Challenge Grant

Reducing Ethnic and Racial Bias in Screening for Psychiatric Disorders in Adolescents

Background: The Center was awarded a 2-year NIH Challenge grant September, 09 as part of the recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) stimulus package competition. There were more than 20,000 applicants nationwide and only roughly 300 were successfully awarded funding. The project is entitled "Reducing Ethnic and Racial Bias in Screening for Psychiatric Disorders in Adolescents," and Dr. Alegria is the Principal Investigator. Dr. Alegria's team will be working with co-applicant Dr. Ronald Kessler and his group at the Department of Health Care Policy, at Harvard Medical School. This study is designed to improve the effectiveness of identification, referral and screening for mental health disorders potentially associated with ethnic/racial disparities in adolescent receipt of mental health care. The project will use data from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), which is the most comprehensive national data available to study screening and referral patterns for ethnic/racial minority children.

Aim 1: To determine whether school personnel are equally likely to encourage parents of ethnic/racial minority youth who have psychiatric disorders to seek services for their child, as they encourage non-Latino white parents, and whether school, family, and community characteristics explain any disparities in referral;
Aim 2: To identify ethnic/racial differences in parent assessment of youth with psychiatric disorders that are associated with ethnic/racial disparities in service access;
Aim 3: To evaluate the meaning and response bias in the questions used to assess major depression and generalized anxiety disorders in non-Latino white and racial/ethnic minority adolescents, and lastly;
Aim 4: To compare the accuracy of predictions of mood and anxiety disorders using screening scales specific to black, latinos or whites, using universalistic screening tools applicable to all ethnic/racial groups.

The Challenge Grant is supported by Grant # 1RC1MD004588-01 from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.