Reducing mental health disparities from the ground up

The SSG Research and Evaluation Team has a long-standing history of providing technical assistance (TA) and evaluation capacity building to community based organizations.

CRDP-Blog_Photo.jpgThrough some of our most recent work with the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), we will be scaling our TA model to partner with community-based organizations across the State. Over the next six years, we’ll work closely with organizations serving Asian and Pacific Islander communities throughout California as they implement and test their community-defined evidence practices. The goal of this project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of these community-defined practices in reducing mental health disparities among these very diverse populations.

CRDP is a multi-year, $60 million initiative of the Office of Health Equity funded through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). The five target populations included in CRDP are African

American; Asian and Pacific Islander (API); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer, Questioning (LGBTQ); Latino; and Native American. SSG R&E is the Technical Assistance Provider for the API population.

“One of the reasons our team is very passionate about this project is because it is truly a ground-up approach to determining what works for mental health in diverse communities,” said Erica Shehane, Director of SSG R&E. “It’s flipping on its head how the field typically thinks of evidence based practice (EBP). Rather than imposing a model that has been developed in isolation in some academic setting, CRDP acknowledges that there are community-based providers who are the experts at reducing mental health disparities in their own communities. Through this project, our job is to help them refine, test and scale their models. In my mind, this kind of ground-up approach is the only way we’re going to truly obtain mental health equity.”

Since Phase II of CRDP officially kicked off in September 2016, our team has been working closely with the pilot projects to understand the mental health needs in their communities and work with them to refine their community defined evidence practices.

While we try to only work on projects that will positively impact communities in a direct and actionable way, CRDP is especially exciting for our team given the potential scale of the impact. At the end of CRDP in 2022, we should be looking at a portfolio of community-defined practices that have demonstrated effectiveness in some of the most diverse populations across California. That is ground-breaking work and we’re honored to be part of it.

SSG R&E is leading the API Technical Assistance Provider team with strong support from Harder+Company Community Research, Dr. Camillia Lui from Alcohol Research Group/ Public Health Institute and Dr. Jacqueline Tran.

Further reading:

CRDP Phase I Population Reports

Portrait of a Promise: The California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity (Office of Health Equity, 2015)