History of Innovation

Felton Institute is a leader in cutting edge research and program development that is built upon proven evidence-based practices and methodologies.

For over a century, Felton Institute (formerly known as the Family Service Agency of San Francisco) has remained a leader in the field of social services in the Bay Area.

Below is a sample of some of the latest programs that Felton’s spirit of innovation has created.

Felton Early Psychosis Programs

Schizophrenia is generally considered the most severe, most debilitating, and—until recently—the most incurable mental illness. It afflicts about 1% of adults in the United States—more than 2.5 million people.

In 2006, Felton Institute set out to develop a more effective treatment for schizophrenia. Research around the world offered some proof that some treatments could have a significant impact on the disease.

Felton Institute set out to create an integrated package of science-based treatments that could effectively treat schizophrenia and—in some cases—prevent it entirely. Eight years later, the results are in: the Felton Early Psychosis Programs are indeed effective in remitting schizophrenia and restoring a normal life to those suffering with the condition.

The Felton Early Psychosis Programs currently operate in five counties, serving over 250 clients per year. It is the largest community-based schizophrenia treatment program in the United States. It demonstrates that complex, science-based services can be provided in the community by non-profit organizations.

In 2014, the Felton Early Psychosis Programs were awarded the Science to Service Award from the National Council for Behavioral Health.

The Felton Early Psychosis Programs are currently being evaluated by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a potential model treatment program under the Affordable Care Act.

BEAM (Bipolar Early Assessment and Management)

BEAM is a project to develop an effective suite of treatments that will do for bipolar disorder what the Felton Early Psychosis Programs do for schizophrenia.

It is still in an early testing stage, with no outcome evaluation expected for several years. Bipolar I Disorder afflicts about 2% of the population and is the fifth most expensive illness to treat in the US health system.

For more information about the Felton Early Psychosis Programs and BEAM, please visit feltonearlypsychosis.org.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp)

CBTp is a treatment approach developed in the United Kingdom. It is a treatment that helps individuals suffering with psychosis to understand, manage, and prevent their symptoms—including the many terrible symptoms of schizophrenia such as hearing voices, believing paranoid ideas, and having hallucinations or delusions.

CBTp was initially brought to the United States by Felton Institute, at first for use in our own Early Psychosis Programs. However, once we realized how dramatically effective it was with our clients, we embarked on a joint project with the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS) to train treatment teams working throughout California in this approach.

We are seeking to create a transformational movement in the treatment of serious and chronic mental illness. The collaboration of Felton and CIBHS has resulted in the development of a new model for training providers in the United States by focusing strategically on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis strategies for Front Line Providers (CBTp FLP) which incorporates the SAGE model of clinical supervision developed by Derek Milne.

For more information about CBTp FLP please visit feltonresearch.org/cbt.html.

Motivational Care Management (MCM™)

The MCM training program is a comprehensive, rigorous training for social service providers in how to help their clients get motivated, identify their aspirations and challenges, develop a life plan, and begin moving forward to a happier, more fulfilling life. This is an example of what Felton Institute is about: bringing science to service of real people to help them take control of their own lives.

MCM has a detailed manual, online training for staff and managers, and a set of quality standards to ensure effective implementation.

Felton Institute has provided this training to its own staff (successively improving it through five training iterations), and to other social service organizations throughout the Bay Area.

We have completed a pilot implementation study at Saint Vincent DePaul Society of San Francisco which shows that MCM is effective in reducing staff burnout, reducing secondary stress, and increasing compassion satisfaction among providers who are trained in the model. Felton Institute is seeking to ultimately have MCM endorsed by the US Department of Health and Human Services as the first evidence-based approach to care management for high-risk adults and seniors.

Moving Patient Outcomes toward Wellness and Recovery (mPOWR)

When clients—particularly fragile and troubled clients—meet with their providers they often have difficulty communicating their wishes and needs. And providers often use medical and professional terminology that does not translate well into the daily life of clients.

The mPOWR Training Toolkit is comprised of a quality of life questionnaire, with results that map onto a set of 6 life domains with corresponding Decision Aids: Environment & Activities, Personal Care & Daily Life Skills, Social Relationships, Vocational Skills & Volunteering, Physical Health, and Psychological Health & Recovery. The Decision Aids are completed collaboratively with clients and providers. mPOWR encourages clients and providers to share the responsibility of making decisions about a person’s care and incorporates the voice of the person receiving services at every step of the way. Felton’s belief that “you can’t change what you can’t measure” is translated through the mPOWR assessment into a medium to facilitate honest and equal dialogue between providers and their clients. The mPOWR is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Decision Aids are available from Felton Institute, and more information about training in mPOWR can be found at feltonresearch.org/mpowr_training1.html

Patient-Centered Research Institute (PCORI) Award

The Patient-Centered Research Institute (PCORI) is a federal agency that was established under the Affordable Care Act to research promising practices for ensuring more effective communication between patients and providers.

PCORI is funding a three-year evaluation of the mPOWR. Felton Institute is the lead agency with research support provided by the University of New Mexico. Two Felton Institute mental health clinics and two New Mexico frontier mental health clinics are the implementation sites.

CIRCE Software

CIRCE is a software package that is designed to be used by non-profit agencies to help them manage and document their services more effectively.

Non-profits usually have multiple funding sources—each with different reporting and billing practices—and multiple programs, often with different goals and client populations. Creating a management information system in this complex environment has often been a prohibitively expensive and insurmountable task for non-profits with limited funding and limited technical expertise.

CIRCE is a product that Felton Institute originally developed for itself to manage its many programs. It is a cloud-based product that uses the Salesforce.com platform.

It leverages the ease of use and customizability of the Salesforce platform with the subject matter expertise of Felton to offer non-profits an affordable technology solution that can help them develop a state-of-the-art information environment.