Mental Health
June 2021: Facts & Resources This Pride Month
May 2021: Mental Health Month
April 2021: How do we help Austinites experiencing homelessness?
March 2021: Growth and Positive Change
February 2021: How Do We Create a Better Future?
January 2021: Looking Ahead to the Legislative Session
December 2020: Supporting Your Mental Health This Winter
November 2020: How do we rebuild health and well-being during a pandemic?
October 2020: With Collaboration Comes Innovation
September 2020: Success Stories of Recovery and Suicide Prevention
August 2020: A Back to School Season Like Never Before
July 2020: Minority Health Disparities & COVID-19
June 2020: Stronger Together
May 2020: Surviving and Thriving During Uncertain Times
April 2020: Persevering During COVID-19
March 2020: Collaborations and Initiatives to Improve Health for the IDD Population
February 2020:Solutions to Health and Health Care Disparities
January 2020: Sucicide Prevention a Local Effort
December 2019: A Year of Thriving Care & Collaboration
November 2019: Teamwork and Collaboration Impact Homelessness in Travis County
October 2019:Making Strides for World Mental Health
September 2019: Taking Steps to Recovery Support
August 2019: Working Together for Child & Youth Mental Health
July 2019: Legislative Wrap-Up – Some Bipartisan Wins for Healthcare
June 2019: Strengthening Access for Veterans and the Entire Military Family
May 2019: Women and Mental Health
April 2019: Legislative Session Status Report
March 2019: Making Opportunities for Recovery More Accessible
February 2019: Recovery is Possible
January 2019: Stronger Outcomes Through Collaboration
December 2018: Looking ahead to the 86th Texas Legislature
November 2018: How Tech is Changing the Face of Mental Health
October 2018: A Few Questions Could Help Save a Life
September 2018: Anyone Can Save a Life
August 2018: A Milestone Moment
July 2018: Equity in Mental Health Care for All
June 2018: Expanding Services for Veterans
May 2018: Your Mental Health Toolkit
April 2018: Time of Terror Calls for Increased Emotional Support
March 2018: Stopping the cycle of incarceration for individuals with mental illness
February 2018: Equity in mental healthcare for everyone
January 2018 : Improving Mental Health Through Partnership & Collaboration
December 2017: Strength Through Community
November 2017 : Healthy Lifestyles Improve Well-Being
October 2017 : National Child Health Day
September 2017 : Strengthening Families and Communities
Highlight: St. David’s Foundation Awards Integral Care $1.1M Herman Center Grant
We are thrilled to announce that St. David’s Foundation has awarded Integral Care a $1,183,864 grant over a 24-month term to continue the Foundation’s support of the Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care. St. David’s Foundation provided critical funding for the construction of the Herman Center.
The Herman Center provides short-term emergency psychiatric crisis care in a secure and structured non-hospital setting that includes stabilization, assessment, and treatment in a secure, protected residential environment for adults experiencing mental health crises. Clients have access to crisis assessment, crisis stabilization and extended observation, medications, individual and group therapy, peer services, nursing services, case management, discharge planning, and linkage to ongoing care and additional community resources.
Continued funding will help the Herman Center build on initial successes to enhance our services and keep clients connected to care after a crisis. Since its opening, the Herman Center has become a highly sought-after service provision, with clients reporting high levels of satisfaction with our services. Over the next two years, our team will utilize in-house intakes to connect clients to ongoing Integral Care services and ensure continuity of care through linkage with their current treatment providers.
