NYU Faculty Present at Nation's Premier Mental Health Services Research Conference

Drs. Rohini Pahwa, Victoria Stanhope, and Kiara Moore at NIMH's 24th Mental Health Services Research Conference
Drs. Rohini Pahwa, Victoria Stanhope, and Kiara Moore at NIMH's 24th Mental Health Services Research Conference

NYU Silver Associate Professor Victoria Stanhope, Assistant Professor Rohini Pahwa, and Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor Kiara Moore presented their recent research at the National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) 24th Mental Health Services Research Conference, held August 1-2, 2018 in Rockville, MD. Organized every other year by NIMH's Services Research and Clinical Epidemiology Branch, part of its Division of Services and Intervention Research, the conference aims to promote high-priority areas in mental health services research and identify opportunities with potential for significant impact for people with mental disorders.

In her oral presentation, part of a panel on Care Delivery, Dr. Stanhope presented preliminary findings from her NIMH-funded R01 study on Person-Centered Care Planning (PCCP) and Service Engagement. Using an objective measure to examine competency in person-centered care across service programs within community mental health clinics, she and her study team found that programs were competent in recovery oriented process and the technical aspects of service planning, but were not as competent in translating person-centered care into key elements of the service plan. The study indicates that more research is needed to operationalize, measure, and promote person-centered care across community mental health programs.

Dr. Stanhope and a member of her PCCP study team, Dr. Elizabeth Matthews of Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, also presented a poster using mixed methods to examine the impact of electronic health records (EHRs) on practice innovation in community mental health. They found that agencies with EHRs had greater uptake of PCCP than those without an EHR but reported both benefits and challenges of having an EHR. Agencies without an EHR perceived their work would be easier with an EHR and this diminished their motivation to adopt a new practice without one.

Dr. Pahwa presented a poster based on her multi-site, qualitative study on community integration of individuals with serious mental illness (SMI). She and her research team conducted semi-structured qualitative and social network interviews of 70 people with SMI receiving community-based mental health services in Los Angeles, New York, and Baltimore to identify behavioral mechanisms behind the process of community integration. They identified four themes revealing that individuals experienced communities in multiple ways. The differing and dynamic conceptions of community have implications for further research and the development of interventions targeting community integration for individuals with SMI.

During the conference’s panel on Community Supports and Integration, a member of Dr. Pahwa’s research team gave an oral presentation sharing findings from semi-structured interviews and social network mapping of 20 people with SMI receiving public mental health services in Los Angeles County on how concepts of safety shape their experience of community and processes of community reintegration. They found that participants described relying on mental health services, especially in accessing vital resources and as a source of safety, suggesting that providers should design community integration strategies that specifically address safety concerns.

Dr. Moore presented a poster based on a mixed methods study of 31 Black and Hispanic, LGBTQ young adults in New York City that examined the relationship between multiple minority identities and mental health service use experiences. Among her quantitative findings were that stronger social identity was associated with service use and that connectedness to communities and LGBT identities were more associated with service use than other social identity items. Qualitative findings included participants' perception of their racial/ethnic identities as barriers and their LGBTQ identities as facilitators to formal mental health help-seeking. The results suggest that multiple minority identity development is relevant to service use, thus interventions to increase treatment utilization in this population might benefit from assessing and supporting minority identity development.

Dr. Stanhope, Pahwa and Moore are just three of NYU Silver’s faculty who are conducting innovative, high impact research to advance the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses.