Community Partners in Care: Leveraging Community Diversity to Improve Depression Care for Underserved Populations

By Dmitry Khodyakov, Peter Mendel, Elizabeth Dixon, Andrea Jones, Zoe Masongsong and Kenneth Wells.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research suggests that the quality and outcomes of depression treatment for adults can be substantially improved through “collaborative care” programs. However, there is a lack of resources required to implement such programs in vulnerable communities. Our article examines the planning phase of the Community Partners in Care (CPIC) initiative, which addresses this problem through a unique approach in which academic institutions partner directly with a wide range of community-based and service organizations in all phases of the project fielded in two underserved communities in Los Angeles. CPIC offers a unique opportunity to understand how diverse organizations can work together to address community depression care needs and to analyze the potential strengths and tradeoffs of coordinating among such varied entities. This article focuses on intra-group dynamics that surround the process of participatory research and reports results of the first wave of process evaluation of the planning phase of the CPIC initiative. Our analysis explores two main themes: Community-Partnered Participatory Research and benefits and challenges of collaboration in diverse groups.

Keywords: Depression Care, Community Partners in Care, Community Engagement Intervention, Community-Based Participatory Research, Collaboration between Diverse Organizations

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp.167-182. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.173MB).

Dr. Dmitry Khodyakov

Associate Social/Behavioral Scientist, RAND Health, The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California, USA

Dr. Dmitry Khodyakov (PhD in Sociology, Rutgers University) is an Associate Social/Behavioral Scientist at The RAND Corporation with primary research interests in the study of organizations and aging. He has developed expertise in analyzing organizational behavior, intra-group processes, organizational culture, decision-making, collaboration, and trust by using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. His research on trust as well as on end-of-life health care planning has been published in such leading peer-reviews journals as Social Forces, the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Sociology, and the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. His work on trust won a prize at the Fourth International Competition for Junior Sociologists organized by the International Sociological Association. Currently, Dr. Khodyakov is leading the qualitative process evaluation of the NIMH-funded Community Partners in Care project, which examines the effectiveness of a community-engagement, network-building intervention to implement evidence-based quality improvement interventions for treating depression within a multi-agency context in two underserved communities in Los Angeles. He is also working on a study that evaluates how health plans participating in the National Health Plan Collaborative cooperate with each other in an attempt to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care for members with diabetes.

Dr. Peter Mendel

Behavioral/Social Scientist, RAND Health, The RAND Corporation, California, USA

Peter Mendel, PhD (Sociology, Stanford University) is a Social Scientist at the nonprofit RAND Corporation specializing in organizational dynamics, reform, and global and comparative institutions, particularly related to healthcare systems. He is co-author of a recent international study on the sustainability of quality improvement in leading hospitals and medical centers in the U.S. and Europe, as well as a book on broad-scale institutional changes in health care and their effects on medical delivery organizations in the San Francisco Bay area over a half century. His other research has focused on inter-organizational networks for health care delivery and policy, and the dissemination of evidence-based health interventions within community settings. He also has participated in cross-national research on self-help groups for substance addictions and the organization and financing of national health systems.

Dr. Elizabeth Dixon

Director, QueensCare Health & Faith Partnership, Los Angeles, California, USA

Dr. Dixon is a registered nurse who serves as the Director of the Queenscare Health and Faith Partnership. Dr. Dixon is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the UCLA School of Nursing. Dr. Dixon has worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and was named the Outstanding Public Health Nurse in Los Angeles County. She has earned a dual Master’s degree in nursing and public health and a PhD in nursing. Dr. Dixon’s research interests include examination of the complex relationships between social inequalities, social and physical environments, and population health. Dr. Dixon is a lead community investigator on the Community Partners in Care study, an NIH-funded study led jointly by community and academic partners, designed to evaluate the efficacy of large-scale community-engagement efforts around access to quality care for depression. Dr. Dixon has a long record of advocating for the poor and uninsured and continues to engage in public health service, research, and education.

Andrea Jones

Healthy African American Families, Los Angeles, California, USA

Andrea Jones is Projects Specialist for Healthy African American Families II (HAAF), an independent non-profit, which serves as a satellite site for research advocacy through a partnership with Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, UCLA, The RAND Corporation, and more than 150 community organizations. She is currently working on Community Partners in Care (CPIC), a community-based and led research project funded by the National Institutes of Health. She also served as Project Coordinator for the Witness4Wellness Project (W4W), a community-based partnership for building community strength and overcoming the burden on communities of depression, particularly in communities of color. In addition, she co-teaches (with Dr. Arlene Brown and Dr. Kenneth Wells) a class for the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Program at UCLA. She graduated from the Leadership Development in Inter-Ethnic Relations Program (LDIRS) in June 2006. LDIRS is sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), the Martin Luther King Dispute Resolution Center (MLKDRC), and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). In December 2006, she graduated from the Community Health Leadership & Training Program, a collaboration of Community Health Councils, SCOPE, Community Coalition, and Los Angeles Trade Tech College. Ms. Jones resides in Long Beach, CA, where she enjoys reading and spending time with her grandchildren.

Zoe Masongsong

Jane and Terry Semel Institute, UCLA and The RAND Corporation, California, USA

Zoe Masongsong, M.S. (Psychology, Walden University), B.A. (Sociology, University of California at Santa Cruz) is an educator, community organizer, and poet, whose work has appeared internationally and on public radio. She edited one of the first anthologies of environmental poetry to be published. Her current research focuses on applying the perspectives of health psychology and sociology to the evaluation of the Community Partners in Care (CPIC) depression care quality improvement project to eliminate mental health disparities. In her capacity as a Community Engagement Specialist, Ms. Masongsong recruits a broad range of health, community advocacy, and social service organizations to partner with CPIC. She promotes effective treatments for mood disorders as necessary co-requisites for a social justice agenda.

Dr. Kenneth Wells

Director, Jane and Terry Semel Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, and School of Public Health, UCLA and The RAND Corporation, California, USA

Kenneth B. Wells, M.D., M.P.H., received his M.D. from UCSF and his M.P.H. from UCLA. He is a psychiatrist, affiliated adjunct staff at RAND, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine and Professor of Health Services at the UCLA School of Public Health. He directs the Health Services Research Center of the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, which focuses on improving quality of care for psychiatric and neurological disorders across the lifespan. He is the Principal Investigator of the NIMH Partnered Research Center for Quality Care and the NIMH Community Partners in Care study. He is a CoDirector of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at UCLA. Dr. Wells is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). He was the first recipient of the Young Investigator Award and also received the Distinguished Investigator Award of Academy Health and the American Psychiatric Association Research Prize. His current research interests focus on community-based participatory research methods for improving mental health outcomes in underserved communities.


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