Addressing the multi-faceted health and mental health needs ofthe U.S. population is a complex issue that warrants attention from policymakers, clinicians, researchers, scientists, and public health professionals that can offer unique perspectives and strategies to support efforts for greater well-being among individuals. With growing diversity concerning different ethnicities, nationalities, and sexual orientation;arid with significant changes in the constellation of the myriad of risk factors that can jnfluence health'and health outcomes, it is imperative that we delineate strategic health policies, focused community-based programs, and innovative research that include an examination of evidence-based models that can improve individuals'longevity and quality of life. These issues have particular relevance for vulnerable and higli risk populations, including veterans, ex-offenders, uninsured, homeless individuals, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender individuals (LGBT), and racial/ethnic minorities. Health and mental health disparities exist in the US. There are many factors that irifluerice these disparities, including social determinants of health such as poor education, lack of health insurance coverage, economic challenges, and impoverished environmental conditions. Important considerations for reducing health disparities may include implementation, monitoring, and tracking of local, state and national health policies;improving access to comprehensive, integrated and patient-centered quality healthcare;and promotion of culturally-centered prevention and intervention approaches. There are several key pieces of federal legislation passed by Congress that were designed to have positive health and behavioral health implications for underserved populations including the Mental Health Parity Act (1996), Second Chance Act (2008), Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (2008), and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010). Although collectively these health policies support the promotion of better access and utilization of health and behavioral healthcare services, the extent to which policies related to these legislative mandates are implemented remains questionable, and health disparities continue to plague our communities. Our multi-disciplinary investigative team recognizes the significance of enforcing health policies that can proliferate and support individuals seeking coverage and better healthcare. We also acknowledge the importance of providing culturally tailored integrative healthcare to holistically address physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. Our proposed research study seeks to add to the existing, yet limited body of literature conceming integrated healthcare models to help address one of the most deleterious mental disorders, depression and selected co-occurring chronic health conditions. Also, we will discern the role of insurance mandates and coverage on health and mental health outcomes for selected high risk populations. Few investigations have been conducted that focus on these key areas related to health policy and examination of the components of an innovative culturally-centered integrated healthcare model targeted to ethnically and culturally diverse adults. Our ultimate goal is to help to reduce health and mental health disparities, improve health equity, and enhance the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-RN (09))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Morehouse School of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Bayer, Carey Roth; Smith, L Lerissa; Volny Darko, Renée et al. (2017) Understanding health policy leaders' training needs. PLoS One 12:e0174054
Ofili, Elizabeth; Anand, Inder; Williams, Richard Allen et al. (2017) Fixed-Dose Versus Off-Label Combination of Isosorbide Dinitrate Plus Hydralazine Hydrochloride: Retrospective Propensity-Matched Analysis in Black Medicare Patients with Heart Failure. Adv Ther 34:1976-1988
Butler, Ashley M; Titus, Courtney (2017) Pilot and feasibility study of a parenting intervention delivered by parent peers. Vulnerable Child Youth Stud 12:215-225
Douglas, Megan Daugherty; Xu, Junjun; Heggs, Akilah et al. (2017) Assessing Telemedicine Utilization by Using Medicaid Claims Data. Psychiatr Serv 68:173-178
Douglas, Megan D; Benevides, Teal W; Carretta, Henry (2017) Analyzing State Autism Private Insurance Mandates for Allied Health Services: A Pilot Study. OTJR (Thorofare N J) 37:218-226
Twiner, Michael J; Marinica, Alexander L; Kuper, Kenneth et al. (2017) Screening and Treatment for Subclinical Hypertensive Heart Disease in Emergency Department Patients With Uncontrolled Blood Pressure: A Cost-effectiveness Analysis. Acad Emerg Med 24:168-176
Levy, Phillip D; Willock, Robina Josiah; Burla, Michael et al. (2016) Total antihypertensive therapeutic intensity score and its relationship to blood pressure reduction. J Am Soc Hypertens 10:906-916
Yan, Fengxia; Cha, EunSeok; Lee, Elisa T et al. (2016) A Self-assessment Tool for Screening Young Adults at Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Using Strong Heart Family Study Data. Diabetes Educ 42:607-17
Heiman, Harry J; Smith, L Lerissa; McKool, Marissa et al. (2016) Health Policy Training: A Review of the Literature. Int J Environ Res Public Health 13:ijerph13010020
Bolar, Cassandra L; Hernandez, Natalie; Akintobi, Tabia Henry et al. (2016) Context matters: A community-based study of urban minority parents' views on child health. J Ga Public Health Assoc 5:212-219

Showing the most recent 10 out of 55 publications