New PolicyLab Pilot Grant Project Awardees

Earlier this year [6], we introduced our new pilot grant program, in collaboration with our sister center the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness [7] (CPCE), to support Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) researchers in conducting clinical effectiveness or policy-oriented health services research. We also announced our first three PolicyLab awardees and their innovative one-year projects in January, which you can read more about by visiting the new pilot grant page [8] on our website.

Today, we are excited to reveal our two new PolicyLab awarded projects, which will begin this month!

1) Evidence-based Psychotherapy in Integrated Primary Care

Did you know that nearly 20% of children and adolescents have a psychiatric disorder at any one time [9]? Unfortunately, most youth with mental health disorders will never get to a specialty mental health clinic for treatment, but, on the bright side, a majority of youth do see a primary care provider annually, and we know that primary care provides an access point for identifying and treating pediatric mental health issues.

Integrated behavioral health (IBH) [10] in primary care settings has been promoted throughout the U.S., yet there has been relatively little work evaluating how IBH impacts treatment outcomes, particularly among youth. Luckily, a recently developed treatment, FIRST, derived from components of evidence-based psychotherapies, appears well-suited to IBH.

With this in mind, PolicyLab researchers Drs. Jennifer Mautone [11] and Jami Young [12] plan to test the feasibility and acceptability of FIRST when delivered at Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids [13]—an IBH program at CHOP. The findings from this study can have important public health implications for investing in interventions like FIRST and ensuring that they are available to youth where they are most likely to receive services.

2) Toward Understanding the Political Determinants of Health: An Analysis of the Impacts of Sanctuary Immigration Policies on Latinx Birth Outcomes

Immigration policies significantly affect many families in the U.S., yet little is known about the consequences of these policies for child health. Some communities have set up sanctuary cities/areas, which limit local law enforcement collaboration with federal immigration enforcement, but we've yet to fully understand how this policy may provide protective health benefits to residents, particularly those at greatest risk of detention and/or deportation.

In response, PolicyLab researchers Drs. Diana Montoya-Williams [14] and Katherine Yun [15] are collaborating with Dr. Robin Ortiz [16] to map and describe sanctuary areas as they relate to Latinx communities and assess whether they are associated with improved birth outcomes—such as lower rates of preterm births and low birth weight—in Latina women. The researchers hope that findings from this study will inform immigration policy at local and national levels and provide innovative geocoded database tools and an agenda for future research aimed at evaluating the links between immigration policy and population health. These findings, in turn, can contribute to understanding immigration and immigration status as a social, but also political, determinant of health.  

A big congratulations to our wonderful researchers—we are very excited to learn what they discover through their pilot grant projects. We will have more details to share in regards to these two new research projects soon on our new pilot grant landing page on the PolicyLab website. Be sure to also visit CPCE’s website [17] to read about their newly awarded projects.