247437 Mental Health and Cancer (MHC) Connection Project: Preliminary findings from a community-based participatory research (CBPR) pilot

Monday, October 31, 2011: 5:10 PM

Elisa S. Weiss, PhD , Division of Community Collaboration and Implementation Science, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Abigail Williams, MPH , Division of Community Collaboration and Implementation Science, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Jennifer Erb-Downward, MPH , Division of Community Collaboration and Implementation Science, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Emilie Bruzelius , Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York City, NY
Ellen O'Hara-Cicero, LCSW , Community-Based Programs, Good Shepherds Services, Bronx, NY
Talia Nagar , Phipps Community Development Corporation, Phipps Houses Group, New York, NY
Pamela Valera, PhD , Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
Nicole Maysonet , Division of Community Collaboration and Implementation Science, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
In 2009, while conducting outreach in the Bronx, NY for a cancer screening study, we found that community agencies' most pressing concern was connecting clients to mental health services. Subsequent research revealed that half of the Bronx is designated by HRSA as a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area. Also, literature suggested that unmet mental health needs are associated with less participation in cancer screening and other preventive health behaviors; conversely, the management of mental illness through regular care appears to increase such participation. Consequently, we developed MHC Connection a 2-year CBPR pilot project supported by university funds to identify feasible strategies to increase access to mental health care and thus improve age-appropriate utilization of cancer screening services. The MHC Connection partnership, formed in early 2010, includes six community-based organizations and university faculty and staff. Using a collaboratively developed qualitative interview guide, staff interviewed 38 Bronx service providers using snowball sampling techniques; interviews were transcribed and coded using NVIVO software. Initial analysis revealed key barriers to mental health care and underscored how untreated mental health issues have multiplicative repercussions on the lives of Bronx residents, including their ability to seek preventive care. Analysis has also pointed to the role of daily life stressors and environmental-level factors in this resource-poor urban context. In this presentation, we will present study findings and describe how the findings are used by the partnership to develop a potentially fundable intervention model to reduce disparities in mental health care and cancer screening in the Bronx.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. To describe the inadequate access to mental health care in the Bronx, NY, and its impact on the lives of Bronx residents- particularly on their ability to seek preventive healthcare like cancer screening. 2. To propose innovative ways in which a community based participatory research approach can be used to explore inequities around mental health as well as collaboratively develop interventions, with special focus on community-academic partnerships. 3. To encourage thought and dialogue around the CBPR approach specifically for improving access to mental health in resource-poor, urban settings.

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Mental Health Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the P.I. of the project and have overseen and been completely engaged in its development and implementation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.