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Heritage College partners with Athens Photographic Project on PCORI-funded effort to support mental health recovery research

(ATHENS, Ohio – June 8, 2015) – The Athens Photographic Project and the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine will be working together to learn more about the mental health recovery choices made by clients and their families in Southeast Ohio. A $15,000 award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will be used to build a partnership, called a patient-centered research community (PCRC), between clients, caregivers, researchers and mental health professionals. The Heritage College will assist with the development of the group, which aims to develop solutions that fill gaps in care and drive useful research.

“Our community is at a point where consumers, family members and caregivers hold a great deal of knowledge about what works in treatment and recovery within a rural, high-poverty area. The PCRC will give mental health stakeholders an opportunity to share their experiences and creative thinking,” said Nate Thomson, executive director of the Athens Photographic Project and project lead. “Our community has a rich history of working collaboratively to adapt treatment and recovery services to meet the changing needs and goals of individuals living with persistent mental health conditions in Southeast Ohio.”

These efforts are led by the Athens, Hocking, Vinton 317 Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board, which supports traditional treatment services; alternative treatment options such as the Athens Photographic Project; and the advocacy of the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Athens.

“By bringing together diverse perspectives, we hope the PCRC will play a key role in the development of consumer-led research studies that benefit the community. We also hope it will provide an opportunity for community members to learn from experts in the field,” said Kelly Nottingham, executive director of primary care research initiatives at the Heritage College and co-project lead.

“Our PCORI project will ensure that mental health consumers have a voice in research,” said Thomson. “I am very excited to see who will be attracted to working with us on the project and hope to foster candid conversations and learning experiences along the way.”

Funding for the project was provided through PCORI’s Pipeline to Proposal Awards program. Pipeline to Proposal Awards enable individuals and groups that are not typically involved in clinical research to develop the means to develop community-led funding proposals focused on patient-centered comparative effectiveness research. Established by the non-profit PCORI, the program funds three tiers of awards that help individuals or groups build community partnerships, develop research capacity, and hone a comparative effectiveness research question that could become the basis of a research funding proposal to submit to PCORI or other health research funders.

“We are pleased to partner with the Athens Photographic Project and help build more understanding about how rural communities can work together locally to develop highly effective treatment options and improve quality of life for Southeast Ohio residents who are coping with mental health issues,” said Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O.

The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine is a leader in training dedicated primary care physicians who are prepared to address the most pervasive medical needs in the state and the nation. Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio. CARE LEADS HERE.

The Athens Photographic Project is a nonprofit organization that for 15 years has used photography to foster recovery and community integration for Southeast Ohio residents living with mental illness.

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016