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Adm Policy Ment Health. 2012 Jul;39(4):321-6. doi: 10.1007/s10488-011-0399-z.

Connecting science and practice in child and adolescent mental health services research.

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Division of Services and Intervention Research, National Institute of Mental Health, 6001 Executive Blvd, Room 7164, Bethesda, MD 20892-9631, USA.


Collaboration between researchers and stakeholder groups is a potentially powerful mechanism for strengthening the quality of mental health research and for amplifying its public health impact. For stakeholders, collaboration offers opportunities to help shape research questions; participate in data collection and interpretation; and improve local capacity to access and use research findings. For researchers, collaboration can build understanding of what stakeholders want and need from research; enhance capacity to frame research questions and findings in language and metrics of value to stakeholders; and provide opportunities to contribute science-backed knowledge to decision-making processes in real world settings. Key stakeholder groups can include the recipients and providers of care, public and private care systems, health plans, schools, family service and faith-based organizations, correctional systems, and employers providing mental health benefits. This commentary reflects on the path that NIMH has taken in fostering researcher-stakeholder collaboration, particularly regarding child and adolescent mental health research. It describes the goals that NIMH set out to achieve, steps taken to realize those goals, lessons learned from those efforts, and possible next steps.

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