IRETA has a grant from the federal government to act as a focus center in the nationwide Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network. We serve as a National Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Focus Center, or N-SBIRT ATTC.
But what is the ATTC Network? What does “technology transfer” mean? How does our role in the ATTC Network fit into IRETA’s mission and the rest of the work we do?
The ATTC Network was created to improve the quality of addiction treatment in America. It is a unique vehicle for training healthcare providers that focuses on the process of transferring a particular kind of technology; in this case, methods for treating addiction that research shows to be effective.
To do our work, we use a specific model, the (surprise) Technology Transfer model. Technology transfer is a useful way to think about improving addiction treatment to promote health. It treats gaps between researchers and practitioners as areas to be bridged using specific processes that require time and energy but are not insurmountable.
Why did the ATTCs come about?
The history of the addiction treatment field helps explain the necessity of the ATTC Network. Addiction treatment has grown up largely outside of medical healthcare (read Bill White’s Slaying the Dragon for an outstanding overview), which has led to a diverse array of treatments with varying levels of effectiveness. To help treatment providers stay abreast of “what works” in order to enhance their skills and change their practice accordingly, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funds the ATTC Network.
As a nexus point between addiction researchers and practitioners, we:
- Focus primarily on front-line addictions counselors and clinical supervisors, but also serve multi-disciplinary groups
- Provide education and training
- Work to improve standards and policies in the field
How is the ATTC related to IRETA’s work?
IRETA’s mission is perfectly aligned with the work of the ATTC. Since our founding in 1999, we have sought to improve recognition, prevention, treatment, research, and policy related to addiction and recovery using many of the same approaches that the ATTC grant requires. Because our activities overlap with the ATTC grant requirements, SAMHSA housed the northeast regional center at IRETA for the past 11 years.