Evidence-based assessment and treatment of mental illness in older adults are rarely available to poor older adults of color. Community agencies and academic centers rarely partner to provide these services to underserved populations and very rarely work collaboratively on research. The Collaborative Alliance for Treatment and Assessment of Low-income Aging Consumers (CATALAC) project, a partnership between the Over-60 Research Program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Family Service Agency of San Francisco (FSA), seeks funding to develop a community-academic research partnership to develop a shared an mutually designed research infrastructure to assess FSA's success and mission in providing evidence-based mental health for diverse populations of low-income older adults. The activities we propose are designed to simultaneously enhance the clinical and research infrastructure at FSA, so that evidence-based interventions can be both implemented and evaluated, and to develop procedures and practices that can be generalized to other FSASF programs as well as to other community agencies. Over the past four years, FSA and UCSF, as the CATALAC team, have worked to facilitate organizational and provider readiness for adopting both EBPs and research at FSA. Activities include the creation of an IRB within FSA;participation of two FSA clinicians in the CARTA program;Mr. Bennett's strategy of involving respected, key clinicians in the development of EBP training and integration of assessment into practice;the creation of the Felton Institute for transmitting EBPs;and Dr. Arean's continued membership on FSA's board of directors.
Our aims are to (1) Test and refine an assessment toolkit for mentally ill older adults that is practical and portable in English and Cantonese (2) Implement a web-based electronic clinical and research case identification and outcome monitoring system, (3) Implement and evaluate Problem Solving Therapy for older adults with depression and mild cognitive impairment and (4) Develop a research-training program in community-based clinical outcomes research. The partnership process and activities will be evaluated by Dr. Karen Linkins of the Lewin Group. A successful community and academic collaboration must be beneficial to both partners and both partners must contribute to the process. FSASF and UCSF-OS have already begun such a partnership, which thus far is proving to be a fruitful enterprise. Both parties now wish to enhance this partnership and move it to the next level, by creating tools and methods that can be emulated and easily available to other partnerships of this nature. Our partnership also addresses county and state- level initiatives to move EBPs and integrate evaluation into mental health services. This partnership will have substantial impact not only in the field of geriatric mental health, but in policy related to community- academic partnerships.
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