Psychological Centers offers the following position statements and white papers developed as part of our scientifically-based advocacy efforts to fulfill our mission to help communities solve their problems.

Invited opinions

Advocating for Mental Health Awareness
(by Chrissy Jones, Freelance Writer & Mental Health Advocate

Care management

The number of different models and approaches to care management has become confusing and even contradictory.  Some care management approaches are offered out of practices (e.g., nurse care managers), some are based in practices but spend significant time in patients’ homes and communities (e.g., health coaches), some are community based (e.g., community health workers), and some are even based at payers.  Yet there is no particular logic for which of these models is followed, which patients receive which service, or how they should coordinate and interact- rather than duplicate efforts.  More often, local funding decisions determine which service an individual will receive.

The attached map of Care Management Continuum, the patients they are ideally suited to serve, and how they relate to one another is a first effort to organize this continuum based on clinical rationales.  A description of each element of the continuum and how they fit together (or should fit together) is available here, at Care management continuum description.

Management of behavioral health services

Each of the attached approaches for management of behavioral health services, A-model-for-management-of-behavioral-health-services-for-effectiveness-and-value have been proposed to or discussed with insurers, other payers, and/or regulators

Based on legislation and regulation in NY, MA, MD, CA, OR, and other states, and policies and projects in those states, CO, RI, and others, we have been able to identify the attached proposals for how behavioral health should be included in healthcare reform law and management.

A proposed behavioral health reform bill

A four-page overview (including the background/purpose, key rationale, and changes proposed to current RI law)

Rhode Island Behavioral health reform bill of 2013


Behavioral Health and Domestic Violence

Behavioral Health and Domestic Violence handout [112K PDF]

Behavioral Health and Domestic Violence:Toward Evidence-Based Practice [300K PDF]

Liz Cantor, Ph.D.

The information and analysis included in this report by Liz Cantor, Ph.D., is a tremendous contribution to researchers, policy makers, and direct service practitioners working with victims of domestic violence and batterers.  While domestic violence advocates have acquired solid expertise over the past thirty five years working on the front lines with victims, the research addressing the impact of behavioral health interventions has only recently been developing. This document helps bridge the gap between academic research and the real life challenges facing practitioners who work with batterers, victims and/or their children. By posing critical questions, examining the existing body of research, and framing recommendations for future research and practice, this document helps shape the future of our work to end domestic violence. Dr. Cantor’s research illustrates that it is only through an open mind and willingness to work collaboratively to interpret research findings that we’ll be able to develop public policy and create direct service interventions that truly break the cycle of domestic violence.

Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Community-Based Services

Science of Community-Based Services: a letter to Senator Reed [150K PDF]

Youth Suicide

Integrated Behavioral and Medical Care As a Strategy to Reduce Youth Suicide: a letter to Congressman Kennedy [124K PDF]

Youth Violence (Testimony to the Senate Task Force)

Multisystemic Therapy and youth violence

Outcomes and characteristics of Psychological Centers’ intensive programs for children

Healthcare reform

Healthcare in Rhode Island: Shooting for the moon, Paul Block, PhD; Jeffrey Borkan, MD, PhD From the Rhode Island Medical Journal, p. 12: “U.S. healthcare will be affordable because it is effective at improving patients’ lives.”

Our support for a “robust” health insurance exchange includes Paul’s efforts as a member of HealthRIght.  This group is:

“a broad and inclusive coalition of small business, labor groups, not for profit insurers, healthcare provider organizations, academic and health policy professionals, members of the faith community and a variety of healthcare advocacy groups collectively working to develop comprehensive Rhode Island policies and laws that provide universal access to a quality health care system that is affordable, efficient, sustainable, easy-to-use and equitably distributed.”

The main current focus is on the “Health Insurance Exchange” that will be implemented in 2014 as part of federal health care reform.  The requirement is only for an exchange that connects uninsured individuals to affordable coverage (like in MA), but HealthRIght has recognized that this is an opportunity to create a mechanism to transform health care, improve public health, and assure that expanded access to coverage (and even existing services) will be more affordable.

A robust exchange would integrate the purchasing power of more than just currently uninsured individuals and serve as an “active purchaser”, controlling costs, reducing disparities, and improving quality through standards for provider networks, service design, quality oversight, and payment reform focused on quality as well as best use of affordable resources.

We’ve attached a 2-slide powerpoint graphic simplification of why we are supporting this initiative.  Below is a longer introduction to the rationale and benefits/risks of a robust exchange, followed by written testimony to the Senate Health Committee on the legislation creating Rhode Island’s exchange.


Health care reform at the state and federal levels.

Exchange testimony 3-11.

Dr. Oliver Fein, Past President of Physicians for a National Health Program on Health Care Reform and the Single Payer Model (slides) or at Single Payer Presentation (video)

Other useful healthcare reform websites (with thanks to Craig O’Connor):

Kaiser Family Foundation (health care data, basic information, in depth look at issues, etc.)



Integrated Care: A Demand-Side Approach to Improving Medicaid Affordability: for the Allied Advocacy Group [104K PDF]

Child Advocacy

In Home Care Reduces Costs and Improves Outcomes Compared to Out-of-Home Placement [120K PDF]

Incarceration of Many Youth Offenders is Ineffective and Unnecessarily Expensive [120K PDF]

Center for Behavioral Science and Public Policy

Global Waiver Policy [148K PDF]

Mentally Healthy Economy, part 1 (op-ed)

Mentally Healthy Economy, part 2 (op-ed)

Mentally Healthy Politics 2010: Cicilline only candidate nationally with mental health platform

Statement from the American Psychological Association Practice Organization on these findings

Coverage in the ProJo about these findings

Testimony regarding expansion of the powers and responsibilities of the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner:

OHIC regulation amendment


Some scientific publications by Psychological Centers’ staff

Christopher J. Trentacosta (Wayne State University) and Sarah E. Fine (Psychological Centers), 2010.  Emotion Knowledge, Social Competence, and Behavior Problems in Childhood and Adolescence: A Meta-analytic Review.  Social Development, pp. 1-29.

Recklitis, C. J. (Dana Farber), Sanchez Varela, Veronica (Psychological Centers), Ng, A., Mauch, P., & Bober, S. (all Dana Farber). (2010).  Sexual functioning in long-term survivors of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Psychooncology, 19, 1229-1233.

Cantor, D. J., Cantor, Elizabeth (Psychological Centers), Black, J. C., & Barrett, C. D. (2006). Same sex marriage: The legal and psychological evolution in America. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan U. Press

New sexting laws put college students at risk  URI study shows more than half of all college students have been ‘sexted’

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 21, 2011 – More than half of all college students have received sexually suggestive images via text messaging, and nearly 80 percent have received suggestive messages, according to research by University of Rhode Island faculty in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, including Psychological Centers’ Tiffani S. Kisler, PhD, Clinical Director of the Center for Sexual Health.

Selected Media Coverage is available at http://urinewsonline.blogspot.com/
Following the post of a URI Today report, their study has been covered by numerous news organizations, including Time, Rolling Stone, CBS News, U.S. News and World Report,MacLean’s, Channel 10, Channel 12, GoLocalProv, The Atlantic, CNET, International Business Times, and more than 100 TV stations around the country, among others.

Jeffrey P. Migneault (Psychological Centers), Julien J. Dedier, Julie A. Wright, Timothy Heeren, Marci Kramish Campbell, Donald E. Morisky, Peter Rudd, & Robert H. Friedman.  (2012).  A Culturally Adapted Telecommunication System to Improve Physical Activity, Diet Quality, and Medication Adherence Among Hypertensive African–Americans: A Randomized Controlled Trial.  Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 43, 62-73.

Levine, Susan C.; Suriyakham, Linda Whealton; Rowe, Meredith L.; Huttenlocher, Janellen; Gunderson, Elizabeth A.  (2010).  What counts in the development of young children’s number knowledge?  Developmental Psychology, 46, 1309-1319.


Fine, Sarah (2012).  Sanctum.  (Guardians of the Shadowlands series).  Las Vegas, NV: Amazon Children’s Publishing (see sarahfinebooks.com/)

Fine, Sarah (2012). Overcoming Obstacles (to becoming the writer you want to be).  Webinar presentation.