SCLC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) began their partnership in 2007 at the historic Lansdowne summit, where the National Mental Health Partnership for Wellness and Smoking Cessation was created. The SAMHSA administrator’s former chief of staff was instrumental in making the connections for SCLC.
In 2008, working in concert with the then SAMHSA administrator, Terry Cline, SCLC sponsored an in-service training with expert speakers including Dr. Schroeder and a respected peer advocate, at SAMHSA headquarters in Rockville. On the list of to dos was to create and promote an overall smoking cessation initiative within SAMHSA and to promote cessation to staff as well as to educate the program officers on the importance of tobacco cessation and treatment in behavioral health.
SAMHSA and SCLC next 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. We kicked off the SAMHSA Leadership Academies for Wellness and Smoking Cessation in 2010. To date, there are 10 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.