Project Summary

Background: Behavioral health patients with a serious mental health diagnosis often do not engage in adequate medical care. Research by James Schuster, MD, has found that providing these patients with increased support related to their medical condition/medical care yields positive outcomes related to engagement in health care, attendance at medical appointments, improved satisfaction with medical care, and improved quality of life (Schuster, 2018).

Solution: Through this project, Rochester Regional Health (RRH) will address the knowledge gap among patients and providers when treating adults with serious mental health conditions who also need physical and other types of medical care. We will give patients and providers the foundation needed to implement the results of the Schuster study to improve overall health outcomes in this population.


  • Increase knowledge among behavioral health and medical staff on how to improve patient outcomes by simultaneously treating mental health and medical conditions in accordance with the Schuster study.
  • Increase the ability of behavioral health staff to implement Schuster interventions into clinical practice with patients.
  • Increase knowledge among behavioral health patients on how they can improve their overall health and quality of life by simultaneously treating mental health and medical conditions in accordance with Schuster.
  • Increase self-efficacy of behavioral health patients to use coping skills outlined in Schuster that lead to improved overall health and quality of life.


  • Create the training curriculum for provider and patient workshops
  • Create the provider and patient toolkits that will be given to all workshop attendees
  • Recruit and convene the advisory board of behavioral health staff and behavioral health patients for this project
  • Facilitate training workshops for providers and patients
  • Recruit a subject matter expert on the Schuster study who can provide specialty trainings for providers at various points during the project period
  • Work with software engineers to build the information technology infrastructure for EMMI, which will allow behavioral health providers to assign a self-study digital educational curriculum for patients to access at home on their computers or smart phones.
  • Create the training curriculum for EMMI workshops for behavioral health staff
  • Facilitate training workshops on EMMI for behavioral health staff
  • Survey workshop attendees on their knowledge and ability to implement skills into treatment as a result of workshops, toolkits, and EMMI training

Outcomes: Practitioners and patients will have an increased understanding of how Schuster study interventions can improve patient activation in care, mental and physical health status, and engagement in primary/specialty care. They will have tools and motivation to implement these practices into treatment and help lead healthier lives.

Engagement Plan: Patients and stakeholders will be involved in all stages, from planning to implementation. They will be engaged in workshops and advisory board meetings for the two-year project.

Collaborators: RRH’s four mental health clinics, two satellite locations, and the Collaborative Care program.

Project Information

Alise Gintner, LCSW
The Rochester General Hospital

Key Dates

August 2022


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: April 3, 2024