Nearly 1.6 million people are in federal and state correctional facilities in the United States. An estimated 95 percent of state prisoners will reenter society at some point in their life; over 600,000 people were released in 2013 alone. Formerly incarcerated people face a disproportionate risk of death in the immediate post-release period, making it a critical time to initiate community-based care for chronic conditions and behavioral disorders, including substance abuse. Nonetheless, there are significant barriers to accessing and adhering to care. Research is necessary to 1) identify the population’s unique health and social concerns, and 2) develop and test patient-centered interventions to improve health and reduce recidivism.
To create a research agenda focused on supporting this underserved population, we will continue to develop and expand our community–academic partnered workgroup in Louisiana, which has the highest incarceration rate in the United States. A junior faculty member with a track record of conducting community-partnered programs in New Orleans is leading this effort in partnership with a community-based organization focused on the rights of formerly incarcerated persons.
Our ultimate goal for this one-year project is to develop a viable comparative effectiveness research (CER) question that is driven by patients and relevant stakeholders. We will accomplish this goal by
- convening an advisory board that includes patients, caregivers, researchers, and community organizations;
- hosting a series of three community forums to gather stakeholder input on research priorities; and
- executing a communication and outreach plan to engage local and national experts in identifying CER questions.