Significant obstacles exist in care delivery that prevents meaningful utilization of mental health services by consumers who experience health disparities. Specifically, individuals facing isolation due to linguistic, literacy, or cultural bariers often face challenges in procuring mental health care. These challenges are in part due to the medical and mental systems'present lack of integration and failure to take into account the importance of social cohesion when delivering care. Addressing these gaps in the healthcare industry, the objective of this proposal is to create a dynamic communication platform that uses multi-channel message delivery to (i) provide culturally competent, language-concordant mental health content to consumers facing health disparities;(ii) empower providers to integrate medical and mental health care, both through shared message delivery and integration with electronic medical record (EMR) systems;and (iii) strengthen social cohesion by connecting isolated clients not only to physical and mental health message campaigns but also to community resources and peer supports critical to augmenting social well-being. The goal of Phase I is to create a series of depression and anxiety Messages and to assess whether they influence health knowledge and attitudinal change among mental health consumer participants and the suitability of the proposed technology for mental health and social service sectors. During Phase II, we will build the fully functional web-based communication platform, which will include a peer counseling function and integration with EMR systems. We will populate the integrated system with several hundred mental health and social support audio, text, and email messages in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. The project will culminate in two six-month summative evaluations with institutional and community service providers to assess the effectiveness of the proposed technology in increasing access to information about mental health and social supports, improving service and clinical outcomes, and enhancing quality of care and social cohesion for consumers who face disparities in access to mental health services.

Public Health Relevance

Multi-channel communication platforms are a promising solution to the problem of uneven access to medical, mental, and social services experienced by those experiencing health disparities. The proposed project-the development of an integrated, web-based communication platform targeting mental health and social cohesion-will employ messaging including Interactive Voice Response (IVR), text, and email to (i) disseminate language-concordant, culturally competent messages;(ii) facilitate care integration between medical, mental health, and social service fields;and (iii) enrich social cohesion by connecting clients to providers between appointments, to community resources, and to peer supports. Providing such personalized, accessible care will ameliorate the present knowledge and access gaps among isolated and underserved communities and will improve health outcomes by connecting individuals to critical health services and community support networks.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZEB1-OSR-B (M1))
Program Officer
Tabor, Derrick C
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Transcendent International, LLC
New York
United States
Zip Code