garners $600,000 in grants
focus on innovative methods to combat depression
Sciences Center faculty received two of only six major Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation grants awarded nationally to study innovative
methods of combating depression at the community level.
Waitzkin, M.D., Ph.D., professor, School of Medicine Department
of Family and Community Medicine, received a grant of $298,508
to assess the effectiveness of community health workers, known
as promotoras, in treating depression at community centers.
Adelsheim, M.D., associate professor, School of Medicine Department
of Psychiatry, and Jane McGrath, M.D., associate professor,
School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, received $300,000
for a 24-month program that will provide depression screening
and treatment for adolescents in rural New Mexico schools.
grants were awarded under the $21 million, national program,
titled, Depression in Primary Care: Linking Clinical and
System Strategies. The programs goals foster innovation
and the increased use of effective treatment models for depression
in primary care settings. Some 192 letters of intent to apply
were received when the call for proposals went out. Of that
that number, 35 applicants were invited to submit full applications
last September. The UNM researchers received two of the six
major grant awards.
health workers, known as promotoras in Latin America and U.S.
Hispanic communities, have emerged as widely used practitioners
in underserved settings. Waitzkins study will seek to
evaluate if promotoras can contribute effectively to depression
care in primary care settings. The UNM research team will work
in collaboration with First Choice Community Healthcare, a network
of 10 community health centers committed to providing accessible
services in underserved communities. UNM colleagues in the Departments
of Family and Community Medicine, Psychiatry, Economics, and
Communication and Journalism will participate in the project.
project will become, to our knowledge, the first evaluation
of promotoras as mental health practitioners focusing on depression
and will provide important information for stakeholders including
community leaders, primary care practitioners, health service
administrators, and policy makers, said Waitzkin. An
innovation that succeeds in reducing economic, cultural and
linguistic barriers in New Mexicos daunting context -
of poverty, adverse mental health outcomes, and ethnic/racial
minorities comprising the majority of the population
- could become an influential model for change, both regionally
grant is the only one addressing the special needs of rural
teenagers with depression. In 1999, New Mexico had the greatest
proportion of children living in poverty, the highest teen death
rate from homicide/suicide/accidents and the fifth highest percentage
of teens not in school or working. Yet, with only 12 child psychiatrists
in the entire state outside Albuquerque, there are only limited
psychiatric services available in rural areas to meet this need.
proposed project, Evaluation of Depression Screening and
Treatment in Rural New Mexico School-Based Health Centers,
will implement and evaluate what promises to be a cost-effective
program to address the needs of rural teenagers in the state.
will train primary care providers in four rural school-based
centers to provide depression screening and treatment. Screening
will be provided for at least 720 teenagers and depression treatment
will be provided over three school semesters for roughly 180