If You Build It, Will they Come? Closing the Mental Health Treatment Gap for Latinos

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Venue:AHC4, Room 402

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Mental disorders are commonly occurring and major drivers of suffering, disability, health care costs, and disease burden. To compound this problem, most of the individuals who suffer from mental disorders and who are in need of treatment remain untreated although effective treatments are available. Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola will examine the extent of this treatment gap in ethnically and racially diverse populations in the United States. He will present examples of how treatment gap data is being translated into policy and services in a way that addresses the unmet mental health needs of underserved populations at state and local levels. The presentation will conclude with a demonstration from a local example of how communities, CBOs, and counties are coming together to build partnerships, make joint decisions and achieve system of care transformation that hopefully will lead to the reduction of mental health disparities in underserved populations.

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, Ph.D. is Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis. He is the Founding Director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, the Director of the Community Engagement Program of the UCD Clinical Translational Science Center, and the co-Director of the UC Davis Latino Aging Research and Resource Center. He was a member of NIMH’s National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC) (2003-2007) and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mental Health America (2008-2010). Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola is currently a board member of the Steering Committee and Research Scientist member of the National Hispanic Science Network, a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Autism Speaks, a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Carlos Slim Health Institute, the Treasurer of the Board of the Latino Physicians of California, and First Vice President of NAMI California.

Dr. Aguilar-Glaxiola has held several World Health Organization (WHO) advisory board and consulting positions and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the WHO’s World Mental Health Surveys Consortium and its Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola is the author of over 120 scientific publications and is the recipient of multiple awards including the DHHS' Office of Minority Health's 2005 National Minority Health Community Leader Award (Hispanic Community) and the 2012-2013 UC Davis Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community in the Academic Senate category.