Meet Alires J. Almon, Director of Innovation at WellPower

"WellPower’s Innovation Technology Lab was launched in 2019 as a commitment to innovation through technology – and preparing for a future that looked very different than what was present at the time.  The organization was ready to embrace the future of behavioral health.  The future arrived faster than expected in the form of the global pandemic – a cataclysmic event that altered our industry and society in many ways. One of the silver linings was an awareness of the impact of mental health and a proof of concept for technology enabled tools to support mental health.  Essentially, the clinician, therapist and psychiatrist of the future has arrived.  They are using technology for completing their case notes more effectively and efficiently. They are using AI-enabled solutions that support clinical decision making at the program and organizational level for use by the people we serve to participate in their own strength-based recovery journey.

The behavioral health workforce has been in steady decline for the last decade, that happened to coincide with a societal awakening of the importance of maintaining one’s mental health as well as a slight decline in the stigma of mental health/illness.  At Wellpower, we use technology as a force multiplier to support those who are providing clinical care to the people we serve. Technology allow us to move from the one-to-one model of care to a one-to-many model of care, enabling more access to care for all.

As the Director of Innovation, I take Responsible Innovation (RI) very seriously. We see ourselves as the last line of defense in supporting a very vulnerable safety net population. Through our partnerships with the AI Institute at Illif School of Theology, we conduct TRUST (Transparency, Responsibility, User-Centered, Sustainability, and Team) assessments on any solution that utilizes AI/machine learning -based technology.  The purpose of these assessments is to identify and mitigate any biases that are detected in their specific use case of the technology.  As we work with these companies, the goal is to push the results and recommendations upstream in the development process and impact the industry. If a company does not meet the requirements of the TRUST review, we do not work with them because it is of utmost importance that we mitigate any harm, especially through technology, to the people we serve."