• Associations between multi-level contextual factors and mental health service utilization in adolescents with comorbid depression and substance-use: Moderating role of school connectedness on racial/ethnic disparities in service utilization

      Thornton, Kate; Georgia State University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2017)
      Background: Comorbid depression and substance use has been a prevalent issue in adolescent health. Although rates have remained relatively stable, their level is still alarming and efforts to see a decrease have led leaders and organizations to call for research to better understand factors related to both depression and substance use as well as how these factors may change when these disorders occur together. Methods: Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) were utilized to pursue the research objectives for this study. The NSDUH is an ongoing cross-sectional survey of the civilian and non-institutionalized population of the United States. Multi-level logistic regression procedures were used to determine the relationship between mental health care utilization and research variables in adolescents with comorbid depression and substance-use. Results: Multi-level modeling showed that the model that controlled for individual-level and family-level factors was able to best predict mental health care use (model 4, -2LL=945,303, p << 0.001). In addition, school attachment was shown to be positively associated with mental health care use in all models tested, including the best-fit model selected (OR=2.18;(95% CI 2.13, 2.22). Other contextual factors that were significantly associated with mental health care use were gender (OR=1.92;95% CI 1.88, 1.94), parental attachment (OR=1.72; 95% CI 1.70, 1.74), and poverty (OR=1.59; 95% CI 1.58, 1.62). In addition, the school attachment and race/ethnicity interaction term was found to be significant with an odds ratio of 3.02 (95% CI 2.96, 3.22). Conclusions: This research has shown the importance of contextual factors, specifically the school environment, on the service use of comorbid adolescents. Particularly interesting in the world of mental health promotion is the use of schools as key coordinators in providing specialty mental health services to adolescents, especially for those who suffer from service use disparities.
    • Screening for developmental delay in Georgia's family shelters: Formative evaluation of a quality improvement initiative

      So, Marvin; Agbayani, Luistita; Gutierrez, Mariel; Griffins, Josef; Emory University; Atlanta Children's Shelter; Greenbriar Children's Shelter; Interfaith Hospitality Network (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Children in families experiencing homelessness are at elevated risk for cognitive, motor, speech, and other developmental delays. Given the prevalence of family homelessness in Georgia and across the U.S., investigating the feasibility of implementing developmental screeners while families are in shelters is warranted. Methods: Three pilot shelters were selected for the development and implementation of Quality Improvement (QI) Teams, who used Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Cycles to make progress towards universally screening children for delay. We employed a formative evaluation to (1) characterize screening rates and shifts in shelter as a result of QI initiatives, and (2) identify barriers and facilitators to implementing QI interventions in family shelters. Results: Screening rates in all three shelters increased over the study period between 13-50%. Primary implementation facilitators included team members with experience in QI principles; having a medical provider on the team; possessing an “improvement culture;” and having diverse perspectives represented. Primary barriers included a lack of time or commitment in QI team leaders; medical providers with limited time in shelter; lack of training on how to represent and discuss QI data; and restrictive organizational policies. Conclusions: Family shelters demonstrate promise for implementing developmental screeners for at-risk children. Although challenges have been identified, facilitating factors are prevalent and underscore the importance of QI team preparation, composition, and cohesion. The relative availability, low-cost, and potential for impact of developmental screeners offer credence to their uptake and implementation within shelter clinical contexts.