Fall 2016 news from the Maryland Early Intervention Program (EIP) team!
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The EIP offers specialized programs with expertise in the early identification, evaluation, and comprehensive psychiatric treatment of adolescents and young adults with, or at risk for, psychotic disorders, and uses an integrated approach to address the health and mental health needs of young adults, including providing support for co-occurring substance use disorders, and metabolic and other co-occurring medical conditions.

For more information, contact us at                

phone: 1-877-277-MEIP (6347)               

Biannual Fall EIP Advisory Council Meeting

The EIP Workgroup welcomed our Advisory Council, members from our clinics, and other staff from EIP to our Fall Advisory Council Meeting.  We enjoyed a productive exchange with our varied topics and presenters, and are thankful for everyone's contributions.  

Dr. Al Zachik addressed the workgroup and Advisory Council with updates on behalf of the Behavioral Health Administration.  Dr. Zachik stressed the importance of taking a true integrative perspective when working with children, adolescents, and transition aged youth.  There should be a consultation and information sharing model across all domains of health, and Dr. Zachik encouraged EIP to continue their broad public health perspective within treatment and education.  

The meeting also covered the topic of peer support, including new training modules, peer support recovery support services, and EIP's own peer services and leadership. The, a free online workforce development platform, will be introducing a new training module on Peer Support Specialists coming in Spring 2017. The training will include an overview of the Peer Support Specialist Training, information on what is a Peer Support Specialist, and recertification training for Peer Support Specialists.  The EIP is also excited to announce the addition of peer specialists in early 2017 to our OnTrack at Family Services and Hopkins EPIC clinics!  To learn more about the Peer Support Services that will be a part of our Early Psychosis Intervention Teams please check out this handout with updates from our Peer Services Workgroup.

Drs. Jason Schiffman and Bruce Herman continued the conversation on EIP's college outreach with our ongoing screening and health promotion efforts through the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) campus.  Dr. Herman discussed how college counseling centers need to adjust to the "new normal:" more clients and fewer resources.  A screening and collaborative relationship with EIP allows UMBC Counseling Center an easy and quick way to identify those at risk who need further thorough assessment and can be referred for more specialized treatment.

Drs. Gloria Reeves and Jason Schiffman also led a discussion on the telepsychiatry vision for EIP in 2017.  Many of our council members contributed their thoughts on how best to talk and present telepsychiatry to consumers and professionals alike.  Our current Early Psychosis Intervention Team staff members discussed the importance of framing telepsychiatry as a more accessible modality that may provide the opportunity for more frequent contact with a mental health clinician.  Drs. Anthony Chico and David Pruitt both stressed the importance of a professional in the room with the family to act as the advocate and liaison between family and MH clinician.  To learn more about the current telepsychiatry landscape in the state of Maryland click here for a brief summary.


We want to thank everyone for their significant contributions at this meeting and we look forward to continuing these conversations at future Advisory Councils!

Fall 2016 Spotlight: Mental Illness in the Military

In honor of Veterans Day this past November, the EIP would like to highlight the important topic of mental illness in the military.  Current research suggests that mental illness in the military leads to more hospitalizations than any other physical problems, including war wounds, accidents, illness or pregnancies.  Furthermore, medical standards for enlistment, commission, and retention effectively select out service members with recurrent or chronic mental illness; therefore, a first hospitalization is likely to reflect a new illness (Herrell et al., 2006).  There are circumstances, however, when recruits may join the military with preexisting severe mental illness, often stopping pharmacological treatment shortly before entering basic training to facilitate acceptance into service.  Given the environments in which the military operates, soldiers may find themselves faced with unique challenges that can lead to new onset or recurrence of major psychiatric symptoms.  As such, EIP would like to highlight some of the resources available to address mental illness in the military.

The Walter Reed Army Medical Center

At the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) there are specific inpatient and outpatient programs tailored to individuals in the military with psychotic disorders, like schizophrenia.  The incidence of psychosis at WRAMC has varied somewhere between 15% and 30%, depending on the month.  When patients arrive, the Medical Center has a multidisciplinary treatment team to care for them, including staff psychiatrists, psychiatry residents, medical interns, medical students, art therapists, recreational therapists, occupational therapists, nurse practitioners, social workers, and psychiatric nurses.

One unique aspect that helps in the treatment of military patients with psychotic disorders is that there is often less opportunity to use illicit substances, since drug use is not allowed during military service. In addition, Army Lt. Col. Geoffrey Grammer, chief of inpatient psychiatry at WRAMC, explains, "They [service members] are often drug naïve because you can’t come into the service with schizophrenia. They haven’t been treated with drugs in the past.  Because of that, anecdotally, the patients we have had the opportunity to treat tend to respond very well to our treatment measures.”  To read more about the services offered at WRAMC and Dr. Grammer's insight into this program click here.


