Four organizations with historic expertise in their fields have announced a collaborative effort to develop a report that identifies areas of racial and ethnic inequality in the Ohio community behavioral health system and makes recommendations on strategies that can be used to address inequalities.

The four partners in this work will include:

  • Central State University (CSU), Ohio’s only historically black public college or university (HBCU), a regionally accredited 1890 land granting institution with a tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and backgrounds for leadership , research and service. The University promotes academic excellence in a stimulating environment and provides a solid foundation in liberal arts and sciences. Central State University faculty and staff set a new academic record for sponsored research and external funding by raising $ 26.7 million in the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
  • Coalition for the Promotion of Mental Health and Addiction (MHAC), a nonprofit policy and advocacy organization that works with its more than 130 member organizations across Ohio to increase awareness of mental health and addiction issues and advocate for policies and strategies that support effective and well-funded services, systems and supports.
  • Multiethnic Advocates for Cultural Competence, Inc. (MACC), a Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit that works to transform systems and institutions by providing cultural skills training, assessments and certification to reduce racism and disparities and create equity in Ohio’s behavioral health systems.
  • Ohio University (OHIO), Ohio’s oldest public university with 11 campuses and centers across the state of Ohio and over 250 academic programs. OHIO’s strong research presence drives national and global solutions; the University received more than $ 62 million in research funding in 2019. The OHIO Alliance for Population Health will also provide essential support for data collection and analysis.

Data is the cornerstone of this research project. Historically, there has been a lack of collection and coordination of data that quantifies by race and ethnicity those affected by inequalities in behavioral health.

“Ohio is a very diverse state and offers any service including behavioral health services and supports requires the identification and understanding of the population served, and in Ohio it is not a monolithic community, ”said MACC Executive Director Tracy Maxwell Heard.

MHAC Executive Director Joan Englund added: “The key to crafting a response is first to fully understand the issues and needs. The four partners will use their experience and collective relationships to identify and collect existing data and also to identify data that we need and that is not currently available. Once the data is identified, the project partners will review and evaluate it to confirm or refute the hypothesis that there are racial and ethnic disparities in behavioral health. They will also identify examples of the negative impact of disparities on people with mental illnesses or substance use disorders and on the behavioral health system.

“An evidence-based approach is integral to developing policies to meet the needs of underserved populations. This partnership is an exciting opportunity to examine the data that speaks to disparities in health and access to care in the state of Ohio, ”said Dr. Omesh Johar, Acting President of Social Sciences and behavioral issues at CSU.

Dr Jonathan Trauth, Acting Director of Social Work at CSU, reiterated the importance of having individuals from minority groups and minority-oriented institutions co-lead this type of project.

“As a social worker with 15 years of experience, I am aware of the challenges faced by populations in disadvantaged neighborhoods, especially young people. I look forward to bringing my knowledge and experience to this project, ”said Trauth.

Beginning in late 2022, the partnership will release a report in a series of installments that will 1) present the gaps that exist between the data needed and that available, 2) provide analysis of existing data, and 3) define equitable strategies. to address disparities. In addition, the report will recommend data that stakeholders should retain and track in the future in order to improve racial equity in behavioral health treatment, services and supports.

“The OHIO Alliance for Population Health is home to an extensive network of partners with experts in health policy, delivery, behavioral health and data analytics,” said Acting Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions , Dr. John McCarthy. “Our team is proud to be part of an effort that provides opportunities not only to inform future treatment and service needs, but also to help uncover possible overall issues in the areas of. behavioral health, services and funding. “

This historic collaboration will result in the collection and analysis of existing and newly collected data, two essential pieces of the puzzle needed to address and eliminate disparities in the Ohio behavioral health system at a time when more and more people residents find themselves in distress and all deserve fair service and better outcomes.