2016 Highlights
by patricia.deegan on Monday, January 2, 2017 - 1:18pm

Hey friends. As we begin a New Year, I’d like to share some highlights of our work here at Pat Deegan & Associates.

Our mission is to transform behavioral health services to support the recovery and wellness of people diagnosed with serious mental illness. We build tools and technologies that support peers and professionals in delivering recovery-oriented, person centered care.  We also build tools that can be used directly by folks with the lived experience to support building a life of meaning and purpose outside of behavioral health. And I am so pleased to let you know that our technologies and tools are reaching an ever-growing number of people:

  • CommonGround software is being used by tens of thousands of people in over 70 clinics and ACT teams across the U.S.
  • 4 new programs are scheduled to adopt CommonGround software in the first quarter of 2017
  • CommonGround software continues to break barriers:
  • Recovery Library now has nearly 300 member organizations in 7 countries and many thousands of users who access recovery and wellness resources in their everyday work with people. We now have over 3,000 original videos, Personal Medicine Cards and other recovery and wellness resources in Library.

Our PCORI study wrapped up in October, ending 2 years of work comparing person-centered psychiatric care (CommonGround) with measurement based practice. Now that data has been collected, we will begin analysis with our fantastic research partners: Community Care Behavioral Health, Dartmouth Center for Psychiatric Research and the UPMC Center for High Value Healthcare. I am particularly pleased that we will use a participatory action research approach as part of our methodology. Stay tuned for the results.

Our Hearing Voices Simulation continues to evolve. We are now offering pre-loaded MP3 players and the response has been very enthusiastic. A recent publication in the British Journal of Psychiatry continues to show the simulation increases empathy and improves communication between people who hear voices, and psychiatrists.

A new offering has been our CommonGround Academy. Academies help peer specialists and clinical staff learn the fundamentals of the CommonGround Approach and apply Empathy, Personal Medicine, Power Statements, Decision Support and Shared Decision Making in everyday practice. To date we have worked with 10 partners to reach over 400 staff with our live, webinar-style courses. By summer, we will have delivered nearly 100 classes and 550 hours of instruction.

Of course, I continue to write, publish and speak at conferences. Highlights from last year included:

  • Submitting a qualitative study on how Power Statements enhance communication with psychiatrists. Stay tuned for publication details.
  • Speaking at the Open Minds' Technology and Informatics Institute in Washington DC.  Once again, CommonGround seems to be the only technology solution pairing the power of peer support with a web application.
  • A keynote at the Maryland Statewide Peer Specialist Conference. I got a fun, rousing reception by a room full of amazing peers as I shared my thoughts on the topic of "Peer Staff as Disruptive Innovators".

Another important focus of my work has been as a consultant to the OnTrackNY central team. OnTrack is a team based, recovery-oriented, trauma-informed model for working with young folks diagnosed with first episode psychosis. This past year I have been active in helping to develop a peer manual for peer specialists working on the teams. I also work closely as a clinical and recovery consultant with the psychiatrists, nurses and the individual teams. I find the work very rewarding and exciting. 

So 2017 is upon us and our small team here at PDA is prepared to continue to make big waves as we continue our efforts to transform behavioral health to support the recovery of folks diagnosed with serious mental health challenges. 

From the team here at PDA, thanks to all for your enduring support.


Thank you Pat,

I have been inspired by your work! I was spurred to explore shared decision-making in depth and have shared your ideas with students, patients, and colleagues.

May you have a healthy, productive, and meaningful new year!

Please let us--in our own way--as people previously "labelled" and set aside, to reclaim our wealth. Our true nature is to help other people diagnosed.
Thanks Patricia for believing in Yours Truly from Manitoba.

Thanks for the wisdom. Happy and Healthy New Year to all my friends in Manitoba.

I agree that shared decision making holds great promise. Glad you share the vision and are passing it forward. Healthy and prosperous New Year.

It's an honor and a pleasure to be working with you, Pat. I believe we have a very interesting year ahead of us.

Congratulations Pat on all the great work you and your colleagues are accomplishing.
May 2017 bring you continues success and health, happy days.
Keep endorsing!
Joan Nobiling

Hi Joan. Great to hear from you. Thanks for the warm wishes and best to you and yours in the New Year.

Hey Pat...always glad to hear the work goes on. Wishing you all the best in 2017. I'm looking forward to the upcoming webinars. LYN

Hey Lyn. Glad you'll be attending the webinars.

Hey Sascha. I am really enjoying the work with you. Figuring out how to stay true to the principles of peer support while working on specialty FEP teams is a challenge

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