Online Program

Effectiveness of Primary Care-Behavioral Health Integration in Asian American-Specific Mental Health Setting

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Kris Pui-Kwan Ma, Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Katherine Chun, PhD, LCSW, MPH, Asian Community Mental Health Services, Oakland, CA
Joyce Lim, MS, LMFT, Asian Community Mental Health Services, Oakland, CA
Anne Saw, PhD, Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
background: Individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) have poorer physical health and on average die 25 years sooner than individuals in the general population. To address these stark disparities, better integration of primary care and behavioral healthcare as well as services that promote health and self-management among those with SMI have been proposed. Recent studies noted improvements in consumers’ general medical and behavioral health in integration programs. Yet, none of them examined their effectiveness with Asian Americans. Asian immigrants generally face cultural and linguistic barriers in accessing to healthcare services which exacerbate their health status.  Thus, it is crucial to develop a culturally responsive integration program that meets the physical and mental health needs of Asian American immigrants with SMI.

objective:  This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Primary Care-Behavioral Health Integration program specifically serving Asian American immigrant adults with SMI.

method: Longitudinal data were collected every six months for the duration of the multi-year program. The present study (n=164) examined 6-month change in individuals’ physical (e.g., BMI and blood pressure) and psychosocial outcomes (e.g., K6 measure of psychological functioning) beginning with enrollment in the program.

results: The mean age of participants was 48.2 years (SD =11.9). There were 44% males and 56% females. Ten Asian ethnic groups were included in the study including Chinese (41.6%), Cambodian (18.6%), Vietnamese (18%) and Korean (9.9%). Preliminary findings from paired t-tests indicated statistically significant improvement in participants’ psychosocial functioning and reduction in non-specific psychological distress. There were no statistically significant changes in waist circumference, BMI and blood pressure.

discussion:  The findings provide initial support for the effectiveness of a primary care-behavioral health integration program for Asian Americans with SMI, particularly in improving the general psychological functioning and reducing psychological distress. Future studies will focus on examining the long-term impact of integration care.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the effectiveness of the Primary Care-Behavioral Health Integration program specifically serving Asian American immigrant adults with serious mental illness

Keyword(s): Asian Americans, Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a graduate student in the clinical-community psychology program at DePaul University. I have been conducting research addressing health disparities among Asian Americans and other ethnic minorities. My research interest focuses on the promotion of recovery among Asian Americans with serious mental illness. I am also an investigator in the current research that I am applying to present in this APHA annual meeting. I declare no conflict of interests in this event.
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.