The candidate seeks support through the K23 mechanism to develop the skills and mentorship necessary to become an independent clinician researcher in the area of mental health services. The candidate's long-term and overall career goals are to develop service delivery approaches to provide depression care to minority older adults who are at great risk of receiving no care. To pursue this goal, the candidate proposes a comprehensive training plan, combining research projects, didactic instruction overseen by her mentors, formal coursework, and participation in practical training experiences with individual advisors. Specific research projects are: 1) to conduct a pilot project using peer mentors who work in collaboration with a psychiatrist to provide depression care to minority older adults in the community;2) to conduct a mixed methods analysis of peer mentor-patient interactions and 3) integrate knowledge and experiences in a manual for use in a randomized clinical trial. These projects will provide knowledge and skills with developing service delivery models, including protocol development, manualization and implementation in the community. The candidate will expand her knowledge of the conduct of clinical trials and mixed method analysis through formal course work and individual tutorials. The development of minority clinician researchers focused on minority populations and mental health has important ramifications for reduction of disparities in health care and mental illness. The goals of this application are directly aligned with the NIMH Strategic Plan "to strengthen the application of mental health interventions in diverse care settings by examining community and intervention delivery approaches."
Many minority older adults have difficulty accessing depression care due to problems such as stigma and negative experiences with the mental health care system. In this application, we are proposing to develop a service delivery model that integrates peer support and professional mental health expertise that will diminish the barriers to accessing mental health treatments and engage minority older adults in depression care.