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Wednesday, December 6 • 2:40pm - 3:00pm
Alternatives to Sending the Police to Behavioral Emergencies: Denver's STAR Program

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In 2020, Denver created an alternative service to respond to 911 calls for behavior emergencies and other concerns to prevent underrepresented groups from having contact with law enforcement. STAR (Support Team Assisted Response) is based in the Denver Health Paramedic Division and pairs and EMT or paramedic with a masters-level behavioral health provider. In 2022, STAR responded to over 4,700 calls. Most common calls were for "welfare checks," followed by providing other types of assistance. Services can range from deescalating agitation, assessing for suicide risk, arranging for follow up care, or providing transportation to shelters. Since the In nearly three years, no STAR staff have been assaulted nor have they had to call for the police for help. In 2022, Senator Michael Bennett introduced federal legislation proposed making STAR a model for the rest of the nation to follow.This session with be an overview of the STAR program, a discussion of the partnership of various agencies that support STAR, and presentation of data from the inception of the program.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Appreciate the importance of diverting law enforcement from behavioral emergencies.
  2. Learn about a successful program of sending a behavioral health provider and EMS provider to behavioral emergencies in an urban setting.
  3. Be able to identify successful features of a co-responder program

avatar for Leigh Foster, BS, EMT-P

Leigh Foster, BS, EMT-P

Paramedic, Denver STAR Program Denver Health Paramedic Division
Leigh Foster has been a Denver Health Paramedic for 12 years. Leigh has been the paramedic supervisor for the STAR program since its first expansion in 2021. STAR is an alternative response program that pairs a mental health professional and a medical first responder to attend to... Read More →
avatar for Thom Dunn, PHD, NRP

Thom Dunn, PHD, NRP

Psychologist, Denver Health/U of N Colorado
Thom Dunn is a clinical psychologist at Denver Health, a safety net hospital with a Level I trauma designation. His primary clinical role is on the psychiatry C-L service. Additionally, he oversees psychology residents and fellows who work on proactive consult services embedded with... Read More →

Wednesday December 6, 2023 2:40pm - 3:00pm PST
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