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August 27, 2005
NIMH Gives $3 Million For Schizophrenia Research
Mental Health Rehabilitation Agency Participates in Major Schizophrenia Study
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has approved a new $3 million multi-year grant aimed at increasing the effectiveness of community mental health rehabilitation by rapidly moving research findings into active care settings. PORTALS, a CARF-accredited nationally recognized community-based mental health rehabilitation agency in Los Angeles, will partner with investigators from USC and UCLA on the project, entitled, "Biosocial Factors in Rehabilitation of Schizophrenia."
Dr. Brekke serves as the research partnership's principal investigator. He is the Frances G. Larson Professor of Social Work Research, and Director of the Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services at the USC School of Social Work. He is a well-known researcher in the field of community treatment for people with severe persistent mental illnesses. Working with Dr. Brekke as a co-principal investigator is Robert Kern, PhD, Associate Research Psychologist at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. The PORTALS co-principal investigators will be Clinical Director Jana Plasters, MFT, and Laura Pancake, LCSW.
PORTALS began working with Dr. Brekke in 1989, when he, his research staff, and PORTALS professional program staff looked at how the PORTALS psychosocial rehabilitation model for service delivery affected its members with schizophrenia. PORTALS has been the study site for three NIMH grant-funded projects headed by Dr. Brekke in the past, and more than 30 scientific publications have resulted from this collaborative work. This most recent study will change PORTALS' role from a recruitment site for study participants to a community research partner with USC and UCLA.
Jim Balla, PORTALS' President and CEO, said, "This grant-funded project represents a tremendous opportunity for PORTALS as we continue to inform our practice through research involvement. I look forward to sharing the results of this research study with our community mental health partnering agencies."
The goals of this new NIMH grant partnership will be to build a shared research infrastructure, and to expedite "research to practice" efforts by providing study discoveries to consumers and service providers administering programs in typical community rehabilitation settings. "Recent mental health studies point to a serious gap between what is known from clinical research regarding mental disorders and their treatment, and what services actually are provided to consumers in practice," Dr. Brekke said.
The need is particularly great for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia. Of the major mental illnesses, schizophrenia is the costliest in terms of expenditures for treatment, rehabilitation programs, and individual losses caused by ongoing functional disabilities.
Now celebrating its 50th year of providing accredited mental health rehabilitation services to the Los Angeles community, PORTALS has led the way in pioneering recovery and wellness psychosocial programs that have helped make it possible for adults with severe mental illness to attain stable and independent housing, pursue meaningful employment, and achieve productive lives through self-determination and independence. Since its founding in 1955, PORTALS has helped more than 50,000 mentally ill adults -- many with co-occurring substance abuse disorders -- to turn their lives around. With primary locations in central and south Los Angeles, PORTALS provides a range of coordinated services that include supportive housing, mental health services, vocational training, job opportunities and placement, and socialization activities that further opportunities for community integration. PORTALS is headquartered at 679 S. New Hampshire Ave., Fifth Floor, Los Angeles 90005.
Posted by christine at August 27, 2005 01:13 PM
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