Dr. Robert Paul Liberman, a UCLA professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the University’s Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program, is joining the board of Step Up on Second, a Santa Monica nonprofit psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery center for individuals suffering from severe and persistent mental illness.
Founded in 1984, Step Up on Second serves over 1,200 mentally ill individuals annually. It provides 34 permanent housing units at its 2nd Street location and will be adding an additional 44 units on 5th Street later this month. The center helps participants improve their ability to self-manage their illnesses, build and grow friendships and other relationships, manage any substance abuse issues they have, and provides recreation for leisure.
Dr. Liberman has a long history with Step Up on Second, having encouraged the founding director to establish the center.
“It is my hope that I can persuade the organization, with the board’s support, to further improve the programming at Step Up by implementing skills training services that go beyond the supportive, encouraging nature of the facility,” he said. “Skills training can empower members by teaching them the skills that will enable them to participate more fully in the natural community rather than in the sheltered, segregated (and therefore somewhat stigmatizing) Step Up ‘community.’”
Step Up on Second Development Director Carolyn Baker is enthusiastic about Dr. Liberman’s addition to the board. “Dr. Liberman is a giant in the field and we are honored to have him join our board,” she said. “His work and focus on evidence-based practices will be an asset to our organization.”
Impressed with the morale, organization, and leadership of the program while on a recent tour, Dr. Liberman volunteered to write an article describing the center for Psychiatric Services, the journal of the American Psychiatric Association. He hopes to use the publication to encourage more psychiatrists to take an interest in rehab facilities, something he said that most psychiatrists have little awareness of or interest in.
On the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine since 1970, Dr. Liberman has been Professor of Psychiatry since 1978. He has directed the UCLA Center for Research on Treatment & Rehabilitation of Psychosis, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, since 1977; there he works with 25 scientist-practitioners conducting research projects and developing and validating new treatment techniques in biobehavioral psychiatry.
He will join fellow 2009 board members Ken Anderson, Sandra DeSilva, PhD., Roni Fischer, Roberta Howard, Bruce Rognlien, Eric Berkowitz, Benjamin Dickey, Phil Glosserman, Les Jones, Jacob Ramsey, Joseph Cahn, Wendy Elgin-Silva, Richard Hallock, Larry M. Kruger, Stephen Solaka, and Lt. Doug Theus. stepuponsecond.org