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Evaluating a community-based participatory research project for elderly mental healthcare in rural America

Authors Blevins D, Morton B, McGovern R

Published 12 September 2008 Volume 2008:3(3) Pages 535—545


Dean Blevins1,2,3, Bridget Morton4, Rene McGovern5,6

1South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (SC-MIRECC), Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System; 2University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; 3University of Phoenix, Little Rock Campus, Little Rock, AR; 4Northeast Missouri Health Network, Kirksville, MO; 5A.T. Still University/Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kirksville, MO; 6Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Abstract: The purpose of this evaluation was to explore the collaborative nature of partners in a rural mental health program for the elderly, and to test an adapted method of assessing the collaborative process. Sixteen collaborative partners were interviewed to explore ratings of collaboration across 6 domains identified as critical to participatory research. Results indicate that the context of rural Missouri and uniqueness of the program necessitated an approach to collaboration that began with a top-down approach, but greater community responsibility developed over time. Partners recognized the efforts of the program’s directors to seek input. Most were satisfied with their roles and the degree of success achieved by the program, although several wanted to have more input in the future in some domains, but not in others. Interviews revealed numerous barriers to achieving sustainability. Methods to improve the assessment of collaboration are discussed and areas for improvement are offered.

Keywords: community-based participatory research, elderly, mental health, older adults, rural

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