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Translational Research: Bridging Basic and Applied Perspectives

Meeting Summary
Rockville, Maryland

In May 2006, the Division of AIDS and Health and Behavior Research (DAHBR) sponsored this two-day meeting in Rockville, Maryland with the purpose of bringing together scientists whose work has focused on prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination, stigma, and related areas to assist NIMH in identifying (1) the most exciting and timely possibilities for translation and integration across basic and applied approaches, (2) the greatest gaps in knowledge, (3) barriers to conducting this kind of translational research, and (4) ways to overcome these barriers. The meeting was jointly planned and co-chaired by Jennifer Crocker, University of Michigan; Bernice Pescosolido, Indiana University; and Emeline Otey, DAHBR.

The impetus for this meeting came from the convergence of recommendations from Federal advisory groups. Reports from two National Advisory Mental Health Council workgroups — the Behavioral Science Workgroup's "Translating Behavioral Science into Action" and the Workgroup on Basic Sciences' "Setting Priorities for Basic Brain and Behavioral Science Research at NIMH" — both identified prejudice and stereotyping as highly productive areas of research that are now ripe for a shift in focus to addressing issues of concern to individuals with mental disorders, their families, and their providers. Another report, "Transforming Mental Health Care in America - The Federal Action Agenda: First Steps," is the most recent in a series of compelling reports conveying the urgency of mental health care needs in 21st century America. This report also underscores findings from the earlier Surgeon General's Report on Mental Illness and the White House Conference on Mental Health that the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and its treatment have substantial negative impact on the lives of individuals, families, and communities, and must be addressed. The converging recommendations from these two lines of reports suggest the opportunity for bringing basic behavioral and social science theories, approaches, and findings on prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination to bear on efforts to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.

For more information, please contact Dr. Emeline Otey.