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Key Findings

  • Advancing Recovery's "human impact" was significant. Some 10,000 patients with substance use disorders and addictions accessed evidence-based treatments and services that were not available prior to Advancing Recovery.
  • The Five Levers of Change, a model for implementing large-systems change in complex health care environments, emerged from the work of the 12 partnerships. The framework evolved from observing how Round I partnerships approached their challenges and barriers and then deducing what was common to their strategies for addressing them.
  • Seven Advancing Recovery partnerships contributed to a medication-assisted treatment toolkit, Getting Started With Medication-Assisted Treatment. Providers in Baltimore, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Missouri, Texas, and West Virginia contributed case studies from their projects, sharing lessons about establishing a medication-assisted treatment program.
  • Advancing Recovery partnerships both informed and had a direct impact on public policy in their states. The national program office reported that 10 of the 12 participating states incorporated changes to administrative rules, statutes, formulary changes, financing/reimbursement/contracting strategies, or related licensure topics.


Advancing Recovery: State and Provider Partnerships for Quality Addiction Care was an $11 million national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to promote the use of evidence-based practices by treatment providers through innovative partnerships between providers and single state agencies. This initiative is expected to improve clinical and administrative practices that impede the use of evidence-based practices.

The Need

There are many clinical practices in addition treatment that have been shown by evidence to improve treatment outcomes. However, there are numerous barriers that prevent a. the implementation of these practices, and b. the sustainability of these practices, once implemented. The goal of Advancing Recovery is to remove these barriers to increase the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based practices in order to improve client access, retention and outcomes in treatment.


Advancing Recovery works to impact the lives of people facing behavioral health issues through better treatment delivery systems that utilize Evidence-based practices (EBPs). We will accomplish this by:

  • Implementing system change through the use of process improvement methods and tools
  • Designing, implementing, and sharing innovative solutions to systemic barriers
  • Building alliances between treatment providers, payers, and policymakers
  • Using a collaborative learning model that emphasizes peer networking and coaching

The program focuses on 5 distinct categories of evidence-based practice:

  1. The use of medications for specific diagnoses
  2. Screening and brief intervention in primary care settings
  3. The use of specific psychosocial clinical interventions
  4. The use of post-treatment aftercare
  5. Provision of case management, wrap-around, and supportive services

Funding Period:
January 2006 - June 2010
Principal Investigators:
David Gustafson Sr., Ph.D


  • Journal Of Studies On Alcohol And Drugs
    Advancing Recovery: Implementing Evidence-Based Treatment For Substance Use Disorders At The Systems Level

    Schmidt LA, Rieckmann T, Abraham A, Molfenter T, Capoccia V, Roman P, Gustafson DH, McCarty D

    View Abstract | Cite