grant from the State Department of Mental Health (DMH) is allowing
a Southern Miss professor to apply business management principals
to a network of interagency teams created to assist children with
Topping, a professor of management at Southern Miss, will use the
approximately $64,000 grant to study the evolution of Multi-Disciplinary
Assessment and Planning teams (MAP teams) in several Mississippi
seeking to show why some how the MAP teams, which are made up of
multiple community agencies working together, grow and serve their
communities over time. She is also interested in documenting why
some of the teams succeed while others fail. In doing so, she is
using methods typically associated with the study of people and
groups working together in a business management context.
of the mental health care literature today is calling for the use
of business literature in looking at how they're doing things,"
The first MAP
teams were formed in 1996, and currently there are MAP teams operating
in 28 Mississippi counties. The DMH's ultimate goal is to have teams
in all 82 Mississippi counties.
The teams were
formed to work with children who have Severe Emotional Disorder
(SED) problems. SED is a designation that can cover a range of emotionally
challenging conditions. No matter what the problem, the MAP teams'
goal is to bring local community agencies together to work with
the affected child and the child's family in finding treatment.
Ideally, these treatment options provide an effective alternative
typically included in the composition of a MAP team include local
mental health agencies, schools, police departments, juvenile justice
courts, pastors, Department of Human Services representatives and
even Boys and Girls Clubs.
Each team is
different, as it comprises the resources available in the individual
community it serves. The one thing they all have in common is the
requirement that these resources work together effectively toward
the treatment of the children they are trying to help.
ability to do this usually changes for the better over time, as
the parts come together to form a more cohesive unit. But this happens
in varying degrees from place to place. Some teams are highly effective
while others aren't, and some don't make a go of it for long enough
to benefit their communities.
studying and documenting the factors that go into these different
levels of success. It is hoped that once the research is complete,
current and future MAP teams can use the findings to more effectively
carry out their missions.