Cherokee Nation’s Jack Brown Center receives national certification

Staff reports
12/28/10

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation’s Jack Brown Center recently received certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities that is good for the next three years. CARF is an independent, international, nonprofit organization that sets the standards of quality for care at health and human services facilities around the world. This is the Jack Brown Center’s third consecutive three-year CARF accreditation.

In October, CARF performed a survey of the JBC, which is located on the campus of Sequoyah Schools. After completion of the survey and a committee review of the report, CARF notified Cherokee Nation in December that it found JBC to be dedicated to providing a high standard of service with a focus on the specific needs of its patients, and awarded the substance abuse treatment facility with the maximum accreditation.

“I’m really so proud of our organization, employees and everyone that supports and contributes to the success and accomplishments of our program. This three-year certification signals our commitment to continually improving services, meeting high standards, encouraging feedback and serving our Native youth so they may go back into our communities and live a healthy, happy, drug-free lifestyle,” said JBC Director Darren Dry.

The Jack Brown Center provides inpatient treatment to citizens of federally recognized tribes who are ages 13 to 18 and struggling with substance abuse problems. The center primarily serves Native youth from Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, but will take in patients from throughout the country if there is available space in the 20-bed facility.

Addiction in young people is often accompanied by other mental health issues, according to Dry. While the primary focus of therapy at the JBC is geared toward treating addiction, improving the overall mental wellness of its patients through different modalities of treatment is a goal of the staff. For example, the patients may go rappelling to learn self-confidence and how to trust others. They meditate to heal spiritually because research has shown that Native people are often highly responsive to spiritual treatment. The staff also periodically follows up on discharged patients to track their progress.

Family counseling is provided so patients may have a better chance at successful recovery when they leave the center. In counseling, families are taught to create a home environment more conducive to recovery from addiction than was provided to the patient in the past. Recovering addicts with family support and a stable home environment are more likely to abstain from substance abuse than those who do not have a support system outside of treatment.

“If there is no change at home, we can’t expect the kids to stick with the program,” said Lori Medina, a behavioral health clinician for JBC.

Patients at JBC often come from home environments in which their family members are struggling with addiction as well. The center staff finds placement for outgoing patients who face having to return to home environments that are dangerous or otherwise unsuitable for them in their recovery.

Founded in 1988, the center has built a reputation of excellence due to its consistency in providing the highest quality of care possible. Dry said there is a high demand for the treatment of adolescents with substance abuse issues, and there is always a waiting list for admittance to the facility. Because of the success demonstrated by the JBC, the federal government has expanded similar programs, and 12 now exist throughout the country.

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