From documenting to eliminating disparities in mental health care for Latinos

  • López S
  • Barrio C
  • Kopelowicz A
 et al. 
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The U.S. Surgeon General's report Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity--A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001) identified significant disparities in mental health care for Latinos and recommended directions for future research and mental health services. We update that report by reviewing five groundbreaking research projects on the mental health of Latinos that were published since 2001. National studies of adults and children, longitudinal designs, and analyses of Latino subgroups characterize these investigations. Despite the increasing sophistication of disparities research, these landmark studies, as well as the research in the supplemental report, can be characterized as documenting disparities in care. We argue that the next wave of research should give greater attention to reducing and eliminating disparities. Accordingly, we apply Rogler and Cortes's (1993) framework of pathways to care to the study of Latinos with schizophrenia. Specifically, we draw on research regarding the recognition of illness, social networks (families) and their association with the course of illness, and interventions. We illustrate examples at each pathway that have the potential to reduce disparities. We argue that implementing interventions synchronously across multiple pathways has considerable potential to reduce and eventually eliminate disparities in mental health care.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Disparities
  • Latinos
  • Mental health care
  • Schizophrenia

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  • Steven R. López

  • Concepcion Barrio

  • Alex Kopelowicz

  • William A. Vega

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