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PhD Student Curlee Submits NIH NRSA Application

Friday, April 14, 2017

Kudos to PhD student Vanessa Curlee and her sponsor Beth Merwin for the submission of her NIH NRSA application entitled "Depression, Substance Abuse, and Health Care Utilization among US Probationers and Parolees within 12 Months Post-release." This proposal requests funds for a two-year period with a start date of September 1.

Abstract: Rates of depression in US parolees and probationers range from 9-40%, and depression is the most commonly co-occurring mental health disorder in those with substance use disorders. Depression and psychological distress are barriers to community re-integration, and contribute to risk taking behaviors, substance use relapse, and recidivism. However, rehabilitative reentry efforts typically focus on substance use treatment alone, resulting in unmet mental health treatment needs. About 40% of all US ex-offenders recidivate within one year, and correctional spending is individual state’s second largest expenditure after Medicaid. Isolated studies indicate differences in depression rates among US parolees and probationers by gender, race, and ethnicity, but national estimates are limited. An understanding of the gender, racial, and ethnic disparities in behavioral health among US parolees and probationers is integral to informing a population-based health approach that allows for strategic resource planning, and service design for the dual-integrative treatment of co-occurring MH and SUDs. This will inform targeted and tailored interventions, and improve equity in access and treatment for BH disorders among the numerous health disparity populations disproportionately represented among US parolees and probationers.