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SAMHSA’s National Hispanic and Latino Addiction Technology Transfer Center (NH&L ATTC)

June 5, 2019

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According to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH 2014), 9.9 % of Hispanics (3.4 million) and 9.2 % of non-Hispanics (19.7 million) needed substance use treatment. Among persons aged 12 or older who were in need of treatment, Hispanics were less likely than non-Hispanics to have received treatment (9.0 vs. 10.5 %). An estimated 3.1 million Hispanics needed but did not receive specialty treatment. Combined 2003 to 2011 data indicate that Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanics to have needed treatment in the past year. Among Hispanics who needed but did not receive treatment in the past year, 94.4 percent did not feel the need for it, 3.6 percent felt the need for treatment but did not make an effort to get it, and 2.0 percent felt the need for treatment and did make an effort to get it. Similarly, among non-Hispanics in need of but not receiving treatment, 94.8 percent did not feel the need for treatment, 3.5 percent felt the need for treatment but did not make an effort to get it, and 1.7 percent felt the need for treatment and did make an effort to get it.

This data demonstrates that there is need for expanding treatment options for Hispanics in order to accommodate those who felt the need for treatment but did not receive it.  It also demonstrates that more education is needed in order to reach those who needed treatment but did not feel a need for it or did not make an effort to get it. One of the reasons for the lack of access for those who wanted treatment is the shortage of Hispanic, bilingual and bi-cultural clinicians and providers in the U.S. In 2005, the American Psychological Association (APA) noted that while one in five Americans identifies as Hispanic, only one percent of psychologists identified themselves as Hispanic. APA went on to note that while 70 percent of non-Hispanic whites return for a second appointment after an initial visit to a psychologist, on 50 percent of Hispanics do. ⁵ APA found that both language barriers and values created barriers to treatment.

The American Psychiatric Association digested several recent studies in a 2014 fact sheet.   Among its highlights, it found that 36 percent of Hispanics with depression received care, versus 60 percent of whites; bilingual patients are evaluated differently when evaluated in English versus Spanish; and Hispanics are more frequently undertreated than are whites.

National figures are scarce but the findings of a February 2018 report, “California’s Current and Future Behavioral Health Workforce”, could be used as a model for the rest of the country. It forecasts a substantial shortage of qualified and diverse behavioral health professionals in California within 10 years, leaving minority patients and those outside major metropolitan areas especially underserved. Beyond geographical challenges, the research found racial disparities in the behavioral health field, with Latinos and African-Americans underrepresented — only 4 percent of psychiatrists are Latino and 2 percent are African-American, according to the report.

The National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA) plans to use this funding to develop the National Hispanic and Latino Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC). The National Hispanic and Latino ATTC will serve individuals and organizations who provide behavioral health services to Hispanic and Latino (H/L) populations throughout the U.S The project provides training and technical assistance to a wide range of public, nonprofit and private organizations in culturally and linguistically appropriate practices and programs effective in serving Latino populations including evidenced based, community defined evidence, and other best or emerging practices.

Goals for the National Hispanic and Latino ATTC

The National Hispanic and Latino ATTC will develop and strengthen the specialized behavioral healthcare and primary healthcare workforce that provides substance use disorder (SUD) treatment and recovery support services to H/L populations through the accomplishment of the following goals:

  1. Develop and/or improve the quality of services and interventions available by building a relationship between researchers, SUD treatment providers, clinicians and the recovery community to increase tools needed to improve the quality of service delivery to H/L communities across the continuum of care;
  2. Improve organizations and systems of care by developing practical tools and establishing evidence based-practice for SUDs for training and development needs for the SUD workforce;
  3. Using a system change approach, increase the SUD workforce, including peers, knowledge of Evidence Based Practices relevant to H/L communities in order to improve their skills to better serve this community;
  4. Conduct intensive technical assistance to state systems, providers, peers and researchers to improve their processes and practices and to meet the identified needs in the delivery of effective SUD treatment and recovery services for H/L communities by providing ongoing skill development and coaching opportunities related to specific EBPs and implementation strategies; and
  5. Enhance access and engagement by holding a bi-annual H/L Behavioral Health conference for 2.5 days to highlight new findings in the field and increase the new knowledge available to providers, researchers, clinicians and peers, of substance abuse services to H/L communities.

For more information, please contact:

Pierluigi Mancini PhD
Project Director
National Hispanic and Latino ATTC
[email protected]

Maxine Henry, MSW, MBA
Project Co-Director
National Hispanic and Latino ATTC
[email protected]

Contributing Center(s):