Nov 20, 2008
A Case History of a Working Group in a Community Partnership Initiative to Address Depression
Published in: Ethnicity and Disease, v. 16, no. 1, suppl. 1, Winter 2006, p. S1-43-S1-53
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2005
This paper describes the implementation of a collaborative project with community and academic partners in Los Angeles, focusing on the experiences of the Supporting Wellness (SW) working group in a depression outreach/ education initiative (the Witness for Wellness project). The first-year activities of the SW group involved infrastructure development to prepare for policy and advocacy work. Scribe notes from monthly meetings along with the authors' observations are the primary source of data for this article. One of the major accomplishments of the group was to obtain a position on a countywide stakeholder committee that makes recommendations to policymakers on mental health spending for the county. One significant challenge for the academic group members has been providing guidance and support for potential research projects. Although community partnerships with academia are a potentially useful approach for developing health interventions to address community needs and priorities, the experiences of this group illustrate that a substantial amount of time is required to develop the infrastructure for efforts to be successful. In addition, the authors learned the community perspective is essential to developing interventions that can address barriers to depression care that are unique to communities with high numbers of under-served, unserved, and inappropriately served residents.