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Contact the co-project director,
Jason McCuller, at:


Donnie Watson, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Friends Research Insitute

Richard Rawson, Ph.D.
Co-Principal Investigator

Solomon Rataemane, M.D.
Co-Principal Investigator
Medical Univ. of South Africa

Project Directors:

Lusanda Rataemane
Director, MEHADIC/Mental Health and Addiction Centr

Jason McCuller
Friends Research Institute


(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Training Project in the Republic of South Africa)

Friends Research Institute (FRI) Principal Investigator Donnie W. Watson, Ph.D., was awarded a 5-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) entitled “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in South Africa.” The goal of this project is to assess the efficacy and cost effectiveness of three training modalities to transfer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) knowledge and skills to Republic of South Africa substance abuse treatment clinicians. The proposal calls for 3 conditions: 1) An in-vivo (IV) CBT training and supervision program in which clinicians receive training and supervision from an expert trainer; 2) A distance learning (DL) training and supervision approach via a teleconferenced and interactive broadcast with the same expert trainer; and 3) A self instructional manual only approach (MO).

Year 1
The objectives of the first year (2004-2005) of the study involved planning activities only, such as establishment of subcontract agreements, training of an RSA master trainer, and cultural modifications to the CBT 12 session manual. In addition, approval by the Friends Research Institute, Internal Review Board (IRB) was obtained as well as clearance from U.S. State Department and the Republic of South Africa, Embassy Pretoria to conduct research overseas.

In December 2005, Republic of South Africa Co-Investigator Solomon Rataemane, M.D., Medical University of South Africa, School of Public Health and Project Director Lusanda Rataemane met with U.S. investigators and collaborating scientists in Los Angeles, California to formalize year 1 activities and to establish a course of action for the remainder of the project. Research methodology including study design, length and structure of the master trainer Training of Trainers (TOT), cultural adaptation of the CBT manual, randomization of clinics to conditions and other project related issues were discussed.  (Click here for photo)

In February 2006, Drs. Donnie Watson and Rick Rawson (UCLA-ISAP) along with Project Director Jason McCuller (FRI) traveled to the Republic of South Africa to meet with the South African National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (SANCA) National Executive Director, Shamim Garda, and to meet with Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA) Research Ethics Committee Chair, Professor Wim Du Plooy.

To generate enthusiasm and interest, SANCA clinic directors and treatment providers from 9 SANCA treatment centers in the Gauteng Province (Cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg are located in Gauteng) were invited to an overview of the project by Drs. Watson, Rataemane and Rawson, respectively at Castle Carey Treatment Center. Investigators offered a brief history and overview of the CBTTRSA project for clinicians and staff (Click here).

Subsequent visits were made by Drs. Watson and Rawson and FRI Director Jason McCuller to the 9 SANCA treatment centers where brief presentations were delivered to the center staffs to further inform them about project goals. These much smaller group presentations provided a more intimate opportunity for clinic directors and treatment providers to dialog with Investigators and discuss project issues specific to each clinic. Click here to see various photos of treatment centers.

Other activities ending Year 1 included the Training of Trainers (TOT) for the South African Master Trainer that was conducted in June 2006 by Jeanne Obert and Andrea Weiner of the Matrix Institute. The Yale Adherence and Competency Scale (YACS) training for CBT audiotape ratings was also conducted in June 2006. Approval was granted from the Friends Research Institute IRB and the MEDUNSA Ethics Committee to begin recruitment of subjects for the second year of the study. Lastly, a series of meetings were conducted with the Data Management Core (DMC) from the University of California, Los Angeles. Study instruments for the project were finalized as well as randomization procedures and data transfer methods.

Year 2
Recruitment and consenting of treatment counselors for the first cohort of SANCA clinics began in mid July 2006.

A project overview was presented at the CPDD international studies conference in June 2006 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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