- Ben Udochi, MHR
- Femina P. Varghese, PhD
- Nickolas Zaller, PhD
Research Project Description
Our correctional institutions are unable to provide health care services to meet the needs of individuals living with behavioral health concerns and experiencing incarceration. As a result, individuals being released from correctional facilities have a tremendously elevated risk of excess morbidity and mortality upon re-entry into the community. Arkansas has among the highest incarceration and recidivism rates in the country with individuals in rural counties lacking access to post-release services. This project proposes to use a mixed methods design to investigate the effectiveness of a telehealth collaborative care network to provide screening, assessment, and access to evidence-based treatment of behavioral health disorders for individuals in rural Arkansas communities who recently experienced incarceration and are under community supervision. The team plans to engage stakeholders throughout Arkansas and in other states with impoverished rural areas to develop and maintain policy that expands access to evidence-based telehealth behavioral health care.
Ben Udochi, MHR
Ben Udochi is the Assistant Director Probation and Parole Treatment Services at Arkansas Community Correction. He oversees behavioral health services for adult probationers and parolees. A Certified Clinical Supervisor with over 20 years of experience in Behavioral Health, Ben trains and support counselors in the use of effective counseling strategies.
Femina P. Varghese, PhD
Femina Varghese is an Associate Professor and the Director of Training of the PhD Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Central Arkansas. She conducts research on re-entry issues of criminal justice populations (adults and juveniles), culture, and career development. She studies how telepsychology may be helpful in better serving these populations.
Nickolas Zaller, PhD
Nickolas Zaller is an Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. His research focus is on the overlap between behavioral health disorders, including addiction and mental illness, infectious diseases and incarceration both in the United States and internationally.
Issue Brief: Arkansas
Expansion of Telehealth Can Address Unmet Treatment Needs Among People on Probation in Arkansas