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How Gateway Rehab's Research Benefits Patients in Recovery
By Jaclynn Yocum

The research Cara M. Renzelli, Ph.D., directs helps place Gateway Rehab in an elite class. But her true goal is to benefit all individuals suffering from chemical addiction. Dr. Renzelli has been the director of research and program evaluation at Gateway Rehab since 2004. During that time, Gateway Rehab's evidenced-based treatment has established the organization as a leader in its field.

"No ideas are too big or too small when getting started on a research project," Dr. Renzelli said. "Our treatment is evidence-based, which means there is science to support it. That way, all of our knowledge can be transformed into some form of treatment. We are always asking ourselves, 'What can Gateway Rehab uniquely bring to the field and share with other treatment providers?'"

Dr. Renzelli and the research department she directs allow Gateway Rehab to be on the cutting edge of advances in the field, as well as maintain an extensive in-house database, and monitor performance on a regular basis. Having a research group also ensures Gateway Rehab stays current with outside studies in the field. Gateway's research touches on all levels of care, providing the organization with the ability to better serve adolescent as well as adult patients suffering from chemical addiction.

"We look and track how we do on a day-to-day basis, not just long-term," Dr. Renzelli notes. "We are always trying to advance and refine the practices we use for our patients."

Gateway Rehab has collaborated with Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Georgia, Washington and Jefferson College and the University of Pittsburgh. In fact, Gateway Rehab has a 15-year history with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. While the research department became a full-time entity in 2005, Gateway Rehab began conducting research on chemical addiction in the early '80s.

Prior to joining Gateway Rehab, Dr. Renzelli was employed for 10 years at UPMC's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, where she received extensive research and clinical diagnostic training in addiction.

While her group strives to provide the most up-to-date research practices, Dr. Renzelli hopes to grow the department. She sees a day when Gateway Rehab will establish a research and training institute, creating an entity that amplifies its leadership.

"Time and time again, research has been proven to be valuable," Dr. Renzelli said. "I believe strongly that our research benefits not only our patients, but their families and society as a whole."

Gateway Rehab's research benefits patients in many ways, for instance:

  • It's been determined that some treatments work better for teens versus adults.
  • Research supports the belief that patients who go through treatment are healthier mentally, physically, and possibly, spiritually.
  • It's been shown that when a patient receives treatment his or her family members, too, are able to live better and healthier lives.
  • Research shows a correlation between addiction rehabilitation and reduced crime rates.
  • Research indicates a positive correlation between patients who complete addiction rehabilitation and successful re-entries to the workplace.

For more information, contact Gateway Rehab at 1-800-472-1177 or visit www.gatewayrehab.org.

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