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  • The UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health (CECMH) is established with grant support from the Duke Endowment and includes established programs, Schizophrenia Treatment and Evaluation Program (STEP), Outreach and Support Intervention Services (OASIS), and the Brushes with Life Gallery. Bringing the expertise of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to bear on the challenges facing North Carolina’s mental health system.


  • A partnership with North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) creates the North Carolina Community Medical Director’s Network, to provide technical assistance and professional support for psychiatrists in leadership roles in the newly reorganized public mental health system.
  • The Community Psychiatry Fellowship Program accepts its first fellow.


  • The NC Psychiatric Research Center, formally the Clinical Research Unit at Dorothea Dix Hospital, becomes part of the CECMH and opens a community-based research clinic in Raleigh, NC.
  • XDS Inc., a local non-profit provider of community based services, including an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team, joins the CECMH.
  • The North Carolina ACT Coalition becomes part of the CECMH
  • A grant from the Duke Endowment allows the CECMH to establish a Specialty Medical Home for patients with chronic mental illness, integrating medical and psychiatric care, as well as psychiatric consultations in primary care clinics.


  • The Community Resource Court of Orange and Chatham Counties, in collaboration with Judicial Court 15B, becomes part of the CECMH.
  • With a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation, and in collaboration with the School of Social Work, the CECMH creates the Critical Time Intervention (CTI) program which helps transition individuals from homelessness or institutions to the community.
  • The Farm at Penny Lane, a CECMH recovery and rehabilitation program in Chatham County, is established with a Horticulture Therapy Program in collaboration with the North Carolina Botanical Garden at UNC.
  • Outreach Court created in partnership with Orange County DA’s office and other local partners to serve homeless individuals, allow them to avoid jail time and get needed mental health treatment.


  • The Wake STEP Clinic and Wake ACT team are created, representing a significant expansion of clinical services into Wake County.
  • The ACT Technical Assistance Center is established in collaboration with the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services to evaluate all ACT teams in North Carolina, part of the US Department of Justice Settlement with North Carolina. This program will become the Center’s Institute for Best Practices.
  • The Community Outcomes Research and Evaluation Center (COREC) is established within the NC Psychiatric Research Center in collaboration with the Cecil G. Sheps Center of the UNC School of Public Health, with a goal to develop new research in outcomes and program evaluation, quality improvement and intervention research. This includes supporting the Center’s new ACT Technical Assistance Center.
  • The CECMH becomes a research site for the Dartmouth Individual Supported Employment program (IPS), providing state-of-the art employment services for CECMH clients as the first IPS site in North Carolina.


  • The UNC Peer Assisted Wellness Support (PAWS), a shelter to pet dog-training program is established at the Farm at Penny Lane, providing clients with expanded recovery opportunities.
  • CECMH Community Psychiatry Fellow helps establish the UNC Street Psychiatry Program, in collaboration with NC AHEC, to provide psychiatric services to homeless individuals in Chapel Hill.
  • The Brushes with Life Arts Program adds a weekly recovery arts group open to individuals treated at the CECMH, Club Nova and select community programs.
  • The CECMH receives a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) grant to expand and continue its Integrated Care programs, including its Chronic Mental Illness Specialty Medical Home.
  • The CECMH receives CARF National Accreditation.  The Center’s ACT teams and supported employment program get very high scores in fidelity reviews; WakeACT and the supported employment program receive the highest scores in the state to date.
  • A Hospital Transition Team is established for Orange and Wake Counties, with support from Cardinal Innovations.
  • In collaboration with Meridian Behavior Health Services and Smokey Mountain LME/MCO, the NC Psychiatric Research Center establishes a technical assistance program to increase the use of clozapine, an under prescribed antipsychotic with efficacy in treatment resistant patients, in rural counties of western North Carolina. This will later become known as the North Carolina Clozapine Network.
  • The CECMH establishes a formal development program, including an Advisory Board and a fund-raising Gala.


  • In collaboration with Cardinal Innovations and NC Department of Health and Human Services, the CECMH establishes the first ACT step-down program in the US.  The CECMH will evaluate the clinical and financial outcomes of this innovative program to provide less intensive community-based care for patients transitioning from ACT teams.
  • The CECMH’s OASIS program in collaboration with the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services and a grant from (SAMSHA), established a first episode technical assistance center and extends clinical services to Wake County, Wake OASIS.
  • In summary, over the past 5 years, the CECMH has significantly expanded clinical services in Orange, Chatham and Wake counties, developed innovative recovery and rehabilitation programs, established several technical assistance programs for providers across the state, developed a research infrastructure to evaluate outcomes, and instituted a pioneering Integrated Care program.  This has been done with multiple partners and collaborators within UNC, state government, and providers in our local community and across the state.


