School of Nursing professor featured in mental health and technology television and radio series

Emory NursingSeptember 2, 2015
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Melissa Pinto, PhD, RN

Melissa D. Pinto, PhD, RN, assistant professor at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University will be featured in the New Technologies for Whole Body Health and Wellness episode of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) television and radio series titled, Road to Recovery. The episode will air on Sept. 2 and will be distributed to broadcast media in 50 states on 796 Public Education Access television channels.

Pinto will participate in a panel discussion that identifies and assesses the use of new technology tools that facilitate self-tracking wellness—including physical, mental and emotional health. The panelists also will discuss how patients and health care professionals can learn about new health information technologies designed to prevent substance abuse, promote early intervention and provide methods for healthy lifestyle behaviors and overall wellness.

Pinto has received national acclaim and is recognized as a thought leader in the evolving role of technology in behavioral health. Her pioneering research, Electronic Self-Management Resource Training for Mental Health (eSMART-MH), advances traditional health care delivery paradigms and has garnered national attention. In 2013, Dr. Pinto was invited to present eSMART-MH at the White House Technology Innovations for SAMHSA Conference. Additionally, she addressed the North Carolina Governor's Institute on Substance Abuse, alongside the director of SAMHSA.

eSMART-MH is an avatar-based mental health program that immerses young adults into a virtual primary care environment. The self-management tool takes participants through the entire appointment process—from entering the waiting room and interacting with the front desk staff, to communicating with nurses and physicians about symptoms and concerns, to scheduling follow-up. eSMART-MH uses interactive technology familiar to its already tech-savvy participants.

"This is an important technology, because many young people are affected by depression early in life, but tend not to receive treatment," explains Pinto. "Since this generation has grown up on computers, Internet, cell phones and other electronic devices, the eSMART-MH technology is very comfortable for them. Just being able to practice talking about depression with virtual health care providers may be enough to lessen the anxiety and stigma associated with seeking treatment. I am grateful for this platform on Road to Recovery that brings to the forefront the usefulness of incorporating innovative technology into mental health and substance abuse treatment.”

The Road to Recovery television series airs on the first Wednesday of each month, from March through November. Broadcast information is available athttp://www.recoverymonth.gov/broadcast-locations.