PSATTC Expands to Serve Nevada, Hawaii, and the Six U.S. Affiliated Pacific Jurisdictions

Attendees of the 2013 Pacific Jurisdictions Workforce Development Initiative (PJWDI) Conference in Los Angeles.

Attendees of the 2013 Pacific Jurisdictions Workforce Development Initiative (PJWDI) Conference in Los Angeles.

In October 2012, the Pacific Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center (PSATTC) region was expanded. Formerly serving only California and Arizona, the PSATTC now also serves Nevada, Hawaii, and the six U.S. Affiliated Pacific Jurisdictions (American Samoa, the Republic of the Martial Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau).

With only a small budget increase over previous funding years, PSATTC staff have found that the complexity of serving this vast region is a huge challenge.

One strategy for serving the Pacific Jurisdictions has been to join forces with the SAMHSA-funded Pacific Jurisdictions Workforce Development Initiative. This initiative was begun in 2011 to develop experts in each of the jurisdictions to provide training and technical assistance on evidence-based practices.

Topics were determined by each jurisdiction to address a local need (e.g., Matrix treatment, SBIRT, adolescent treatment, culturally responsive treatment and prevention). During the first year of the project, participants visited host sites in the mainland United States to gain experience with organizations providing services in their chosen focus area.

To kick off Year 2, the PSATTC, in partnership with SAMHSA and the Pacific Behavioral Health Collaborating Council, conducted a conference in March attended by 27 individuals from the six Pacific Jurisdictions, along with representatives from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and Center for Mental Health Services, and the Region 9 SAMHSA Regional Administrator (Dr. Jon Perez).

The group engaged in four days of meetings that focused on developing participants' skills in training and technical assistance. Each participant was given the opportunity to provide training and/or present on their 2013 focus area to their peers and invited guests.

In addition, participants heard from Drs. Tom Freese (UCLA ISAP) and Steve Gallon (Oregon Health & Science University) on effective training and technical assistance strategies. On the final day of the conference, the participants were invited to UCLA ISAP to hear from many of ISAP's principal investigators about their domestic and international research portfolios. The four-day conference ended with a recognition ceremony.

Access to local training and technical assistance experts is essential for the Pacific Jurisdictions. These island nations span an area of ocean larger than the continental United States. Their total land mass is smaller than the five states of New England spread across 669 islands and atolls over 5 million square miles of ocean.

The total population of the Pacific Jurisdictions is approximately 458,000, and 19 languages are spoken. The island populations self-identify predominantly as native to their island, although segments of the populations are also Filipino (5%-26%), Chinese (2%–5%), "other" Pacific Island background (2%–8%), as well as 2%–6% Whites or "other."