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Access to Wellness

Background:

Persons with serious mental illness have a lifespan that is shortened by as much as 25 years compared with the general population. Premature death in this population is caused by common medical conditions such as untreated cardiovascular diseases and cancer as well as medical conditions related to risk taking behaviors such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. An additional compelling health concern in this population is the alarming incidence of obesity, diabetes, pre-diabetes, and high cholesterol that is increased by contemporary antipsychotic medications coupled with unhealthy living situations. These individuals often have difficulty consistently accessing primary care providers who effectively attend to preventive health care needs. Often they are not able to appreciate the value of following the preventive health recommendation of their physicians. Chronic medical conditions that are unattended result in unnecessary use of emergency and other medical resources.

The Program and Population:

The Community Psychiatry Program at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center is in the process of establishing three new services for patients seen in the Community Psychiatry Program that will enhance medical outcomes: health risk screening, direct and immediate access to primary and preventive health care, and case management. The Center for Mental Health Initiatives is working with JHU Community Psychiatry Bayview to evaluate the effects of these programs on a cohort of severely mentally ill individuals.

Funding:

This program was created in response to an Request for Proposals issued by the recently created Maryland Community Health Resources Commission. The Access to Wellness program is the only one that was funded that focuses on a population with mental disorders. The State of Maryland is providing funds for the provision of services and the Center is collaborating on evaluation of the effects of the new services on the population.

Study Team:

Principle Investigator: Anita Everett, MD
Chief Advisor and Research Consultant: William Eaton, PhD
Senior Research Project Coordinator: Katie Bonebrake, MA
Research Consultants: Gail Daumit, MD; Bernadette Cullen, MD, Peter Zandi, PhD
Clinical Team: Sharon Praissman, CRNP, Josie Daigle, MH Case Manager

 

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