Healthy Minds Fairfax

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., M-F
703-324-7938 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway - Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Janet Bessmer, CSA Program Manager
Peter Steinberg, Healthy Minds Fairfax Program Manager

Fairfax Consortium for Evidenced-Based Practice

The Fairfax Consortium for Evidence-Based Practice is an Academic-Community Partnership between the George Mason University (GMU) Psychology Department, Healthy Minds Fairfax and the Inova Kellar Center.

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In an effort to increase the availability of high quality, evidence-based behavioral health interventions for children, youth, and families in Fairfax County, Healthy Minds Fairfax contracted with the Psychology Department at George Mason University (GMU) to develop the Fairfax Consortium for Evidence-Based Practice (FC-EBP). Healthy Minds Fairfax is a system of care created to improve access to and quality of mental health and substance use disorder services for children, youth, and families, through coordinating a continuum of services across multiple County agencies, the public school system, and a network of private providers. The overarching goals of Healthy Minds Fairfax are to help youth and families in the Fairfax-Falls Church community access mental health and substance abuse services, and improve the quality of those services.

The FC-EBP is steered by a multidisciplinary Leadership Group that represents multiple youth serving and family sectors of the Fairfax County community in addition to Healthy Minds Fairfax and GMU Psychology Department, including personnel from the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services, Fairfax-Falls Church Children’s Services Act, Fairfax County Public Schools, and Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, as well as a faith based representative and a parent representative from the community. Healthy Minds Fairfax falls under the purview of James Gillespie, LCSW, MPA CSB Child, Youth and Family Services Director and Healthy Minds Fairfax Director.

Multiple faculty from the GMU Psychology Department participate in the FC-EBP. It is led by Dr. Christianne Esposito-Smythers who is the Principal Investigator on the Healthy Minds Fairfax contract. She is also one of the trainers. Dr. Keith Renshaw is a Co-Investigator on this contract. Drs. Sarah Fischer, Robyn Mehlenbeck and Tara Chaplin also serve as trainers.

Clinicians who participate in the training consortium are provided with access to free training and consultation in evidence-based interventions designed to treat a range of child and adolescent mental health conditions (depression, anxiety, disruptive-behavior, post-traumatic stress), substance abuse, and high-risk behaviors (suicidal and non-suicidal self-injury). Many of these trainings offer certifications upon successful completion. The Fairfax Consortium Leadership Group also offers fidelity monitoring, outcome assessment, and implementation support.

Please email if you have questions or are interested in joining the email list for training opportunities.

Many different treatment approaches are used to help youth with mental health and substance abuse problems. Research shows some treatments work better than others for specific problems. Treatments that have scientific evidence supporting use are called evidence-based treatments (EBTs). Treatments are compared in clinical trials with dozens to hundreds of children with similar types of problems. As more studies are done and find support, evidence for that EBT grows. Often there is more than one EBT for a given problem or set of problems. The goal of the FC-EBP is to promote the use of evidence-based treatment by providing free training and consultation to clinicians in our local community.

The evidence based trainings currently offered through the FC-EBP include:

  • Core Competency Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CC-CBT).
  • Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems (MATCH-ADTC).
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) .
  • Family Intervention for Suicide Prevention (FISP).
  • Case Manager Training.

In exchange for access to low-cost/no cost training, participating private clinicians will consider becoming contracted Behavioral Health providers with Healthy Minds Fairfax (Comprehensive Services Act, Short-Term Behavioral Health). 

There are many benefits to participating in our trainings. Clinicians receive free training in treatments shown to work for a range of youth mental health problems as well as free continuing education credits. Clinicians may also receive certification in some of the treatments offered if all requirements are completed. Those clinicians who receive certification in sponsored trainings will be given the opportunity to be listed on websites of relevant Fairfax County and affiliated programs (for example, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy National Therapist Certification Program), which should generate referrals for your practice in your areas of expertise.

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