Community Partners in Care, a research team looking at clinically depressed individuals in underserved communities, has been shortlisted for $20,000 in funding and on Tuesday urged supporters to vote online to ensure a win.

Ten community projects are finalists in the Helping U Help Your Community Contest sponsored by UCLA Health/David Geffen School of Medicine and Ashoka Changemakers. Each of five organizations receiving the highest number of online votes at www.changemakers.com/ucla before Friday will get the funding.

“While it’s an honor just to be nominated, winning this prize would help us ensure sustainability of the CPIC approach throughout L.A. County,” said Dr. Bowen Chung, an assistant professor-in-residence of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA.

Community Partners in Care is comprised of members of the RAND Corporation, UCLA, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and Healthy African American Families II.

Clinical depression is the largest cause of disability among American adults and correlates with unemployment and poverty, according to the researchers.

Black and Latino patients improve at five times the rates of whites who are offered equally high quality depression care, they said. However, many such patients have few options for care because the communities where they live have few to no primary care clinics.

CPIC’s 10 years of research has shown that distrust of outside providers, language barriers and stigma also contribute to a lack of treatment options.

To overcome those obstacles, the organization works with other residents, faith-based agencies and local business leaders — like the owners of barber shops or beauty salons — to reach those in need.

For example, a minister might identify a member of his congregation with symptoms of depression.

If CPIC wins the funding, it will develop training materials to roll out its collaborative approach throughout Los Angeles County.

City News Service

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