Renown Health welcomes a much-needed behavioral health and addiction institute thanks to a generous donation from Charles and Stacie Mathewson.
In late May 2018, Renown Health and Charles N. and Stacie L. Mathewson established the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown. Thanks to a $6 million donation to Renown Health Foundation, the newly established institute will focus on expanding community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction with the goal of decreasing stigma and encouraging more people to seek help.
Partnering to Expand Care and Recovery Services
Over the next five years, the institute will expand intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs and medication-assisted treatment to better serve our region. Working with community partners, the institute will establish an independent crisis facility that offers timely evaluations, stabilization and outpatient detox. Education and training on national best practices for screening and caring for substance abuse and mental illness as well as safe prescribing practices for opioids will be offered to community providers. Renown will also work to integrate healing treatment programs such as exercise, art and music therapies while coordinating care with community organizations focused on long-term recovery.
Focusing on Local Youth
The Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute will also focus on mental health and addiction services for our community’s youth in the years ahead.
“It’s not fair to our kids if we don’t stand up and provide better solutions for young people,” says Stacie Mathewson. “The institute will create a plan for physicians to provide early screening and intervention to adolescents who may be at risk for alcohol or substance abuse. By starting to ask these questions at age 12, we may truly save young lives.”
As local behavioral experts learn more about the treatment needs of local youth, they will work to design new services that address any potential gaps and work with partners to provide parent education that addresses early childhood risk. The newly established institute will also create a registry at Renown Regional Medical Center to identify and track babies who are born addicted to provide case management to meet the medical needs of the baby and their caregivers.
Building Understanding Through Research
The institute’s work to change the status of mental health and addiction in northern Nevada will extend to research. Renown Institute for Health Innovation (Renown IHI) — a collaboration between Renown and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) — will conduct research on the genetic, environmental, individual and sociodemographic determinants that contribute to substance abuse and mental illness.
“We know that understanding substance abuse and addiction is a complex problem. Just like heart disease and cancer, it’s a problem that requires a population health approach,” says Anthony Slonim, M.D., Dr.PH., FACHE, president and CEO of Renown Health. “There are genetic links that increase the risk of mental illness and substance abuse. We have to better understand these links and we believe our health literacy project with DRI, the Healthy Nevada Project, can help.”
The goal is to lower substance abuse and addiction using predictive models of risk by improving early warning signs and offering better tools for parents to reduce their child’s risk. The lessons learned will guide best practices in our community and ultimately contribute to national efforts to improve the care and treatment of mental illness and addiction.
“I applaud Renown and Charles and Stacie Mathewson for coming together to launch the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute,” says Nev. Gov. Brian Sandoval. “While Nevada has made tremendous strides in behavioral health services, we realize more work needs to be done. I believe that it is through partnerships like this that we can continue to reach those who need these services in our community the most.”
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