Raquel Qualls-Hampton, PhD, MS, assistant Epidemiology professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s (UNTHSC) School of Public Health, has been selected as one of eight recipients for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) grant funding on the New Connections (NC) Program, Vulnerable Populations Team, to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of integrative strategies for adolescents with comorbid substance use and mental health issues.
In 2008, more than nine percent of adolescents reported using illicit drugs, and studies estimate that 50 to 80 percent of these young people also have a psychiatric disorder. While innovative integrated treatment for both the drug use and the psychiatric disorders seem to be the answer, practitioners need reliable research findings to determine which practices are the most effective, particularly for low-income and minority adolescents.
Through this RWJF grant, Dr. Qualls-Hampton aims to review and analyze the effectiveness of these integrative treatments to determine if they influence treatment results.
The results from this 24-month, New Connections study should provide practitioners with guidance on the most effective integrative therapies for affected adolescents. Identification of effective integrative therapies is important; however, from clinical, access and policy perspectives, Dr. Qualls-Hampton believes that integrative therapies will be proven effective and become accessible, particularly for the vulnerable populations in critical need of these services.
New Connections is a national program designed to introduce new scholars to RWJF and expand the diversity of perspectives that inform the foundation’s programming. New Connections seeks early- to mid-career scholars who are historically underrepresented ethnic or racial minorities, first-generation college graduates, and individuals from low-income communities.
“I am extremely proud to be among the junior investigators honored with this prestigious grant,” says Dr. Qualls-Hampton. “This award will connect me to a network of established experts in research and evaluation related to health and health care, while providing me with an opportunity to evaluate a program that has far-reaching implications for adolescents with comorbid substance use and mental health conditions.”