Online Program

Parent Engagement in a Comparative Effectiveness Study Examining Parent Activation and Mental Health Services for Latino Children

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 4:50 p.m. - 5:10 p.m.

Monica Perez Jolles, PhD, Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Kathleen Thomas, PhD, Program on Mental Health Services Research, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Purpose: This research’s goal is to improve the mental health care of Latino children. This presentation describes changes to study protocol and implementation as result of parent engagement in the research process.

Study Design:  Researchers established a mentor parent group to discuss study goals, recruitment, data collection protocols, study measures and interpretation of findings to inform the protocol design of a randomized controlled trial testing the effectiveness of a psycho-educational intervention designed to teach Latino mothers activation skills. Mentor parent group discussions are held quarterly throughout the 3-year study period.

Findings: Feedback from the mentor parent group resulted in three important changes. First, mothers urged us to include school outcome measures because children’s school experiences often motivate mental health service use. During study implementation, school measure showed positive change even after three months. Second, mothers explained that many parents new to the health care system will be less ready to understand and apply activation strategies. As a result, two measures of previous experience with the mental health system were added. A quarter of mothers used mental health services previously. Last, mothers asked us to be clear that parents were welcome to continue participating even if they missed a group session or their child stopped receiving services. This has contributed to a high study retention rate (88% with completed group sessions).

Conclusions: The inclusion of parent voices in the design and development of this research increased the relevance and applicability of findings for vulnerable populations and in other settings such as the school system.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe parent engagement in the context of a randomized control trial testing an intervention teaching activation skills to Latino mothers and children’s use of mental health services. Describe the specific contributions of parent engagement to the research study’s protocols, measures and interpretation of results. Discuss the relevance of including parent voices in the research process and contributions to the applicability of study findings for this vulnerable population.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Research (CBPR), Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have examined the implementation of best practices, particularly shared decision-making, and the use of behavioral health services by children. I am a co-investigator in a PCORI-funded randomized study testing a parent activation intervention on children’s use of mental health services. I have published on how human and health service agencies structure and deliver health services to families, and currently volunteer in the Mental Health Section planning committee of the American Public Health Association.
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.