Translational research is the cornerstone of health care advances. However, facilitating communication between research participants or consumers and investigators has been a challenge for decades. Divergent consumer and investigator perspectives have led to failed research studies due to lack of research participants, misunderstandings, stigma, and even fear of research misuse and abuse among consumers. These challenges are unique for different disorders, and may be exacerbated in depression and bipolar research, due in part to the inherent behavioral constraints imposed by depression, bipolar, and other mood disorders, difficulty in reaching consumers in specific disease states, the prevalence of co-occurring disorders, and the few community or public resources currently available to support these connections. The proposed program aims to develop a groundbreaking, sustainable program for depression, bipolar and mood research by creating a Consumer Depression-Bipolar Research Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse would provide researchers the opportunity to link directly with consumers interested in participating in translational depression research, and would provide consumers the opportunity to have a voice in the priorities, direction and evaluation of this research. The Clearinghouse will build upon a pre-existing partnership among one of the nation's leading consumer advocacy groups (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance), the nation's inaugural Comprehensive Depression Center (University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center), and in the future, the National Network of Depression Centers. It will employ social networking strategies, community engagement and personalized outreach to achieve its aims. The program will be launched regionally in Michigan and northern Ohio, evaluated for effectiveness, and then made sustainable through expansion to national partners.
The proposed program aims to develop a sustainable program to promote depression, bipolar and mood research. The Consumer Depression-Bipolar Research Clearinghouse would provide researchers the opportunity to identify consumers interested in participating in translational depression research, and would provide consumers the opportunity to have a voice in the priorities, direction and evaluation of depression research.