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About the Program
 RESPOND training
 will expand the number of healthcare providers trained to provide mental health and substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD) services in underserved community-based settings.  Particularly, the program will establish a foundation of skills and expertise to provide mental health and SUD/OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery services utilizing a team-based care model.  

What does RESPOND stand for? Recovery Education through Synergistic Partnerships to address OUD for Primary CliNical ProviDers.

Our next cohort will begin in September 2024 - August 2025

Cost: $0 for accepted applicants
Location: Blended (Online and In-Person)

The target population is practicing nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs), health service psychologists, counselors, nurses, and/or social workers who are trained to provide integrated mental health and SUD/OUD services, including Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) for PAs and advanced practice nurses (APNs).

Program Details
This 12-month program provides a combination of didactic, experiential, and practical training.

  • Participants will complete six modules over the course of a year. Participants will also receive the course materials and a certificate of completion at the conclusion of the year.
  • The topics include but are not limited to (see curriculum below):
    • Inter-professional teams, assessment, medication assisted treatment and counseling, telehealth for rural and underserved communities, systemic and family approaches in behavioral health treatment, and trauma and crisis.
  • RESPOND’s participants will also complete a project in collaboration with their clinic/hospital.
  • RESPOND partners and participants will attend a summit to increase their expertise and present their findings.

Join the Waitlist for our Upcoming Cohort


 Course Curriculum and Schedule


Dates Learning Content Module Topic
Module 1 January 15 - February 23 Care in Context: Interprofessional Teams

Collaborations among prescribers (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants), counselors, and social workers.

Module 2 March 11 - April 26 Assessment

Diagnosing SUD, OUD, and co-occurring health, mental, and psychosocial issues.

Module 3

May 13 - June 21 Pharmacological and Counseling Approaches MOUD and best counseling practices
Module 4 July 15 - August 23 Telehealth for Rural and Underserved Communities

Mental health system, disparities, and evidence that telehealth improves outcomes in rural communities.

Module 5 September 9 -October 18 Systemic and Familial Approaches in the Behavioral Health Treatment Mental health system, disparities, and family supports in SUD/OUD
Module 6 November 4 - December 6 Trauma and Crisis: An Integrated Approach for Children and Youth Adverse childhood experiences and neurodevelopment


Interested? Join our Waitlist for the Upcoming Cohort in 2024!


Meet the Team

Debra Murray

Debra Ann Murray, Psy.D., ICS, CSAC, PS - RESPOND Project Director
Dr. Debra Ann Murray graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology. Murray was trained by William Miller (the co-founder of Motivational Interviewing) and maintains an active research agenda on this topic. Debra continues active scholarship in the areas of counselor training and supervision, substance abuse and cooccurring disorders, recovery and resiliency. She is a sought-after trainer and consultant for hospitals, counties, and case-management organizations across the United States. She provides training for physicians, nurses, psychologists, graduate level clinicians, social workers, criminal justice personnel, and dietitians, which are customized to fit the area of specialization. She served in multiple roles in the behavioral health field throughout her professional career, including serving on a number of primary care/IBH teams including children and adolescents at Mayo Clinic and Gundersen Health System, pain management, diabetes, and psychiatric and substance abuse. She is also an SBIRT trainer and collaborates with Global partners to provide services to improve the well-being of underserved populations. Debra was also elected and served as President of the Wisconsin Counseling Association. For her dedication to graduate student training, she was awarded YWCA Woman of the Year in Education for the coulee region and was recognized with the 2017 Alec Chiu Award for research. In 2018 she was honored as the Counselor Educator of the Year for the State of Wisconsin.

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Linda L. Sherony, MBA – RESPOND Program Coordinator
Linda taught business classes for 15 years at University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (UWL) and St. Norbert College. She has taught accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing, and business communications. In 2019, the UWL student athletes recognized Linda as “Faculty of the Year.” She was nominated six times for the provost’s teaching award at UWL. Linda has a heart for helping people and is a certified EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as tapping) practitioner, a Human Design guide, and a Life and Business Coach. She has an entrepreneurial spirit, and owned and operated a quilting and knitting store in the early 2000s. 


William R. Bakalars, MS, LPC, CSAC - RESPOND Project Facilitator
Bill is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Viterbo University with 37 years of clinical experience in addiction and mental health counseling.  Within the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Bill has served a number of roles. As the Individual and Skills Group facilitator he worked in an evidenced-based program addressing the needs of people suffering from borderline personality disorder. In addition to that, he engaged in client outcome and research through Mayo Clinic regarding symptom reduction and medical utilization of persons with borderline personality disorder. Bill also assisted in the development of comprehensive Dialectical Programs for both adult and adolescent clients. 


Thank You to our Clinical Partners:

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Contact Us

Linda Sherony, MBA
RESPOND Grant Project Coordinator, Center for Professional Learning

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,412,845.00 with 0% percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.