Behavioral Health Integration in Primary Care Setting: Lesson learned from adopting the Cherokee Model in New Jersey Practices. 

Rebecca Klege (PI), Ann Nguyen (PI) 

Evidence suggests that behavioral health integration (BHI) into primary care settings is essential for providing and expanding care to patients suffering from mental conditions, substance use disorders, and lifestyle changes related to chronic medical conditions. Through the Nicholson Foundation, which awarded grants to New Jersey health organizations from 2002-2021, eleven primary care centers were funded to implement the Cherokee Health Systems’ model of integrated care in New Jersey. While the Cherokee BHI model is one of the few integration models that has been applauded for its many strengths, implementing the model across various states and demography can yield varied results and experiences. The study aims to explore the effectiveness and challenges of implementing the Cherokee integrated care model in New Jersey (NJ) health centers.   

Working Alliance Inventory (WAI) Assessment in a Federally Qualified Health Center: The Role of Feedback and Peer Recovery Specialist. 

Rebecca Klege (PI), Lee Rus and Ivy Pearlstein (Co-PIs) 

The therapeutic relationship between patients and providers is a vital element for successful care outcomes and can affect the adherence to treatment plans. The Working Alliance Inventory (WAI) is a standard assessment tool that is widely accepted in health care to evaluate therapeutic relationships. This quasi-experimental study broadly aims to assess the patient-provider bond by adopting the WAI in a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program at Henry J Austin Health Center. 

An Examination of Primary Care Provider Referral Patterns: Assessing the Impact of The  Covid-19 Pandemic on Long term Patient Outcomes. 

Ronald Jean (PI) 

Specialty referrals are important for patient diagnostics and treatment, delays in diagnosis are likely to be associated with worse outcomes and higher costs. Additionally, referrals may be generated by PCP’s attempting to reduce the risk of malpractice. This action is described as defensive medicine which involves medical practice by way of diagnosing or treatment that is specifically applied to reduce the risk of malpractice litigation, typically by the use of excessive testing or referrals. The study aims to determine the difference between referral rates among primary care physicians (PCP) at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) during and post Covid-19 pandemic. 

 Development and Implementation of Innovative Interventions that Effectively Address Health Disparities. (Bristol Myers Squibb)  

Kemi Alli (PI), Rebecca Klege  (Co- PI)  

The chronic disease burden in Trenton is disproportionately high relative to county, state, and national levels, particularly for members of disadvantaged BIPOC communities. Each year HJAHC sees thousands of patients annually for a myriad of chronic conditions while many more residents battling chronic illness simply go untreated. Chief among these chronic diseases are Hypertension, Cancer, Obesity and Diabetes. This project aims to establish HJAHC as a clinical research hub in Trenton by tackling these pressing health disparities. The project also aims to implement a training curriculum designed to educate and engage HJAHC teams, including patients, clinical and administrative staff, in Patient-Centered Outcome Research.