Dr. Nickolas Zaller, an associate professor in the University of Arkansas Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, was recently awarded a three-year, $350,000 research fellowship for a new telehealth counseling pilot study in the West Memphis, Arkansas area for individuals on probation or parole who have behavioral health disorders.
The Interdisciplinary Research Leader fellowship was awarded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The purpose of the study is to determine if providing counseling services through telemedicine to people on probation or parole can improve their behavioral health outcomes and reduce the frequency at which they commit new offenses and return to prison or jail.
“The project will be the first of its kind to deliver telehealth-based counseling directly to probation or parole offices for folks who have very limited access to behavioral health services in their communities,” said Dr. Zaller.
One in 44 adults in Arkansas is under some form of correctional supervision, and many of them have become involved in the criminal justice system because of behavioral health problems.
“If we can find an effective way to deliver telemedicine services in conjunction with community corrections, and we can eventually do that across the state, we will have improved access to counseling, which is a crucial component of comprehensive behavioral health treatment,” Dr. Zaller said. “If they don’t get that support, the chances they will go back to prison are much higher.”Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on June 14