Two Texas medical schools and one nonprofit organization will receive grants to strengthen integrated health care programs that take a coordinated approach to address mental health. The grants, which total more than $1 million, aim to eliminate disparities by addressing the social determinants of mental health. They reflect the foundation’s growing interest in community-level factors that influence individual mental health and wellness, as well as build upon the foundation’s work in advancing integrated health care in Texas.

Social determinants of mental health refers to the variety of social and cultural factors—such as geography, income, access to transportation, health literacy, race/ethnicity, and language—that both affect and are affected by mental health. There is evidence that integrated health care approaches, which treat both body and mind in a coordinated way, is more effective than standard care in eliminating health disparities.

“It’s common for funders to talk about the social determinants of mental health, but there remains a pressing need to use dollars to address this in a strategic way,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation. “For us it’s important that medical schools, who are producing the next generation of health care professionals, do their part to improve health equity.”

The grant awardees are:

  • Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin ($440,000) – To develop a team-based learning curriculum that engages students from across disciplines in the best practices of integrating mental health care, and to embed into that training an increased focus on cultural variables that contribute to health disparities.
  • University of Incarnate Word School of Medicine ($407,000) – To develop an integrated population health program utilizing a team of health care medical students and clinicians in clinical, home-based and school settings. Students will engage family members and schools to address mental health and chronic disease to improve overall well-being.
  • Mental Health America of Greater Houston ($180,000) – To coordinate a community of practice that fosters shared learning and collaboration among the other two grantees and their partners, to support planning and implementation, coordination of technical assistance, and to document efforts and successes that can be shared with others to further develop a workforce trained to practice integrated health care with a focus on social determinants of mental health.

Photo Credit: Province of British Columbia