Dr Blackburn currently work at Region’s Sleep Health Center, a 9-bed sleep lab and am one of two doctoral-level behavioral sleep medicine specialists.  During the day, we run an insomnia clinic and treat other sleep disorders such as circadian rhythm disorders, nightmare disorders, and hypersomnias.Plus we also assist in CPAP desensitization.  For 7 years, We have been collecting data focused on treatment outcomes and pre-post measures on scales such as the ISI, GAD-7- PHQ-9, FSIQ, Epworth, and MSFI-SF.  We hope to utilize this data in the future to show how CBT-I works in the clinical, non-controlled world of a sleep clinic. 

Rick fell into Behavioral Sleep Medicine accidentally.  About 10 years ago, he worked in a locked chemical dependency treatment facility, and many of our patients were abusing various sleep medications.  He was asked to come up with a non-medicinal alternative, so he started reading theliterature.  Not surprisingly, he stumbled across CBT-i.  Then, when he took a different job, he found a group in Minnesota starting a BSM training consortium under the direction of Dr. Michael Schmitz from Allina Health.  He joined the group, and his passion for sleep grew.  In 2012, with passing the CBSM exam, Mike Schmitz encouraged Rick to get involved with the SBSM Board, and now is finishing his third year of service and is Board Liaison to Practice Committee chaired by Dr. Stacey Simon. Eventually, Dr Blackburn left Allina Health group to work full time in sleep at Region’s Sleep Health Center with Dr. James Davig, another SBSM member. 

Our next step in the development of our insomnia program is creating a digital sleep log application for phones that allows patients and cliniciansto share information securely that is tailored to CBT-i.  The app will contain a highly detailed sleep log, all of the educational material developed for their patients, statistics compiled about the person’s sleep, how their sleep changes over time, which enables the sleep clinician to enter in a sleep schedule prescription based on the CBT-I protocol.  More importantly, the data and graphs will be able to be exported and copied into the electronic medical record, making reporting of progress easier for the clinician.  We expect Beta testing to begin in December.  We anticipate combining this with a telemedicine component within a year so we can reach into rural, underserved areas of our state. 

Behavioral Sleep Medicine is changing rapidly, and it’s important that providers have a voice.  For people going into the field or re-specializing, Dr Blackburn strongly recommends getting involved:  join a committee, run for a Board position, and most importantly, join the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.  The clinical data is on our side.  We offer a highly effective, first-line treatment for many sleep disorders, but we need to spread the word, advocate for the profession, and educate the community, 3rd party payers, and other providers.