[Photo: Dr. Jie Chen]
Dr. Jie Chen, an associate professor in the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Department of Health Services Administration, has received a $2.25 million National Institutes of Health RO1 grant to examine system-level care coordination and estimate how it impacts African American and Latino patients with mental illness.
The project, called “Effects of Hospital-Community-Public Health Integration on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health,” will run between July 2017 and February 2022.
“Mental illness is a major public health concern in the U.S. and a significant source of morbidity and mortality,” Dr. Chen said in her summary. “Racial and ethnic minority patients experience disproportionate burdens of common physical health conditions associated with mental illness, largely due to the lack of health care access and social stigma.”
Dr. Chen aims to provide insight on ways to best integrate specific coordination practices and policies in a more cost-effective way that will lead to overcoming these barriers.
The research will be conducted by examining data to estimate the impact of system-level care coordination on different racial and ethnic groups, and through focus groups composed of racial and ethnic minority patient representatives and others.
The project hopes to determine the effects of community benefit state laws on racial and ethnic disparities in health care access, quality and costs among people with mental illness.
Dr. Chen and her team will also focus on the implementation of community benefit laws, to determine the impact of care coordination practices between hospitals, communities, and public health agencies on racial and ethnic health disparities.
Dr. Chen believes this research could play an important role in breaking down barriers and improving access to mental health care for African American and Latino patients.