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NIMH RAISE Project Makes Progress as Teams Refine Research Approaches

Science Update

Researchers continue to make progress in the NIMH Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) Project, which seeks to intervene at the earliest stages of illness in order to prevent long term disability. Recent refinements to the two RAISE studies will ensure that RAISE continues efficiently, and generates results that will be relevant to consumers and health care policy makers.

The RAISE Early Treatment Program  (ETP), led by John Kane, M.D., of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY, is now conducting a full-scale, randomized controlled trial comparing two different ways of providing treatment to people experiencing the early stages of schizophrenia and related disorders. Both types of treatment emphasize early intervention but feature different approaches for initiating and coordinating care. Treatment may include personalized medication treatment, individual resiliency training, and supportive services, such as family psychoeducation and education or employment assistance. A total of 34 study locations are scattered throughout the nation and are currently recruiting patients. ETP plans to recruit at least 400 patients for the study for up to two years of treatment and evaluation.

The RAISE Connection Program, led by Susan Essock, Ph.D., of Columbia University, will identify ways to effectively integrate a comprehensive early intervention program for schizophrenia and related disorders into existing medical care systems, as well as how such programs benefit individuals receiving multi-element treatment. With the goal of recruiting up to 100 participants in Baltimore, Md., and New York City, the Connection Program will provide participants with individually tailored medication treatment, illness management strategies, education or employment assistance, supportive services for participants and their families, and follow-up care for up to two years. The Connection Program will also carefully document what is needed to implement the key aspects of the intervention in a community setting. If the program proves successful, the information generated will be a resource for state administrators who may wish to incorporate the intervention as a core component of their health care system.

The ETP and Connection Programs aim to improve our knowledge of effective intervention approaches and increase the likelihood of rapid adoption and implementation of a multi-component treatment package for the early stages of schizophrenia. The two studies have the shared goals of improving clinical outcomes for patients and informing health care providers and payers of what could and should be done to avoid the long-term disability currently associated with chronic schizophrenia.

More information about the ETP and Connection Programs is also available here: