Happy Holidays from all of us at IRETA!


“Best Of” lists proliferate this time of year–and we’re jumping wholeheartedly onto the bandwagon.  Here, from our staff, are some of the best IRETA moments of 2013.

Peter F. Luongo, PhD, Executive DirectorPeter Luongo 2013

“I had a great time working with Pew Charitable Trusts and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to develop performance measures and performance-based compensation for prison mental health services.  I like practical thinking—and creating a basic set of performance measures is a practical step toward reducing recidivism and improving public safety. It’s clear that we are moving toward the de-institutionalization of prisons as we did mental institutions forty years ago.  The costs of imprisoning so many people are too high—both in human and economic terms.  This project produced discussions about how to  improve the entire system, which is always exciting.” [For more about the Pew Charitable Trusts Public Safety Performance Project, see their website]

Kristine Pond 7 6 2011Kristine Pond, Logistics Coordinator

“I have really enjoyed working with our partners on the National SBIRT ATTC to do webinar trainings.  We’ve been able to compare notes and learn from each other.  For example, Misti [Misti Storie,the Director of Training and Professional Development for NAADAC] has showed me a number of webinar tricks that have made my life easier and our trainings smoother.

It’s always nice to connect with someone who’s doing the same kinds of things in their job who can show you how to do things better.”

Julius Habjanetz 7 6 2011Julius Habjanetz, Chief Financial Officer

“Well, I’m the finance guy, so my favorite thing this year is going to be about money.  Financially, IRETA had another really good year.  These aren’t easy times–we’re still on the tail end of the recession—so I’m happy to see us do so well.”

???????????????????????????????Jim Aiello, MEd, Project Associate

“Working with Dr. Dwinnells [CEO of the FQHC One Health Ohio] and his partners and staff in Ohio was one of my favorite parts of this year.  I led a couple of SBIRT trainings for them in Youngstown and it was extremely energizing to work with a group of people who are passionately committed to doing SBIRT.”

[For more information on this project, see SBIRT fits in Today’s (and Tomorrow’s) Provider Business Model and  SBIRT: Another Vital Sign.]


portraitJessica Williams, Project Manager

“This year, I went to the AATOD (American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence) conference for the first time and had some really interesting conversations.  One person that stands out in particular is a primary care doctor who’s had really good results prescribing Suboxone.  She said she’s always found it challenging to influence her patients’ health behavior (like trying to get them to exercise more or eat less) but that she’d had a number of encouraging experiences watching her Suboxone patients’ lives change for the better.”


lincolnPiper Lincoln, MS, Research Associate

“The Scaife Medical Student Fellowship is, of course, one of my favorite parts of the year.  This year I was lucky enough to facilitate the focus group at the end of each session, which is part of our evaluation protocol.  Not only did both student groups give good feedback about how to improve the program, they also shared compelling details about its impact on their personal lives.  More than one student said that participation in the program had prompted conversations with their family members about addiction and substance abuse.  One student spoke about her religious upbringing, which had forbidden alcohol consumption–and how important it had been for her to receive addiction training so that she could have a better understanding of the different types of patients she would encounter.”

Holly Hagle 7 6 2011Holly Hagle, PhD, National SBIRT-ATTC Director

“I’ve found our work with the Louisiana National Guard on the Louisiana Substance Abuse Services Initiative this year to be very meaningful.  Soldiers are such an important and underserved population; hearing stories about their jobs and their experiences with substance abuse has really brought our work into focus for me.  And not only have I learned a lot through the trainings we’ve conducted, I’ve also had the heartwarming experience of knowing that we’ve been part of a collaborative effort that is actually improving service quality and access.  Before Louisiana received this grant from SAMHSA, if a soldier screened positive for illicit substance use, he or she had to pay for services out of pocket–which can be expensive.  Under this grant, each soldier has funding to access the services that he or she needs.” [For more information on this project, view this slideshow]

dawnDawn Lindsay, PhD, Director of Evaluation Services

“I feel good knowing that we’ve finished the first year of two very strong projects with the University of Pittsburgh, a web-based SBIRT course for rural Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (IPCP) and a face-to-face/web-based SBIRT course for Interprofessional Groups of Anesthesia Students (INGAS).  It feels very appropriate to be working on two training initiatives about interprofessional collaboration with the team at Pitt because they themselves are such a collaborative and interdisciplinary group.  Plus, working closely with so many educators has helped evolve my thinking about education.”

[For more information on the IPCP project, visit its public webpage on the IRETA website.]

Melva Hogan 7 6 2011Melva Hogan, Administrative Assistant

“I will never forget our most recent webinar for the Lousiana National Guard project we’ve worked on this year.  The main presenter was a lieutenant-colonel who talked vividly about some of the hardest parts of his job and his attempts to deal with that trauma by using alcohol.  It was  inspirational and real.”


meireta6Claire Barbetti, PhD, Media Consultant

“Becoming part of the team at IRETA has been wonderful. I’ve learned so much about addiction, recovery, prevention, and treatment in my research for IRETA’s blog posts. Of all the many topics that IRETA’s blog has covered, I’ve been particularly interested in the pieces I helped write about the criminal justice system, and especially the difficulties women face because of mandatory sentencing, cultural misunderstandings of their needs as women inmates (many of them are mothers!), and low access to treatment and other rehabilitative and supportive services. The new trends toward CJ reform are exciting, and I’m hoping they will continue to gain traction in 2014.”

???????????????????????????????Leila Giles, Digital Media Intern
(started two weeks ago)

“The best thing about IRETA in 2013 was coming in on my first day and seeing that everyone was really nice.”


We at IRETA wish all of you a warm and merry holiday season.  Thanks for your support and community in 2013–and here’s to 2014!  See you there!