Highlight: Welcome Ann Kitchen, New Board Member
Ann Kitchen is the newest Board appointee from the City of Austin. She is an attorney and health care consultant with expertise in improving access to health care services for women and families. Kitchen served as Austin’s District 5 Council Member for 10 years, during which she provided ongoing support of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) initiatives and Integral Care’s EMCOT (Expanded Mobile Crisis Outreach Team) on the Housing & Community Development and Psychiatric Services Stakeholder committees. She helped create the city’s AustinCARES program, which funds Integral Care clinicians in the 911 Call Center and the HEAL Initiative, which provides immediate shelter, social and health services and a path to permanent housing for the unsheltered population. She has over 10 years of state service as a State Representative for District 48, a Senior Medicaid Policy Advisor with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, an Assistant Attorney General with the Charitable Trust Section of the Texas Attorney General’s Office and a caseworker for special needs children at the Texas Commission for the Blind. Kitchen is also an expert on health information technology and was Executive Director of the Integrated Care Collaboration (ICC) for five years.
Highlight: Integral Care’s Policy Priorities for the 88th Legislative Session
Integral Care is committed to helping ensure access to critical health services. To support the health and well-being of our community, we approach the 88th Legislative Session by leading with the following policy priorities:
• Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic: Expand crisis care, evidence-based practices, care coordination and integrated behavioral and physical health care.
• Mental Health Services: Strengthen community-based services and invest in increased demand on the crisis response system associated with implementation of 988, the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
• Children’s Crisis Services: Support the delivery of mental health services in schools by investing in school counseling services and telehealth.
• Substance Use Disorder Services: Fund harm reduction interventions. Naloxone and fentanyl test strips save lives.
• Housing: Invest in Permanent Supportive Housing, which includes support services like mental and primary health care, substance use treatment and employment services.
• Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities: Strengthen efforts to ensure that individuals with IDD are not at risk of long-term institutionalization or incarceration.
• Criminal Justice: Expand the authority to place individuals on a Peace Officer Emergency Detention (POED) to mental health professionals.
Highlight: Bridging the Gap 2023
During Bridging the Gap this year, we want to celebrate all that our staff have achieved over the last couple of years while also raising funds to support the lifesaving, critical work they do daily. Our staff is the backbone of everything we do, going above and beyond to support health and well-being within our community.
Join us Wednesday, March 29th at Swoop House for an evening of celebration, inspiration, education, and entertainment. We look forward to coming together again as a community to celebrate our incredible staff and raise funds to help our clients thrive.
Black History Month Staff Picks
Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment by James H. Jones
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Between the World and Me: Ta-Nehisi Coates
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange
Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Third Reconstruction by Peniel E. Joseph
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb
MOVIES & SPECIALS
Austin Revealed: Civil Rights Stories
I Am Not Your Negro
Judas and the Black Messiah
John Lewis: Good Trouble
Dear White People
The 1619 Project
Women of the Movement
A Letter to My Nephew by James Baldwin
American Racism and the Buffalo Shooting by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
How Negro History Week Became Black History Month and Why It Matters Now by Veronica Chambers
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Stacy Spencer Elected Kids Living Well Co-Chair
Integral Care’s Stacy Spencer was elected the new Co-Chair of Kids Living Well. This network of child-serving professionals meets monthly and oversees the Travis County Plan for Children’s Mental Health and Substance Misuse. Kids Living Well also serves as the Governance Board for Integral Care’s new System of Care grant, which Stacy also oversees.
Last month, SAMHSA Regional Administrator Kristie Brooks, M.S., joined David Evans, CEO, Dawn Handley, COO, Sherry Blyth, Director, Crisis Services, Specialty Substance Use Treatment and Justice Initiatives, and Marlene Buchanan, Director of Systems of Care, for a tour of Integral Care.
KVUE Highlights the Importance of Seeking Mental Health Care in a Crisis
Marisa Malik, Practice Administrator, spoke to KVUE last week about the importance of reaching out for emotional help in the wake of stressful, emotionally-taxing events such as the recent winter storm. In response to the winter storm, Integral Care is providing mental health services at Multi-Agency Resource Centers across the community.
Central Texas African American Family Support Conference featured on FOX7
Shannon Carr, CTAAFSC Committee Chair, and Felicia Mason-Edwards, CTAAFSC Committee Member, spoke to FOX 7 about how the conference aims to normalize conversations around mental health in the Black community.
We Want Your Feedback
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