Project Summary

Background: Mental health disorders (MHDs) occur in 48 to 64 percent of individuals who have been incarcerated. Incarceration is traumatizing and exacerbates MHDs. Patients with MHDs who are released from jail are insufficiently treated in the community. More knowledge needs to be shared and more involvement is needed from patients and stakeholders to support patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) that could lead to better outcomes.

Proposed Solution: Working in the community in Ventura County, California, the project team will engage as partners recently released patients with MHDs, family members, community leaders, clinicians, agency personnel, and other stakeholders in a learning venue to promote knowledge exchange about MHDs, patient-centered treatment for MHDs, and how and why to do PCOR. The learning venue will encourage a patient-centered approach to understanding MHDs in patients involved with criminal justice (CJ). Patients and other stakeholders will gain greater capacity to address MHDs by learning together about MHD policy and practice issues and PCOR.


  • Build readiness and capacity among individuals who are new to PCOR so they can engage as collaborators in PCOR and as users of results
  • Develop infrastructure to engage patients, family members, and clinicians and other stakeholders as partners in a learning venue to increase awareness of issues and effective services for MHD patients
  • Identify learning approaches regarding PCOR and MHD treatments to enable patients, families, and other stakeholders to develop competencies with research and with services


  • Develop the patient-centered infrastructure required to engage patients and other stakeholders
  • Use the infrastructure to promote interactions (in three meetings per year plus three small-group events) leading to greater MHD knowledge and to capacity in PCOR
  • Use stakeholder and advisory group input in identifying priorities and pertinent PCOR
  • Disseminate results via web, publications, and meetings

Outcomes and Outputs:

  • A sustainable infrastructure engaging patients, families, clinicians, and other stakeholders in meetings/interactions to share knowledge that enables PCOR addressing MHDs
  • Potential PCOR topics on MHDs among CJ populations, framed to examine health outcomes associated with innovative interventions derived from knowledge exchange activities, and to assess integration of stakeholder-identified issues in MHDs
  • Stakeholders with new perspectives on PCOR and more knowledge on MHD issues among previously incarcerated patients. Families and patients will be empowered to interact with healthcare and service providers, increasing their interest and ability to engage in PCOR and use PCOR results.

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The project team will recruit patients, families, and other stakeholders, aided by working with advocacy groups, clinicians, CJ agencies, and community groups. The team will reach homeless patients with flyers and probation contacts and via outreach in shelters and on the street. Engagement will involve participation in meetings to recount needs and experiences, share knowledge of MHDs, and discuss facilitators of and barriers to services. Frequent contacts will seek participants’ input on procedures, utility of knowledge exchange, topics for PCOR, and dissemination. Participants will be compensated at meetings to defray travel costs and to acknowledge time and effort, and they will be encouraged to sustain collaboration.

Collaborators: Ventura health agencies, sheriff, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Project Information

Angela Hawken, PhD
Maureen Hillhouse, PhD
New York University

Key Dates

24 months


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 4, 2022