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Elizabeth Hospital Honored for Innovative Technology in Mental Health Care


By: Richard L. Smith 

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA) recently awarded the Trinitas Regional Medical Center, part of RWJBarnabas Health, the Outstanding Use of New Technology Award.Ad

Accoridng to a statement released by RWJ Barnabas officials, this recognition was given at the IT Project’s Annual Conference, "Beyond Boundaries, Exploring IT Opportunities," held on May 1, 2024, at the FEA Conference Center in Monroe Township.

The CARES Program at Trinitas Regional Medical Center, funded by a grant from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), offers a 24/7 crisis intervention service for individuals aged 21 and older with intellectual disabilities and co-occurring mental health disorders.

In 2015, the CARES Program launched Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes) after participating in a replication project at the University of New Mexico ECHO Institute.

The NJAMHAA IT Project aims to help providers maximize their use of technology to protect data and enhance service quality. 

"Our appreciation goes to NJAMHAA and the award committee for their advocacy for better and more efficient services for this most vulnerable population," said Program Director Dr. Bonny Uchenna Life, Ph.D., MA, MPP.

"As a statewide crisis program with many of our consumers and providers located in remote communities, the implementation of the CARES IDD ECHO videoconference sessions has ensured opportunities for collaborative learning and extended healthcare outcomes by linking the multidisciplinary HUB team directly with caregivers and providers."AdTrinitas became the first hospital in New Jersey to implement Project ECHO to serve individuals with co-occurring intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD), such as autism and mental illness (IDD/MI), through bi-weekly CARES IDD ECHO sessions.

These sessions offer a regional training curriculum annually. The ECHO team, known as "The Hub," includes psychologists, advanced nurse practitioners (APNs), social workers, behaviorists, geriatric psychiatrists, and professional counselors.

Additionally, the Trinitas SCOPE Program conducts Geriatric IDD ECHO sessions for the elderly.AdThis recognition highlights the innovative and impactful work being done at Trinitas Regional Medical Center to enhance the quality of care for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health disorders.