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Pacesetter Award case studies released

October 14, 2011
by News release
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Wayne F. Dailey, PhD; Tom Strong, MBA; John Morris, MSW

Earlier this year, the Annapolis Coalition and the Hitachi Foundation selected seven behavioral health provider organizations for recognition as part of the Pacesetter Award Program. The programs are profiled below; five were recognized as Pacesetter Award Winners, and two additional programs were recognized as Programs of Merit.

The Pacesetter Awards resulted from the shared desire of the Annapolis Coalition and the Hitachi Foundation to identify approaches behavioral health providers could take to improve conditions for direct-care workers while also improving outcomes for clients and organizational performance. Case studies on each of the recognized programs have now been posted on both the Annapolis Coalition ( ) and Hitachi Foundation ( ) websites.

The studies provided a means for understanding the business case for supporting lower-wage employees, many of whom are unlicensed staff who hold a bachelor’s degree or less, but who provide essential client services on a day-to-day basis. This initiative, created under the banner “Better Jobs, Better Services, and Better Business,” was designed to focus national recognition on organizations engaged in best workforce practices.
The Annapolis Coalition has previously conducted national searches for program innovation, but this was the largest effort and the first that involved a partnership with a national foundation. The process was initiated by a national Call for Nominations for the Behavioral Health Pacesetter Award.

The Annapolis Coalition received 51 nominations for the award from mental health and substance use treatment and support organizations throughout the United States. The nominations were reviewed by four evaluation teams comprised of subject matter experts in behavioral health. The teams sought to identify workforce practices that:

  • Strengthen business performance and bottom line results;
  • Improve work-life, skills, and economic advancement among direct-support employees, and;
  • Improve client outcomes based on the organization’s delivery of high-quality services and supports.

In addition to this peer review process, each finalist program had an intensive site-visit conducted by Wayne F. Dailey, PhD, who served as Project Director for the Pacesetter Award process for the Annapolis Coalition.

2011 National Award Winners:

Thresholds in Chicago has advanced the careers of front-line mental health staff while implementing Integrated Dual Disorders Treatment (IDDT) through the use of embedded consultants and supportive supervision. (Read or download the case study at

Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) in Fall River, Massachusetts, has used work-based learning to elevate the competencies and educational aspirations of its behavioral health staff, and through their example, they are renewing hope in a community hard hit by recession. (Read or download the case study at

Family Services of Western Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh has built university, county government and managed care partnerships that have transformed case management and promoted careers of community mental health staff, both in their own agency and throughout Allegheny County. (Read or download the case study at .)

Borinquen Health Care Center in Miami has skillfully prepared its multicultural, front-line substance abuse and community outreach workers to battle the spread of HIV in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. (Read or download the case study at

Hartford Dispensary in Connecticut has built a professional development program that meets the challenges of direct-care staff as they provide effective treatment for heroin addiction in a northeastern drug traffic corridor. (Read or download the case study at .)

2011 Programs of Merit:

Chesapeake Connections at Mosaic Community Services in Baltimore has carefully prepared a diverse staff group to provide assertive yet supportive services to people with severe mental illnesses in the city’s urban core. (Read or download the case study at

People Acting to Help (PATH) in Philadelphia has made thoughtful and supportive supervision the heart of an effective psychosocial rehabilitation program that reduces the need for emergency services and inpatient care. (Read or download the case study at

Barbara Dyer, CEO of the Hitachi Foundation, noted “This was our first project in the behavioral health industry, and we were gratified by the response of so many provider organizations. It was a pleasure to recognize these seven exemplary programs for their creative approaches to workforce development; they are worthy models for others to emulate.”

Cross-Cutting Themes Among Winning Programs:

Winning programs:

  • Trained and engaged direct-care staff in the implementation of evidence-based practices, and monitored and maintained adherence to practice fidelity.
  • Actively supported the educational and career development aspirations of front line workers.
  • Provided competitive wages, benefits and other incentives to employees.
  • Developed and maintained partnerships with academic and research institutions that actively promoted training and other involvement of direct care workers.
  • Provided highly individualized and supportive supervision to staff on a frequent, regular basis.

In the coming months, with the support of the Hitachi Foundation, the winning programs are reaching out to other providers to share their success stories. Both the Hitachi Foundation and the Annapolis Coalition believe that the case studies are valuable tools for employers to use as they assess their investments in workforce, especially for workers who are at the front-lines of service delivery.

“We believe that direct support workers are too often overlooked in workforce development activities, so we were especially pleased to partner with the Hitachi Foundation on the Pacesetter Process,” said Gail Stuart, PhD, Chair of the Board of the Annapolis Coalition. “We are often asked to direct people to places that are really making a difference, and through these case studies we have a vehicle to highlight real-world applications of innovative workforce best practices.”

For additional information on the Pacesetter Awards, contact John Morris, Executive Director of the Annapolis Coalition ( or Tom Strong of the Hitachi Foundation (