Community Partners in Care

Leveraging Community Diversity to Improve Depression Care for Underserved Populations

Published in: The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, v. 9, no. 2, 2009, p. 167-181

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2008

by Dmitry Khodyakov, Peter Mendel, Elizabeth L. Dixon, Andrea Jones, Zoe Masongsong, Kenneth B. Wells

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Research suggests that the quality and outcomes of depression treatment for adults can be substantially improved through "collaborative care" programs. However, there is a lack of resources required to implement such programs in vulnerable communities. Our article examines the planning phase of the Community Partners in Care (CPIC) initiative, which addresses this problem through a unique approach in which academic institutions partner directly with a wide range of community-based and service organizations in all phases of the project fielded in two underserved communities in Los Angeles. CPIC offers a unique opportunity to understand how diverse organizations can work together to address community depression care needs and to analyze the potential strengths and tradeoffs of coordinating among such varied entities. This article focuses on intra-group dynamics that surround the process of participatory research and reports results of the first wave of process evaluation of the planning phase of the CPIC initiative. Our analysis explores two main themes: Community-Partnered Participatory Research and benefits and challenges of collaboration in diverse groups.

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