The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office announced in a release last week that Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian is joining a select group of local officials as the inaugural cohort of the National Association of Counties’ Familiar Faces Leadership Network for their commitment to improving life outcomes for high-needs residents with complex behavioral health conditions.
According to the release, the Familiar Faces Initiative (FFI): Improving Outcomes through Coordinated Health and Justice Systems was launched in May of this year by the National Association of Counties to support and empower communities to share data between health and justice systems and coordinate care options for individuals with complex health and behavioral health conditions. The primary focus is on individuals who frequently cycle through jails, homeless shelters, emergency departments and other crisis services.
Sheriff Koutoujian has led Middlesex County in efforts to improve life outcomes for residents who have become familiar faces to local services and providers and has joined this Network to strengthen and expand Middlesex County’s ability to share cross-system data to identify familiar faces and align systems to improve outcomes for the highest-need residents, the release states.
“The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, local law enforcement partners and behavioral health providers work each day to provide critical supports and services to those most in need,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “By working across systems – as we have done with our nationally-recognized Medication Assisted Treatment And Directed Opioid Recovery (MATADOR) program – we have proven we can help improve outcomes for individuals with complex behavioral health needs. Through our participation in the Familiar Faces Leadership Network, I believe we will be able to expand and enhance the incredible efforts that are already underway across Middlesex County.”
As a participant of the Familiar Faces Leadership Network, Sheriff Koutoujian will engage with fellow elected officials from across the country who are building similar efforts in their jurisdictions. They will participate in peer site visits to communities with model data-sharing practices and receive technical assistance from FFI Advisory Board members.
“I look forward to sharing the groundbreaking programs we have launched here in Middlesex County and learning from the innovative projects our colleagues across the nation have implemented,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “Through open and honest dialogue discussing challenges we have faced and how we have been able to overcome them, I believe we will pave a path for jurisdictions across the country to improve public health and safety in communities large and small.”
Local leaders participating in this network represent jurisdictions ranging in size and geographic location from the City of Issaquah, Wash., which has a population of 38,000, to Contra Costa County, Calif., with a population of 1.2 million. To see a full list of local officials participating in the Leadership Network and find out more about the Familiar Faces Initiative, visit familiarfaces.naco.org.