Notice: Request for Comments; National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is committed to preventing the onset and reducing the progression of mental illness, substance abuse and substance related problems among all individuals, including youth. As part of this effort, SAMHSA is expanding and refining the agency's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) so that the system serves as a leading national resource for contemporary and reliable information on the scientific basis and practicality of interventions to prevent and/or treat mental illness and substance use and abuse. NREPP represents a major agency activity within SAMHSA's Science to Service initiative. The initiative seeks to accelerate the translation of research into practice by promoting the implementation of effective, evidence-based interventions for preventing and/or treating mental disorders and substance use and abuse. Of equal measure, the initiative emphasizes the essential role of the services community in providing input and feedback to influence and better frame the research questions and activities pursued by researchers in these areas. Through SAMHSA's Science to Service initiative, the agency ultimately seeks to develop a range of tools that will facilitate evidence-based decision-making in substance abuse prevention, mental health promotion, and the treatment of mental and substance use disorders. In addition to NREPP, SAMHSA is developing an informational guide of web-based resources on evidence-based interventions that will be available in 2006. SAMHSA also is exploring the feasibility of supporting a searchable web database of evidence-based information (e.g., systematic reviews, meta-analyses, clinical guidelines) for mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment providers. Such a system could reduce the lag time between the initial development and broader application of research knowledge by serving as a real-time resource to providers for ``keeping current'' in ways that will enhance their delivery of high quality, effective services. In combination, these three toolsNREPP, guide to web-based resources, and database of evidence-based informationwould provide valuable information that can be used in a variety of ways by a range of interested stakeholders. With regard to NREPP, during the past two years, SAMHSA convened a series of scientific/stakeholder panels to inform the agency's expansion of the system to include interventions in all substance abuse and mental health treatment and prevention domains. These panels thoroughly assessed the existing NREPP review process and review criteria and provided comments and suggestions for refining and enhancing NREPP. As part of this expansion effort, SAMHSA also engaged a contractor to assess the NREPP process and review criteria, including how the system and criteria compare to other, similar evidence review and rating systems in the behavioral and social sciences. The cumulative results of these activities have guided efforts to refine the NREPP review process and review criteria, as well as inform the agency's plans for how such a system may be used to promote greater adoption of evidence-based interventions within typical community-based settings. This Federal Register Notice (FRN) provides an opportunity for interested parties to become familiar with and comment on SAMHSA's plans for expansion and use of NREPP.