Process improvement for behavioral health

NIATx as an Evidence-based Practice

The NIATx Model was originally developed as a demonstration project supported by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).  The seminal article that emerged from this demonstration pilot (McCarty et al., 2007), and described the impact of the NIATx model on access and retention in addiction treatment settings.

Since then, more than 60 peer-reviewed publications support the effectiveness of the NIATx model.  The model has expanded to include use in adopting evidence-based practices and in mental health, child welfare, criminal justice, and other human services settings. NIATx has also proven effective in international settings.

Investigators studying the NIATx approach now extend beyond the original research team that developed the model.

The following is a partial list of NIATx-related research published in peer-reviewed publications.















  • Daley, M., Shepard, D. S., Tompkins, C., Dunigan, R., Reif, S., Perloff, J., … & Horgan, C. (2011). Randomized trial of enhanced profiling in substance abuse treatmentAdministration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research38(2), 96–
  • Gustafson, D. H., K. A. Johnson, V. Capoccia, F. Cotter, I. I. Ford, D. Holloway, D. Lea, D. McCarty, T. Molfenter, and B. Owens. The NIATx model: Process improvement in behavioral healthMadison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison(2011).
  • Hoffman, K. A., Ford, J. H., Tillotson, C. J., Choi, D., & McCarty, D. (2011). Days to treatment and early retention among patients in treatment for alcohol and drug disorders. Addictive Behaviors, 36(6):643–7. PMCID: PMC3070832. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.01.031
  • McCarty, D., Capoccia, V.A. & Gustafson, D.H. (2011) (Summary author C.A. Cavacuiti). Quality improvement in addiction treatment.  In Christopher A. Cavacuiti  Principles of Addiction Medicine: The Essentials. (Chapter 31: pp. 149–152).  Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. (Edited and Abridged from the 2009 chapter.)
  • Molfenter T., Ford II J.H,, Bhattacharya A. (2011). The development and use of a model to predict sustainability of change in healthcare settings. International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management, 5(1):22–35. PMCID: PMC3260322
  • Rieckmann, T., Fussell, H., Doyle, K., Ford, J., Riley, K. J., & Henderson, S. (2011). Adolescent substance abuse treatment: Organizational change and quality of care. Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 31(2):80-93. PMCID: PMC3673735. doi: 10.1002/j.2161-1874. 2011.tb00069.x
  • Roosa, M., Scripa, J. S., Zastowny, T. R., & Ford II, J. H. (2011). Using a NIATx based local learning collaborative for performance improvement. Evaluation and Program Planning34(4), 390–


  • Rutkowski BA, Gallon S, Rawson RA, Freese TE, Bruehl A, Crevecoeur-MacPhail D, Sugita W, Molfenter T, Cotter F. (2010) Improving client engagement and retention in treatment: the Los Angeles County experience. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 39(1):78–86. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2010.03.015


  • McCarty, D., Capoccia, V.A. & Gustafson, D.H. (2009). Quality improvement in addiction treatment.  In Richard Ries, David Fiellin, Shannon Miller and Richard Saitz  (Eds.). Principles of Addiction Medicine: Fourth Edition. (Chapter 31: pp. 433–440).   Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
  • McCarty, D., Gustafson, D., Capoccia, V. A., & Cotter, F. (2009). Improving care for the treatment of alcohol and drug disorders. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research36(1), 52–
  • McCarty, D. (2009). Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment. In G.L. Fisher & N.A. Roget (Eds.) The Encyclopedia of Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications


  • Hoffman, K. A., Ford II, J. H., Choi, D., Gustafson, D. H., & McCarty, D. (2008). Replication and sustainability of improved access and retention within the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment. Drug and Alcohol Dependence98(1-2), 63–
  • Wisdom J.P., Hoffman K., Rechberger E., Seim K., Owens B. (2008). Women–focused treatment agencies and process improvement: strategies to increase client engagement. Women & Therapy, 32(1):69-87


  • Capoccia V.A., Cotter F., Gustafson D.H., Cassidy E.F., Ford J.H., 2nd, Madden L., Owens B.H., Farnum S.O., McCarty D., Molfenter T.(2007). Making stone soup: improvements in clinic access and retention in addiction treatment. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety / Joint Commission Resources, 33(2), 95–103.
  • Evans, A., Rieckmann, T., Fitzgerald, M., & Gustafson, D. (2007). Teaching the NIATx Model of Process Improvement as an Evidence-Based Process. Journal of Teaching in the Addictions, 6 (2).
  • Ford J.H., 2nd, Green C.A., Hoffman K.A., Wisdom J.P., Riley K.J., Bergmann L., Molfenter T.(2007). Process improvement needs in substance abuse treatment: admissions walk-through results. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 33(4), 379-389. PMCID: PMC2151921
  • McCarty D, Gustafson DH, Wisdom JP, Ford J, Choi D, Molfenter T, Capoccia V, Cotter F. (2007). The Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx): enhancing access and retention. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 88(2-3):138– PMCID: PMC1896099