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2012 Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health Conference Highlight: Dr. Ijeoma Achara on Thriving in an Era of Change

Trends in Behavioral Healthcare: Join the Conversation

The Danya Institute is pleased to present this regular series of orignal articles on trends in the field of behavioral healthcare.  Our latest article is by special guest author Jeremy Mohler.

Dr. Ijeoma Achara of Achara Consulting, Inc. delivered her presentation titled Thriving in an Era of Change: Promoting Wellness and Recovery Through Recovery Oriented Systems of Care on May 11 at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health Conference in Annapolis, MD.   Dr. Achara spoke to managing the intersection of recovery oriented systems of care (ROSC) and the widespread change within the healthcare field nationwide.

Recovery oriented systems of care offer a community-wide solution and a value-driven approach to structuring behavioral health services and supports.  One organization cannot be a system of care; one organization can be part of a larger network of unified services.  With the level of current technology and abilities available surpassing anything the industry has done in the past, providers and system administrators contend with multiple challenges and changes simultaneously.

Dr. Achara urges the behavioral health field to be proactive as systems integrate with primary care: the adoption of a recovery oriented system of care framework will aid the integration by giving the field a shared vision and common language.  Nationwide, only 10% of those who need treatment for addiction access services, and most that actually complete treatment relapse into use.  Only half of those that need mental health services nationwide access services, and many with serious and persistent mental illness are institutionalized and not put on the path towards recovery.

Dr. Achara suggests that the behavioral health field conduct a fearless inventory of what is working and not working as the integration with primary care evolves.  Everyone in the field must develop strategic partnerships to develop a robust system of recovery oriented services.  She believes this transformational approach will allow the field to scrutinize every strategy, service, approach, policy, and fiscal practice through the lens of recovery.  Every provider and system administrator should ask: does this help or hinder recovery?

Dr. Ijeoma Achara currently consults with state and local government entities as well as provider organizations regarding the provision of recovery oriented care and the development of recovery oriented systems of care.  Prior to her consultation activities, Dr. Achara served as the Director of Strategic Planning at the Department of Behavioral Heath and Mental Retardation Services (DBH/MRS) where she was responsible for leading the transformation of Philadelphia’s behavioral health system into a recovery oriented system of care.
You can hear Dr. Achara’s presentation on YouTube in its entirety at:


Many other presentations from the conference are viewable at:


Jeremy Mohler is a writer living in Washington, DC.