Health Disparities and Health Equity




Addressing health disparities and advancing equity is a major area of focus for the New England ATTC. Our ATTC offers multiple training and TA events on this topic regionally.


Recent highlights include:


Faith-Based Harm Reduction Training of Trainers (ToT)

The New England ATTC, in partnership with New Life II Ministries, is leading an intensive technical assistance Harm Reduction training of trainers (ToT) series with tailored elements for the faith-based community. This intensive technical assistance series was a direct outgrowth of the New England ATTC's inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Project Showcase, during which New Life II Ministries was a featured presenter and learned about the New England ATTC's work in the area of harm reduction. The intensive TA curriculum has been developed in partnership with subject matter experts, Michelle McKenzie, Jon Soske, Haner Hernandez, and Michele Stewart-Copes. The launch of the series occurred on January 15, 2022. Modules included in the Faith-Based Harm Reduction Training include: 1) Disparities and Building Equity; 2) Faith, Individuals, Families, and Harm Reduction; 3) Basic Harm Reduction Concepts, SUDs, Mental Health and Multiple Pathways of Recovery; and 4) Interventions, Techniques, and Strategies. If the initial ToT series is a success, New Life II Ministries is interested in offering this training to other parishes throughout Connecticut. 


Diversity Inclusion Project Showcase: Promoting Recovery-Based Organizations

In partnership with SAMHSA Region 1, the New England ATTC hosted the inaugural SAMHSA Region 1 Diversity Inclusion Project Showcase (DIPS): Promoting Recovery-Oriented Organizations in October 2021! The goal of the showcase was to promote networking and increase visibility of recovery-oriented organizations serving historically marginalized populations in order to facilitate opportunities for funding and increased regional support. This showcase was introduced by Assistant Regional Administrator Taylor Bryan Turner, with remarks by national and state leaders Tom Coderre, Deidre Calvert, and Nancy Navaretta. Moderators Dr. Haner Hernandez, Michele Stewart-Copes, and Daryl McGraw introduced four recovery-oriented community-based organizations that serve historically marginalized communities: Recovery Support Services; New Life II Ministries; Stairway to Recovery; and STEPRox Recovery Support Center. You can view the recording and learn more about the event here.


New England School of Best Practices and School of Addiction and Prevention Studies

On an annual basis, the New England ATTC partners on two flagship regional summer education programs for the addiction treatment and recovery workforce: New England School of Best Practices in Addiction Services (commonly called Best Practices) and New England School of Addiction and Prevention Studies (commonly called Summer School). In 2021, the New England ATTC hosted and sponsored a number of plenary sessions and specialized courses focused on health disparities and health equity across these two schools including (but not limited to):

  • Health Disparities and Building Equity for SUD Clinicians – This training clarifies the role that behavioral health disparities, cultural humility, and cultural intelligence play in clinical settings and provides concrete evidence-based strategies to promote equitable care provision.
  • The Wraparound Empowerment Process This training highlights the need for individualized behavioral health needs planning among youth and adults impacted by substance use, and reviews concrete strategies to offer wraparound supports.
  • Women - Addiction, Incarceration and Reentry – This course reviews evidence-based practices to provide ongoing support and reinforcement of female offenders re-entering society after incarceration.
  • Opioid Treatment in Correctional Settings – This course addressed the treatment of opioid use disorders, including medications that are evidence-based, in criminal justice settings. Considerations for key partnerships to effectively service this population were also reviewed.


Leadership Development Program (LDP)

Twice per year, the New England ATTC offers the Leadership Development Program (LDP) for addiction professionals from across the continuum of care in partnership with AdCare Educational Institute of New England and the New England PTTC.  This intensive TA initiative is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of leaders, and special attention is paid throughout the recruitment and application process to ensure a diverse cadre of participants.  The LDP curriculum has a major component focused on recruiting, retaining, and supervising diverse employees, as the diversification of the workforce is a major regional and national priority for the treatment and recovery workforce. 


Cultural Competency: Building Health Equity in the Workplace

The New England ATTC , in partnership with the Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council of Rhode Island, periodically hosts “Cultural Competency: Building Health Equity in the Workplace.” The workshop, facilitated by subject matter expert Brenda Westberry, is designed to help the participant build their cultural intelligence; learn effective strategies to engage with individuals and groups from various ethnic, racial, religious and gender backgrounds; and promote more equitable attitudes and behaviors in the workplace.


Cultural Intelligence: Understanding and Incorporating CLAS Standards into Practice

The New England ATTC periodically hosts “Cultural Intelligence: Understanding and Incorporating CLAS Standards into Practice" for treatment and recovery professionals. Adapted from the national CLAS standards, this workshop highlights and explores the needs of treatment professionals working with culturally diverse individuals, organizations, and communities. 


Health Equity Self-Assessments

Our two regional subject matter experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion, Michelle Stewart-Copes and Haner Hernandez offer intensive technical assistance to organizations and Departments of Health on best practices in fostering an equitable, inclusive culture. Technical assistance activities commonly include the formation of an Equity and Inclusion Committee, and the conduct of an organizational self-assessment using the CLAS Assessment Tool.  The CLAS Assessment tool was developed by the New England ATTC to help organizations to assess their level of cultural and linguistic competence throughout all of their operations. You can view the CLAS Needs Assessment Tool here.


Other popular health equity training topics and products/resources by the New England ATTC include:


Commentary by the New England ATTC on the need to advance health equity has been featured on the ATTC/NIATx Service Improvement Blog and can be viewed here and here