Did you know Alameda Behavioral Health Care Services recently created two positions to support providers in utilizing the CANS and ANSA tools in a more coordinated and effective manner? Meet Christine Mukai, CANS Coordinator, and Michael Castilla, ANSA Coordinator.
Welcome to the team Christine and Michael!
Would you mind telling us a little about your job experience prior to coming into your new position?
Christine: My work experience started back in the late 90’s with SUD in NYC, then day treatment in LA, and outpatient in SF. Then I joined Alameda County in 2002 in outpatient, then to the AB3632 unit, which later became the ERMHS unit. The past 6 years have been with the CEC School based program until switching over to becoming the CANS Coordinator. I have used the CANS since 2014.
Michael: My work history has primarily been in Supported Employment. For eight years I assisted individuals with mental health, dual diagnosis, and with developmental disabilities to find and maintain employment. I’ve worked with adults and Transition Aged Youth populations. I’m currently working as a Social Worker Supervisor with In Home Support Services (IHSS). We serve Minor Children cases and assess their needs in order for them to remain safely in their homes and to avoid premature out of home placement. As a supervisor, I review the assessments provided by the Social Workers in my unit. We assess each individual’s Functional Index Ranking and work to promote independence.
What is the county’s current focus and future hopes for the CANS and ANSA tools?
Christine: The Alameda County Behavior Health (ACBH) is focusing on providing mental health and substance use services to limited income individuals and families. ACBH very recently had a logo and branding update to reduce the stigma and negative connotation towards people who suffer from mental health and substance use. The county is also putting efforts into providing a continuum of care and has recently started an FSP for wrap services under the Children and Young Adult System of Care.
The future for CANS is to have more users understand how it can be a tool that is useful beyond the needs and strengths assessment. CANS can be helpful in treatment planning, engagement, supervision and understanding outcomes.
Michael: I am very eager to get started and will know more as I become immersed in my new role. I am a big proponent of recognizing people’s strengths and what they can do. My career for the last 12 years has been around assisting individuals with maintaining independence and utilizing natural supports. My passion is coaching and supporting others with discovering new goals. My hopes are to assist all program recipients with recognizing their strengths and finding success with meeting their goals and continuing to dream for more.
What CANS or ANSA item do you most identify with?
Christine: The Sleep question is what I identify most with. Good restful sleep is essential in daily functioning and it’s a good indicator to understand the other areas. When I get consistent good sleep, I feel great and feel like I can conquer anything!
Michael: I most identify with Talents and Interests under Individual Strengths. I truly believe that we should continue to be curious with the world around us and to seek to improve our current talents as well as discovering new ones.
What is something that you do for fun?
Christine: Something I like to do for fun is go hiking or to the beach.
What is the last book you read that you enjoyed?
Michael: The last book that I really enjoyed was the “Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. I found it to be inspirational and very informative.
In the Dear Collaborative column, we’ll answer YOUR questions about TCOM or the TCOM tools (CANS, ANSA-T, ANSA).
Each newsletter features top questions submitted to the Alameda TCOM Collaborative. If you have an urgent or critical CANS-related question, you can contact your agency's CANS/TCOM Coordinator or one of the Collaborative Members at any time.
Have questions and want answers? Submit your questions through the Contact page and look for the answer in the next edition of Dear Collaborative. Submissions are treated confidentially.
Q1: Are the CANS/ANSA considered Communimetric tools? What the heck does that mean?
A1: According to tool developer John Lyons, Communimetrics is designed to make thinking processes transparent and provide a conceptual organization or framework for the thinkers to be attuned to the relevant factors that must be thought through in any particular circumstance. In other words, a Communimetric tool (like the CANS/ANSA) attempts to delineate common factors in the lives of participants that are important to address, measure, and/or recognize. What makes it a Communimetric tool rather than just a metric tool, is the agreed upon numeric designations that are designed to be easily communicated and understood by all members of the system, creating an enhanced opportunity for collaborating in a shared vision of treatment.
Q2: Why is there so much information on TCOM? What does it mean? Why is it a part of the CANS/ANSA?
A2: TCOM is an acronym that stands for Transformation Collaborative Outcomes Management. TCOM is the philosophy/framework developed to ensure greater collaboration between providers and consumers as well as to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of services provided in a complex, mental health system. The CANS and ANSA are communimetric (see Q1) assessment tools developed to accomplish the principles of TCOM; it measures transformation change, creates a structure for collaboration, and makes outcomes transparent and quantifiable. Consequently, it is important to focus on TCOM and its greater philosophy in an effort to foster a more in-depth understanding of the CANS and ANSA tools.
Q3: Why are there so many versions of the Alameda CANS/ANSA? How do I know which version to certification test to take?
A3: The different versions of the Alameda CANS/ANSA were created to be slightly different based on the age of the participants being assessed. It is important to note that getting certified in any one version enables a clinician to administer any of the various versions of the assessment. This is helpful for those service providers who work with different age groups.
Here is a breakdown of the currently available tools; each has an available certification test on www.tcomtraining.com:
Esmeralda Gonzalez is the Training Coordinator for STARS Behavioral Health Group. She was recently welcomed as a new addition to the Alameda County TCOM Collaborative.
She is “loving everything the CANS has to offer” and is excited to learn more about how the CANS can enrich the treatment planning process.
Esmeralda’s own children (3 and 6 years old) inspire her engagement in mental health work with youth. She is proud to support direct service staff through advocacy and the development of critical resources.
Esmeralda's superpower is in event planning, which provides an outlet for her creative tendencies. Her crafting specialties include huge paper flowers, backdrops for dessert tables and decorative photo booths. The Collaborative will definitely benefit from the infusion of fun and enthusiasm that Esmeralda brings. Welcome!
A recent picture of the Collaborative membership is below.
Blog content is created by the shared effort of the Alameda TCOM Collaborative members. Send feedback through the Contact page.