Interprofessional Training Program for Military Connected Families

A new interprofessional training series on military connected families is now being offered on is a free online workforce development platform to help the workforce and the larger community to better serve the behavioral health of youth and their families.  This free training series includes 14-multimedia training modules presented by local, state, and national leaders in the field, with informative resource materials and tools, interviews with experts, and family member perspectives.  Additionally, free CEUs are offered for providers.  Topics of modules range from a conversational panel on an overview of the military, cultural competency and related topics of diversity, insight into the realities of change and transition for military children, and many more.  For more information, email Larraine Bernstein ( or check out the modules on under Interprofessional Training on Military Connected Families.

Family of Heroes: Role-Play Simulation for Military Families

Family of Heroes is an online evidence-based resiliency & PTSD training simulation where family members learn essential skills to manage the challenges they may face in adjusting post-deployment life.  The simulation is a result of a collaboration between the VA of NY/NJ and Kognito, and is currently listed on SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.  This simulation is made freely available to all Maryland military families by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Behavioral Health Administration and the Center for School Mental Health School of Medicine.

The hour long simulation includes topics on families managing expectations on their Veteran's return, learning to identify post-deployment stress, and managing conversations with the goals of de-escalating arguments, negotiating family responsibilities, and, if needed, motivating the veteran to seek help for post-deployment stress, PTSD, or thoughts of suicide.  The virtual humans within the simulation act and respond like real veterans experiencing post-deployment stress, thereby, providing users with hands-on practice within a realistic and risk-free learning environment.  Click here to learn more or try out the simulation.

Back to School: Toolkits to Support the Full Inclusion of Students with Early Psychosis in Higher Education

A major goal of specialty early intervention in psychosis is the functional recovery and community integration of emerging adults with first episode psychosis.  Many programs, including EIP, have dedicated supported education and vocational rehabilitation components.  The recent growth of such services means that many more young Americans will be encouraged and supported to enroll in institutions of higher education, including city and community colleges, four year universities, and graduate and professional programs.  The Back to School Toolkits funded through SAMHSA are designed to help support the integration and inclusion of such students.  

Many different stakeholders play important roles in campus life.  For this reason, the Toolkits include both components that target more specific groups (such as campus disability support services staff, administrators, counseling center staff, parents and students), along with other materials that are intended for a cross-stakeholder audience. Two separate Toolkits are available: one targets students and families, and the other is geared toward campus administrators, staff and other members of the campus community, such as student advocates.  Both Toolkits include information briefs and handouts designed to be re-posted or printed and disseminated on college campuses.  

Click here for the Student & Family Toolkit Version
Click here for the Campus Staff & Administrator Toolkit Version

Peer Services for Young Adults Workgroup

The workgroup is planning on meeting monthly to focus on leveraging current opportunities for peer supports in EIP and other organizations that could benefit from peer support.  If you’re interested in joining the peer-involvement workgroup, please contact Melanie Bennett

Access the original peer-support for FEP guidance manual developed by Dr. Jones.

As always, don't forget about Maryland EIP's four services to support individuals, families, and professionals who may encounter early psychosis:

  1. Outreach and Education Services – To behavioral health providers, schools, primary care settings, and consumer organizations. For more information or to schedule a presentation to your organization, contact Eryn Bentley.
  2. Clinical Services – For 12-30-year-olds who present with clinical high risk symptoms that may be predictive of future psychosis, who have early signs of psychosis, or are in the initial stages of psychoses. Services include the Strive for Wellness Clinic, the MPRC First Episode Clinic (FEC), and the Division of Community Psychiatry’s RAISE Connection Program. The Maryland Early Intervention Program Network currently provides services via two Early Intervention Teams: Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (EPIC) & OnTrack Maryland at Family Services, Inc.
  3. Consultation Services – To providers regarding identification and treatment for individuals that may be experiencing symptoms that may be predictive of future psychosis, who have early signs of psychosis, or are in the initial stages of psychoses.
  4. Training and Implementation Support Services – Will establish Early Intervention Teams (EITs) throughout the state and create a learning collaborative so that EITs and others providing services to those with early psychosis can collaborate, share resources, and provide support and coordination of service delivery.

All EIP initiatives may be contacted through our toll free number (1-877-277-MEIP) or e-mail ( A trained specialist is available to guide you toward the appropriate services. For more information on accessing services offered through the EIP, visit

Copyright © 2016, Maryland Early Intervention Program (EIP), All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
University of Maryland, Baltimore
School of Medicine
737 W. Lombard Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
1 (877) 277-MEIP (6347)

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