BeST Practices Spread through Illinois

Congratulations to a team in the BeST Center for a grant recently received from the state of Illinois that will help sustain its programs to treat first episodes of psychosis. The team is led by Danelle Hupp, Ph.D., BeST Center Senior Consultant and Trainer for Family-Based Services as well as the PI (principal investigator) on the grant. 

One signature program of the BeST Center – which operates out of NEOMED’s Department of Psychiatry and focuses on helping people with schizophrenia – is the FIRST Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis (CSC for FEP). This initiative provides early identification and comprehensive, team-based treatment to those experiencing a first/early episode of psychosis. 

This year, renewed funding for CSC for FEP came with an additional boost from the state of Illinois, intended to not only spread but also sustain the program’s reach.

Partnering Outside Ohio

While the BeST Center’s primary focus is within Ohio, for several years it has also partnered with the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health to provide expert training and consultation in CSC for FEP. Through a “train the trainers” model, the BeST Center has helped disseminate CSC for FEP treatment to 15 community mental health agencies across Illinois. 

The BeST Center will continue to provide training and consultation to the FIRST.IL CSC for FEP teams through June 30, 2022. And beginning in July, funding from Illinois was doubled in order to make sustainability plans. The goal is for these programs to continue to operate for years to come, after the BeST Center collaboration has been completed.   

“The BeST Center will focus on supporting the CSC for FEP work to ensure that the state of Illinois is prepared to carry the work forward and to sustain FIRST.IL independently in the future,” says Dr. Hupp. 

Congratulations to the whole team working with Dr. Hupp on this partnership with the state of Illinois. 


  • Debra Hrouda, Ph.D., M.S.S.A., LISW-S – BeST Center Director of Practice Implementation and Evaluation
  • Harry Sivec, Ph.D. – BeST Center Senior Managing Consultant and Trainer for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis 
  • Valerie Kreider, Ph.D., LPCC-S, LICDC-S – BeST Center Senior Consultant and Trainer for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis 
  • Erik Messamore, M.D., Ph.D. – BeST Center Medical Director
  • Pamela Roeper, M.A. – Senior Instructional Designer/Technologist
  • Jennifer Collins, Ph.D., LMFT – BeST Center Manager of Program Evaluation
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