Health Services and Health Policy

Evaluation of DSAMH Emergency Response Suicide Prevention Program

  • Solange Ealy, Principal Investgator
  • David Borton, Data Analyst
  • Jessie Arnold, Data Analyst
  • Madeline Stenger, Research Associate
  • Michelle Illescas, Research Assistant

The purpose of this program is to support Delaware communities during the COVID-19 pandemic in advancing efforts to prevent suicide and suicide attempts among adults 18 and older, with a focus on the most at risk age group, 25 and older. The goal of ERSP is to support healthcare and domestic violence service providers in addressing behavioral health issues and trauma, especially those caused or impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of particular concern are victims of domestic violence who may have been affected by mass stay-at-home and quarantine orders. Under normal circumstances, domestic violence can lead to situations of increased stress, anxiety, depression and trauma, which are contributing factors to risk for suicide. Given the unique situation for these individuals, SAMHSA is requiring that a minimum of 25 percent of direct services funding be used to support this population. The Center for Drug and Health Studies will lead the evaluation component and work in full collaboration with ERSP’s project leadership and DSAMH’s Research, Evaluation, and Population Health Bureau (REPH) to fulfill federal grant data collection and evaluation requirements as well DSAMH desired evaluation components.

Evaluation of Community Well-Being Initiative in Wilmington, DE

  • M. J. Scales, Principal Investigator
  • Cheryl Ackerman, Scientist
  • Laura Bayona-Ramon, Research Associate
  • Emalie Rell, Graduate Research Assistant

The Center for Drug and Health Studies is partnering with the College of Health Sciences and the Partnership for Healthy Communities to support a new Delaware initiative focused on the emotional well-being of residents in communities that have been made vulnerable due to high levels of inequities and trauma.  Funded by the Delaware’s Department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, the Community Well-Being Initiative (CWBI) is training well-being ‘ambassadors’ to execute an outreach and engagement strategy using community partners to reach Delaware residents living in four zip codes with the highest vulnerabilities to wellbeing, including gun violence, racism, substance misuse, and the novel coronavirus. CDHS is conducting an evaluation of this pilot effort which will study the implementation of the initiative, examine system change and cross-sector collaboration, identify data instruments to measure outcomes, and collect and analyze data on identified client outcomes.

Click here to read a news release on the CWBI


  • Ann Bell, Principal Investigator 
  • Steven S. Martin, Co-Investigator
  • Daniel J. O’Connell, Senior Data Analyst 
  • Sofia Gonzalez, Field Coordinator
  • Judith Buchanan, Interviewer
  • Initiated: 2016; Funding Source: University of Maryland (subcontract) through private funders

Delaware Contraceptive Access Now (Del-CAN), a public/private partnership between Upstream USA and the Delaware Division of Public Health, aims to reduce the state’s unintended pregnancy rate by increasing access to the full range of contraceptive methods, including the most effective IUDs and implants, for all women in Delaware. Upstream USA is providing training, technical assistance, and quality improvement support to large private health care providers and all publicly-funded health care providers in the state.

Researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) have partnered with colleagues at the University of Delaware, Newark (UD), and with key Delaware stakeholders, on a systematic, mixed-methods evaluation of Del-CAN which aims to (1) reduce unintended pregnancies, (2) reduce Medicaid costs for unintended pregnancies, and (3) support policy development that enables contraceptive access to all women who desire it. The evaluation, led by Dr. Michael Rendall, Professor and Director of the Maryland Population Research Center, is designed to understand the Del-CAN’s effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, and to derive lessons about mechanisms leading to initial and sustained impacts in Delaware, and to impacts that are generalizable to other states.  As part of this 5-year evaluation, professor Ann Bell is leading a team to conduct qualitative interviews of women, their partners, and providers. CHDS is conducting a survey of Title X clinic family planning users, secondary analysis of data from teenagers completing the Delaware Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey, and a survey of primary care providers.

To learn more about publications inspired by the Del-CAN project, please click here.

Promoting Integration of Primary and Behavioral Health Care

  • Solange Ealy, Principal Investigator
  • Daniel J. O’Connell, Co-Investigator
  • Ronet Bachman, Qualitative Lead
  • Eileen Sparling, Researcher
  • David Borton, Research Associate
  • Jessie Arnold, Research Associate

Promoting Integration of Primary and Behavioral Health Care (PIPBHC) is a 5-year federal SAMHSA grant awarded to states for the purpose of improving the integration of behavioral health with primary care. The project aims to promote full integration between primary and behavioral healthcare and to improve the overall wellness and physical health status of adults with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) or children with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED). It also offers integrated care services related to screening, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental and substance use disorders, and co-occurring physical health conditions and chronic diseases. There are three Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that serve as hubs to support improved care coordination for individuals at high risk for poor health outcomes. 

The Delaware Child Psychiatry Access Program (DCPAP)

  • Sharon Merriman-Nai, Principal Investigator
  • David Borton, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Cheryl M. Ackerman, Advisor

The Delaware Child Psychiatric Access Program, conducted by the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, is developing a network of pediatric primary care providers who enlist with the state, or it’s contracted service providers, to receive telehealth consultation and educational services as needed, to provide better and more prompt psychiatric treatment for their patients.  This may reduce the number of children who need to be referred to a child psychiatrist, which often is delayed by six (6) to eight (8) months due to the shortage of child psychiatric practitioners in the state. In particular, the project is expected to substantially expand pediatric psychiatric services in the rural areas of Kent and Sussex Counties, both of which are underserved and designated health provider shortage areas. The Center for Drug and Health Studies is providing project evaluation, which includes needs assessments, enrolled provider surveys, evaluation of training presentations, and analysis of client-level treatment data. The project has expanded to offer telehealth psychiatric consultation to providers in emergency, urgent care, and school and school wellness settings.

Rape Prevention and Education – Building Evaluation Capacity

  • Cheryl M. Ackerman, Principal Investigator
  • Sharon Merriman-Nai, Senior Consultant
  • Rachael Schilling, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Chelsi Lamberton, Graduate Research Assistant

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides funding to conduct rape prevention and education activities statewide. CDHS is working with the Division of Public Health to increase the State’s capacity to evaluate these efforts, collaborate with key stakeholders, and to promote sustainability of prevention efforts.

GBV – Primer

GBV – Key Terms

GBV – Adult Economic Factors

Delaware School Health Profiles

  • ​Rochelle Brittingham, Principal Investigator
  • Daniel Howard, Senior Consultant
  • Sofia Gonzalez, Project Manager
  • David Borton, Data Analyst
  • Carol Ann Sharo, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Initiated: 2004; Funding Source: Secondary School Survey–Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health through the Delaware Department of Education; Elementary School Survey— Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health through the Delaware Department of Education and Nemours Health Prevention Services.
  • 2014 School Health Profile Report.pdf and 2014 DE School Health Profiles Trend Report.pdf 

The School Health Profiles (Profiles) is a system of surveys assessing school health policies and practices in states, large urban school districts, territories, and tribal governments. Profiles are completed biennially by middle and high school principals and lead health education teachers. The secondary school survey has been administered every other year in even-numbered years. The Center develops the Delaware version of the survey, based on a CDC survey, with input from state and community agencies. The study reports data which relates to other Center studies on substance abuse, and provides statewide data on health instruction, policies and practice in schools, as well as professional development for health instructors in specific areas relating to CDC priorities also addressed in the student survey, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The secondary school survey has been conducted since 2004 and the elementary survey, which is administered to principals only, was administered for the first time in 2010. These surveys are now conducted electronically. The basic CDC elementary school survey has been enhanced with additional questions consistent with the goals of Nemours.