Learning Center Brings Research to Practice

SAMHSA recently launched an updated Learning Center within the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). The redesigned Learning Center provides practical support for developing and using evidence-based programs and practices to improve the behavioral health of clients, family members, and the community.


NREPP is an evidence-based repository and review system designed to improve access to information on evaluated interventions and reduce the lag time between creation of scientific knowledge and its practical application in the field. It has served as a centralized resource for the behavioral health community since 1997.

Resources in the NREPP Learning Center are organized in five thematic areas:

Evidence-Based Practice or Program (EBP) Development – This area of the Learning Center provides guidance for service providers who want to develop and potentially submit a program for inclusion in the NREPP registry.  The section discusses the development of a program, the evidence-based practice selection process, ways to adapt the program for a particular organizational culture or population, and ways to avoid evaluation pitfalls.

Program Implementation – Providers encounter challenges when trying to integrate new approaches into a program. This “how to” section offers strategies, tips, and stories of what others in the field do to support decisions and initiate change.

Program Sustainability – Sustaining a program can be just as challenging as initiating one. This area of the Learning Center outlines strategies to support success and offers stories of providers who used innovative approaches to integrate new practices, improve outcomes, and enhance longevity. Sustainability frameworks, tools, and resources are also available for providers to think through their own program approaches.

Behavioral Health Topics – This section provides summaries of evidence on the promotion of mental health and treatment, substance use (reduction, prevention, and treatment), and behavioral health issues regarding special populations. These papers cover a wide range of topics including motivational interviewing, mental health and drug courts, school-based bullying and violence prevention, and screening for posttraumatic stress disorder, to name a few.

Emerging Evidence in Culture-based Practices –This section provides examples of less common approaches used to assess the effectiveness of culture-centered practices for underserved populations.  Research methods for emerging evidence are included, as well as case studies and videos. The focus during the first round of this work has been on programs and practices developed within and for American Indian and Alaskan Native communities.

“As we pursued this study with the tribal nations in question, particularly the Navajo, they felt very strongly that their tribal ceremonies, their traditional healing rituals were absolutely critical and previously unrecognized outside of the Nation itself in enabling these Navajo combat veterans to address posttraumatic stress disorder in their lives.” – Spero Manson from the “Bridging Different Ways of Knowing” video featured in NREPP’s Learning Center.

NREPP Senior Advisor Carter Roeber discussed the inclusion of the section on emerging evidence in culture-based practices.

“We decided to include emerging evidence in the Learning Center for two reasons,” he said.  “First, an emerging evidence section enables us to give voice to SAMHSA stakeholders who have been providing underserved populations with important, localized, culturally appropriate care that – for practical and ethical reasons – has not been evaluated for inclusion the Registry. Second, and more generally, the field recognized that the Learning Center needed to reflect multiple views and encourage communities and practitioners to use a full range of evidence to adapt programs to ensure they fit their specific populations and communities.”

A Resource Library offers a glossary and video presentations from experts about bringing research to practice. It also contains a list of the expert panel members who inform the NREPP Learning Center.

SAMHSA collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Health Research and Quality, and the National Institutes of Health to update the NREPP Learning Center.



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