Providing information to policy-makers and clinicians to improve the quality of depression care

By 2050, more than 25 percent of patients seeking mental health care services in the United States will be ethnic minorities, many of them Latino and Asian American immigrants with limited English proficiency. According to the 2002 Institute of Medicine report, Unequal Treatment, if the current patterns of health care persist, ethnic/racial minority populations will: (1) continue to experience higher risk of misdiagnosis; and (2) be less likely than their white counterparts to receive evidence-based psychosocial and pharmacological treatment. According to several research studies, depression is a prevalent and costly chronic illness that ranks second only to ischemic health disease in magnitude of disease burden. It often is co-morbid with other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and chronic asthma, and can significantly impede the management of these conditions. Also, recent studies suggest that significant barriers to and gaps in quality exist in depression care particularly among racial and ethnic minority populations. In order to address the existing gaps in health care service provision for minority patients with depression, understanding the cultural and contextual information that contribute to mis-diagnosis and inappropriate treatment plans for these patients is essential. This grant supports the data analysis of 2002-2003 data from the combined National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS) and the National Co-morbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R) from 2001-2003. It is expected that products from this project will not only investigate issues of health care quality, patient-centeredness and economic costs of depression treatment for ethnic/racial minorities, but also enable the Foundation's Quality/Equality team to refine its broad national depression strategy by filling existing research gaps in targeted program interest areas. Products of this project include: (1) analysis of data regarding the differential economic and social burden of depression in Latino and Asian American populations; (2) peer-reviewed journal article publications; and (3) a series of policy briefs. The project will be considered successful if it results in findings and recommendations that can be used by mental health service providers, researchers and policy-makers to inform public policies, as well as clinical guidelines for depression prevention and treatment services.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $599,999.00

Awarded on: 12/12/2006

Time frame: 1/1/2007 - 3/31/2009

Grant Number: 58678


Cambridge Health Alliance

1493 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, 02139-1047


Margarita Alegria
Project Director