UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health receives nearly $500,000

UNC Health Care Newsroom – January 23, 2020

UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health
receives nearly $500,000 to study mental health program

Lorna Moser, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Center’s Institute for Best Practices, is principal investigator for a three-year, nearly $500,000 grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation for a national study to look at Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) for individuals with serious mental illness.

…. “We hope to generate valuable descriptive data on the state of ACT implementation across the U.S. to guide current and future efforts to make smarter use of (sadly) limited resources in community mental health,” Moser continued. “We believe study results will be useful to policy-makers and funders, but also providers and mental health services researchers.

“ACT, when optimally implemented, can play an important role in our system of care to divert individuals with serious mental illness away from institutional settings such as hospitals, jails, and restrictive residential settings to more integrated community settings,” continued Moser….

Read the Article

In the News

The Washington Post Magazine – January 13th, 2020

What Schizophrenia Does to Families

A mother, a son, an unraveling mind — and a mental health system that can’t keep up

This is an overwhelmingly familiar, sad, discouraging read.

It evoked many reactions, including — a continued fragmented, underfunded, antiquated system of care (day treatment; unregulated group homes). I’m thankful that, despite the many hurdles and barriers out there, I also get to see success stories — often a result of the work of compassionate and committed providers. If I didn’t see such success stories, it would be hard to remain in this field of work and advocacy.

I wish WaPo would have made this a multi-part series to flesh this out more, include more stakeholder perspectives and broaden their research sources.


Read the Article

A Call for Better Data to Guide ACT Policy and Programs

April 1st, 2019

Taking Issue

Lorna Moser, Ph.D., and Maria Monroe-DeVita, Ph.D.

Four decades after its development, assertive community treatment (ACT) continues to be a critical service program within U.S. mental health systems of care. Understanding its availability is essential for adequate coverage of people with serious mental illness who need this comprehensive, high-intensity service. We commend Spivak and colleagues for casting a spotlight on the need for more—and better—ACT across the U.S. Their findings resonate with what we know to be true in our own work…. [read more]


Photo by Michał Parzuchowski

Choice in Housing: Coco’s Story

“You never forget that feeling when you are somebody,” shared an audience member, who also shared some background, while discussing supportive housing and watching Coco’s story.

Amidst a discussion of supportive housing, we showed this video:

Sixty team members, spanning positions (COD, employment and peer specialists, QPs, nurses, psychiatrists, therapists, and team leaders) and the state (Asheville to Wilmington), attended our recent High-Fidelity ACT 101 training in Raleigh, NC.

UNC program helps clients push through mental illness to success

“What we’re doing with them comes from what they tell us they want,” VanderZwaag said. “The idea is that initially we try to help them identify what are the things they value, what are their goals for the next year and then longer term, and then we try to help them figure out what’s getting in the way of achieving those goals.”

Read about our Chatham-based ACT team and their Step-Down ACT program in this 2016 News and Observer Article here.


Lorna Moser – Presenting at Evidence-Based Practices Conference 2016

Come see the Institute Director share her knowledge at the conference.


Keynote Presenter:  Lorna Moser, PhD, HSPP, is director of the Institute for Best Practices within the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health and is a licensed psychologist with specialized training in psychiatric rehabilitation and mental health services research. She is the co-developer of the Tool for Measurement of ACT (TMACT), a nationally recognized contemporary measure of ACT fidelity.