Mental Health Research Track | NYU Langone Health

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Section for Health Equity Research Tracks Mental Health Research Track

Mental Health Research Track

The Section for Health Equity in NYU Langone’s Division of Health and Behavior features a Mental Health Research Track. Our researchers conduct community-based, culturally tailored studies to improve the mental health and wellbeing of ethnic minorities in New York City.

This track is led by Sahnah Lim, PhD, MPH, and Crystal F. Lewis, PhD, who also serves as the director for the Department of Social Solutions and Services Research at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and leads the Center for Research on Cultural and Structural Equity (CCASE). Collaboration with community partners, not-for-profit organizations, and other medical institutions is integral to developing and implementing our intervention initiatives.

Pilot Study of Mental Health Stigma in Korean Americans

In partnership with the NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health, CCASE, and Korean Community Services of Metro New York, Inc., we are conducting a pilot study to investigate stigma related to mental illness and other intersecting stigmas associated with race and ethnicity, social and economic conditions, and model minority status among Korean Americans in Queens. The goal of this pilot work is to develop a stigma-reducing intervention, increase uptake and engagement in mental health services, and reduce suicide ideation and attempts. In the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, this work has become an even higher priority and intervention development and additional grant seeking is underway.

Addressing Trauma Through Community and Peer Approaches in Faith-Based Settings: Creating Healthy Culture

This pilot study, led by Sahnah Lim, PhD, MPH, is testing the preliminary efficacy of a lay educator–led intervention to improve mental health in minority populations contending with trauma by increasing spiritual wellbeing in faith-based settings in the Bronx. The program is being developed and implemented by community partners, including Groundswell, The Network for Human Understanding, and Mekong NYC, and the curriculum involves 8 remote group sessions focused on spirituality and mental health. Participants come from about 10 religious institutions; the program is offered in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Cambodian. This research is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Role of Cultural Therapy in Addressing Colonial Trauma and Oppression Among Indigenous Filipinos

This study seeks to qualitatively understand the role of protective factors, in particular cultural therapy, in addressing colonial trauma and oppression among indigenous Filipinos. The study is led by Dr. Lim in collaboration with Kinding Sindaw, a New York City–based nonprofit dance theater company composed of indigenous tradition-bearers, Filipino American artists, and educators from all backgrounds. The mission of Kinding Sindaw is to assert, preserve, reclaim, and recreate the traditions of dance, music, martial arts, storytelling, and orature of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao, Southern Philippines. Approximately 30 key informant and in-depth interviews are being conducted.

Building Community Capacity for Disability Prevention for Minority Elders: The Positive Minds, Strong Bodies Project

The primary intervention of Positive Minds, Strong Bodies is a manualized and culturally adapted cognitive behavioral therapy combined with exercise in community-based settings. This evidence-based program is offered in Mandarin or Cantonese, English, and Spanish and is administered by community health workers and exercise trainers to ethnic minorities 60 years and older with moderate to severe depression and anxiety and at risk of disability.

This multisite study is being conducted in Boston, Miami, and New York City in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and is affiliated with the NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center. Chau Trinh-Shevrin, DrPH oversees the New York City site of the study. This project is being conducted in collaboration with researchers working on projects in the Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Track.

Chinese Adaption of Reach Out, Stay Strong, Essentials for Mothers of Newborns

Simona C. Kwon, DrPH, and Yi-Ling Tan, program manager, are conducting a formative assessment using an environmental scan and interviews with key stakeholders to determine how to adapt to Reach Out, Stay Strong, Essentials (ROSE) for Mothers of Newborns for clinics in the Chinese community in New York City. The ROSE parent project, called Together Growing Strong and funded by the Bezos Family Foundation, is currently used in women’s shelters.