New Projects at the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health

Molly Lopez

Dr. Molly Lopez

Dr. Molly Lopez,  Director of the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health (TIEMH) at the the School’s Center for Social Work Research, is overseeing three substantial new projects with potential to transform the delivery of mental health care services.

With combined first year funding of $2.6 million, these new projects bring 17 new employees to TIEMH, along with numerous consultants and community partners:


  • Supported by funding from the Hogg Foundation and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Via Hope is now officially a project under TIEMH for the next several years while it transitions to an independent 501(c)3. Originally created as part of Texas’ Mental Health Transformation Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Via Hope provides peer specialist and family partner training and certification along with training and technical assistance for provider organizations and staff. The School welcomes Via Hope director Dennis Bach and his 10+ member staff to the CSWR-TIEMH fold. Visit Via Hope to learn more.
  • Dr. Lopez is also collaborating with Texas Health and Human Services Commission (TX HHSC) on the SAMHSA-funded Texas System of Care Expansion Implementation Cooperative Agreement. This four-year project provides support for the statewide implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan to enhance state and local infrastructure to improve service delivery for children and youth with serious emotional disturbances. TIEMH will provide staffing for program evaluation, training and cultural and linguistic competency coordination, community and state infrastructure development, youth and family engagement, and communications and social marketing. Visit Texas System of Care to learn more.
  • Dr. Lopez along with Dr. Stacey Manser has received funding from the Meadows Foundation to conduct an analysis of the behavioral health focused 1115 Medicaid Waiver proposals submitted to TX HHSC. The TIEMH team will create a database and analyze the features of behavioral health projects proposed by regional health partnerships in response to key health care needs in their region. In their final report to Meadows and HHSC, TIEMH will provide a conceptual overview of the proposed behavioral health-related practice innovations and identify potential accountability frameworks as well as potential opportunities to support local “learning collaboratives” to provide enhanced support for quality / performance improvement capacity building or best practice implementation.