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Valley Health Awarded $1.5M for Integration of Behavioral Health, Substance Use and Suicide Prevention in Berkeley County

Valley Health Awarded $1.5M for Integration of Behavioral Health, Substance Use and Suicide Prevention in Berkeley County

Project TRIUMPH Collaboration Will Expand Screening, Early Intervention, and Referral in Family Medical Practices; and Train Future Nurses and Social Workers

Valley Health, in partnership with Shepherd University and ADAPT (A Division for Advancing Prevention & Treatment) at the University of Baltimore’s Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement (CDPE), has been awarded a $1.5 million Behavioral Health Integration grant for Project TRIUMPH (Train, Respect, Integrate, & Understand Mental Health for Population Health) from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The three-year grant began July 1.

The purpose of Project TRIUMPH is to:

1) Increase access to behavioral health, substance use, and suicide prevention services through three Valley Health primary care clinics and their community partners in the rural, underserved communities of Martinsburg and Hedgesville, West Virginia; and

2) Develop the primary care practices as clinical education sites to train and prepare the future nursing and social work workforce in those communities through an academic-practice partnership with Shepherd University.

The three primary care clinics are Valley Health Family Medicine | Tavern Rd, Valley Health Family Medicine | Hedgesville, and Valley Health Family Medicine | Martinsburg.

Three behavioral health care managers will work with nurse-led family medicine practices to provide screening, early intervention, and referral services for behavioral health, substance use, and suicide risk, and coordinate psychiatric telehealth consultation to support the collaborative care model. Students will be actively involved in the model.

The clinics will prepare the future nursing and social work workforces by facilitating their competency in evidence-based practices for depression, anxiety, substance use (SBIRT), suicide prevention, and telehealth technology. Through the academic-practice partnership with nearby Shepherd University, the Project TRIUMPH clinics will work to develop tomorrow’s workforce with the skillset and motivation to work in the prevention realm through specific curriculum instruction, while Shepherd University faculty support will further extend Project TRIUMPH’s impact.

Over the next three years, Project TRIUMPH expects to screen and offer appropriate interventions for 25,000 unique patients, age 18 and over; and train 60 nursing students and 50 social work students each year in inter-professional and behavioral health integration competencies; and prevention, screening, intervention and referral practices.

Mark Nantz, President and CEO of Valley Health, stated, “We are excited to have HRSA’s support to launch this truly collaborative model of behavioral health integration in the Eastern Panhandle. We have an exceptional opportunity to improve not only the whole health of individuals in the community through a population health approach, but also to transform how our current and future providers embrace behavioral health and substance use as key indicators of overall health and happiness.”

The data show a clear need for screening and referral for behavioral health and substance use disorder issues in Berkeley County. A 2017 community health needs assessment conducted by West Virginia University identified significant gaps in care in the county and the growing utilization of hospital emergency rooms to provide these services. West Virginia ranks as a top state for the prevalence of adverse childhood events, and the incidence of suicide is 27 percent higher than the national rate.

Dr. Lora Peppard, Director of ADAPT at CDPE, is leading the Project TRIUMPH grant. She related, “ADAPT’s mission is to support integration of evidence-based prevention practices and models into High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) communities like Berkeley County.” She continued, “Project TRIUMPH offers the next generation of integrated care model for secondary prevention, synthesizing key mental health, suicide, substance use, and social determinant practices into a robust collaborative care model. Valley Health has done an amazing job forging critical academic-practice partnerships to make this happen.”

Dr. Sharon Mailey, director of the Shepherd School of Nursing, stated, “Shepherd University’s School of Nursing is thrilled to be a partner in this mental health collaborative care model. The region’s opioid epidemic, now embedded in the COVID-19 pandemic, has created an environment of greater stress and crisis for West Virginia’s most vulnerable populations, and exposed the need for us to bridge care gaps collaboratively. Participation in Project TRIUMPH will provide important clinical rotations for our bachelor’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice students with a vibrant community-based inter-professional behavioral health team.”

Project TRIUMPH Leadership Team

  • Project Director: Lora Peppard, PhD, DNP, PMHNP-BC, Director of ADAPT, Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement, University of Baltimore/Washington/Baltimore HIDTA
  • Project Administrator: Karen Dorr, DNP, RN-BC, CARN, Executive Director, Behavioral Health Services, Valley Health Winchester Medical Center
  • Behavioral Health Integration Manager: Summer Jeirles, LPC, CAADC, Manager, Behavioral Health Integration, Behavioral Health Services, Valley Health Winchester Medical Center
  • Project Manager: Rebecca Bates, DNP, FNP-C, PMP, Washington/Baltimore HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area)


A Division for Advancing Prevention and Treatment (ADAPT) at the University of Baltimore Center for Drug Policy and Enforcement operationalizes and supports the National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Prevention Strategy, uniting HIDTA prevention programming across the nation. ADAPT assists all HIDTAs with translating, implementing, and evaluating substance use prevention evidence-based practices and models within their unique communities.