SCLC is honored to be named as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA's) new National Center of Excellence for Tobacco-Free Recovery.  SCLC and SAMHSA began their partnership in 2007 at the historic Lansdowne summit, which aimed to focus attention on mental health consumers and staff.  Key issues and opportunities for smoking cessation and wellness in the mental health community were discussed at the summit, which led to the creation of the National Mental Health Partnership for Wellness and Smoking Cessation.

In 2008, SCLC sponsored an in-service training with expert speakers including Dr. Schroeder at SAMHSA headquarters in Rockville. One main goal was to create and promote an overall smoking cessation initiative within SAMHSA and promote cessation to staff as well as educate the program officers on the importance of tobacco cessation and treatment in behavioral health.

SAMHSA and SCLC partnered in 2009 to create and implement a new initiative known as the 100 Pioneers. It was designed to stimulate field-driven activities to address nicotine addiction and bring smoking cessation services to communities and behavioral health clients and staff. The partnership continued in 2010, with the execution of a second phase of the Pioneers initiative. The SAMHSA Leadership Academies for Wellness and Smoking Cessation was kicked off in 2010. To date, there are 18 states that have held planning summits to launch statewide partnerships among behavioral health providers, consumers, public health groups, and other stakeholders to create and implement an action plan to reduce smoking prevalence among behavioral health consumers and staff.

SAMHSA’s mission is to “reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.” In 2012, SAMHSA had a budget of $3.39 billion, used predominantly to fund service programs.  The SCLC was established at the University of California, San Francisco in 2003 as a national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2006, the SCLC received additional funding from The American Legacy Foundation to promote smoking cessation among those with mental illness or substance abuse disorders. Prior to the SAMHSA–SCLC collaboration, the agency had no other private–public partnerships focused on tobacco cessation.