  • The Institute for Best Practices (Institute – formerly ACT) provides ACT training and support to other states, including Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland and Ohio.
  • A donor who wished to remain anonymous gives $300,000 to the CECMH to fund the development of a case management program within the CECMH.
  • The Center’s Wake county programs, STEP, OASIS and Wake ACT Team, were honored as part of a leadership award that North Carolina Council of Community Programs presented to UNC Health Care.


  • The CECMH again receives CARF National Accreditation.  To receive accreditation an organization must demonstrate that it provides quality care using established standards and customer satisfaction.
  • The CECMH is one of 30 community mental health agencies from across the country selected to participate in a supported employment demonstration funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration. The four-year grant is funded for nearly $800,000.
  • North Carolina native Joanne Ackerman donates $8 million legacy gift to UNC PAWS and Brushes with Life recovery programs


  • A $2.4 Million SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) grant will boost the CECMH’s efforts to address housing and comprehensive behavioral health care. Project HomeLink will serve 600 individuals in Orange and Chatham counties.
  • The Foundation of Hope contributes $65,000 to expand the Center’s mobile clinic, UNC Wellness on Wheels (W.O.W.) program. The program provides services to individuals with serious mental health challenges who live in Wake County.
  • Wake OASIS program changes names to Wake Encompass.


  • The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) awards the CECMH nearly $500,000 to study Assertive Community Treatment for the next three years. Institute Director, Lorna Moser, PhD, is the principal investigator.
  • In collaboration with UNC School of Social Work and XDS Inc, the Farm at Penny Lane is selected to host a new affordable housing initiative for individuals with mental illness: the Tiny Homes Village.
  • The CECMH partnerships with CORA to establish food pantries at the Farm at Penny Lane and Wake Clinic
  • The CECMH celebrates 10 years of continuous service.


  • The CECMH establishes the COVID-19 Outreach programs to provide whole person care during the rising health crisis. Transitioning to telehealth visits and virtual program attendance, partnering with Breakaway Cafe and local churches in Chapel Hill to provide prepackaged meals, and establishing communication lines with prepaid phones, so at risk clients can get the care they need while staying safe.
  • The CECMH again receives CARF National Accreditation.  To receive accreditation an organization must demonstrate that it provides quality care using established standards and customer satisfaction.
  • Construction begins on the Tiny House Village at the Farm at Penny Lane.
  • CECMH partners with NWMHTTC to launch National ACT Virtual Consultation Meetings to provide critical support to ACT teams across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • The CECMH works with local health care organizations to provide COVID vaccinations to CECMH clients.
  • The North Carolina Clozapine Network (NCCN) is established to help increase clozapine use across North Carolina.
  • AlignCare partners with UNC PAWS to improve access to veterinary care for the pets of individuals in undeserved communities.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funds Heat and Eat Meals project.
  • Cardinal Innovations and Alliance Health invest in the Tiny Homes Village.


  • The Center, with support from NC DHHS,  establishes a Tailored Care Management program to provide care management for Medicaid clients in the Triangle .
  • Wake Country services (STEP, ACT, Encompass, NCPRC) move to historic Whitaker Mill location.
  • Heat and Eat Meals expand into Wake County.
  • The CECMH, hosted by the North Carolina Clozapine Network, becomes a Project ECHO® hub. A virtual community where professionals share support, guidance and feedback.
  • UNC was selected to participate in a randomized Building Evidence on Employment Strategies (BEES) study providing IPS supported employment to individuals in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) setting.
  • eTMACT, a novel web-based Software as a Service (SaaS) developed by CECMHC (Moser) in partnership with UNC Sheps Center, is released for annual subscriptions and is resulting in more effecient and accurate ACT program evaluations.


  • Tiny Home Village begins final phase of construction at the Farm at Penny Lane.
  • The CECMH becomes a Bombas Giving Partner, receives 5,000 pairs of socks for those in need.
  • Encompass is recognized as the gold standard in First Episode Psychosis Programs in North Carolina after a fidelity review.
  • The CECMH successfully renews its CARF National Accreditation. To receive accreditation an organization must demonstrate that it provides quality care using established standards and customer satisfaction.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awards Homelink $2.4 million to address homelessness.
  • CECMH Wake County services grow with the new additions of REACH Enhanced Primary Care and the Formerly Incarcerated Transition (FIT) Program.

Annual Report

2012 CECMH Annual Report. growth in the garden 2013 CECMH Annual Report. connecting to the community UNC’s psychiatric street medicine program 2014 CECMH annual report. finding solutions for better mental health care 2015 CECMH Annual Report. taking steps to recover 2016 CECMH Annual Report. Brushes with Life
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
2017 CECMH Annual Report. IPS supported employment 2018 CECMH Annual Report. Helping homelss individuals thrive in the community cover of 2019 CECMH Annual review 2020 Department of Psychiatry Annual Report with CECMH spread 2021 Department of Psychiatry Annual Report with CECMH spread
2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
’20-’22 Impact Report