Problem or Opportunity?

March 28, 2016

Disruption is a word often used to describe what's happening in health care today.  And providers are encouraged to "think outside the box" to adapt to this disruption.

But have you ever wondered just how to "think outside the box?"

In this five-minute video, Andrew Isham, research scientist at the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (which also houses NIATx), offers a strategy: opportunity based thinking. It might be one way to think different and identify solutions that are sometimes so obvious they're easily overlooked.

For example, how did Steve Jobs found the solution to the problem of the stylus that was once ubiquitous with mobile devices?  Literally, at his fingertips.

This video was part of Isham's presentation for the BHBusiness Plus Innovator's Network at the National Council Conference, NatCon16.

How do you use opportunity based thinking in your organization? Has letting go of assumptions given you insight into opportunities?  Share your story in the comment section below.

Andrew Isham, M.S.,  is a researcher at the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His focus is on the innovative adaptation of information technologies to support behavior change in people with chronic health conditions. Isham has a BS in mechanical engineering, a minor in psychology, and an MS in industrial and systems engineering, with a specialization in health systems engineering. In both the academic research and commercial realms, Andrew has experience and knowledge of many of the links in the health IT chain, including testing, implementation, patient/clinician engagement, and sustainability.

Other posts by Andrew Isham: Mobile Health: A Brave New World


Gambling Disorder and Women: Does Gender Make a Difference?

March 15, 2016


Christine Reilly
Senior Research Director

Today, it is widely accepted that examining the role of sex and gender in health is vital to conducting rigorous research, developing effective public health policies and enhancing clinical treatment. In the past, however, health research has not always adequately addressed sex and gender. This oversight was characteristic of early research on gambling addiction because so many investigations were focused on veterans and because many more men gambled than women. Although men still outnumber women as gamblers in the US, women are catching up, thanks in part to the expansion of legalized gambling during the past 30 years. During the past 20 years, gambling researchers have not only included women as research participants but also have increasingly addressed the role of gender in studies of gambling disorder. As is common in young fields of research, we still don’t have a strong consensus on the gender issue in the gambling field. Here are a few of the questions that are driving research on the relationship between gambling disorder and women.

Now is the Time: NAADAC Minority Fellowship Program for Addictions Counselors

March 10, 2016

Maureen Fitzgerald
Communications Coordinator, ATTC Network Coordinating Office
Editor, NIATx 

The NAADAC Minority Fellowship Program for Addiction Counselors (NMFP-AC), funded by SAMHSA, awards tuition stipends of up to $20,000 to qualified students who are eligible for graduation from an accredited Master’s program in addiction/substance use disorders counseling and are committed to working with minority or transition age clients (ages 18-25).

The goal of the fellowship is to build the addiction treatment workforce that treats underserved communities and populations, including minority populations, LGBT populations, and transition-age youth.

The program launched in 2014, selecting 13 fellows for the first cohort. Two of those fellows interviewed recently, Tanya Richem and Nil Shores, describe receiving the award as “life-changing.” 

Three Ways to Improve Transitions from Detox to Continuing Care

March 4, 2016

Maureen Fitzgerald
Communications Coordinator, ATTC Network Coordinating Office
Editor, NIATx


In fall 2014, baseline data showed that only 33% of  Ministry Behavioral Health clients in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, transferred from detoxification services to continuing care. Ministry Behavioral Health is a department of Ministry St. Michael’s Hospital. It works closely with the hospital’s inpatient mental health and acute care units, which include a detox department.
Participating in a NIATx project helped the Change Team boost continuation to continuing care to 63% by June 2015 - an increase of 91%.

How did they do it?  “Rapid-cycle testing was key,” says Change Leader Kathleen Olszewski, MBA, CRCE-I Manager of Business Operations at Ministry Behavioral Health.