University of North Texas Health Science Center
Raquel Qualls-Hampton, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. She received her MS in statistics from Southern Illinois University and her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Qualls-Hampton’s areas of expertise include survey design and implementation, data collection and entry, database construction, sampling, psychometrics, and statistical analysis. She has over fifteen years of experience teaching epidemiology, mathematics, and survey methodology. As a Cancer Research Epidemiologist for the Illinois Department of Public Health, she conducted small area breast and cervical cancer analysis for local health departments using data from the the Illinois State Cancer Registry, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and SEER. Dr. Qualls-Hampton also has collaborated with Catholic Charities and St. Joseph Health Care Trust to conduct a formative evaluation of health care needs of parishioners in Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas.
More than nine percent of adolescents reported illicit drug use in 2008; studies estimate 50 to 80 percent of these adolescents have a co-occurring psychiatric disorder with substance abuse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests an integrated treatment strategy for comorbid psychiatric disorders. Advancements have been made in the development and testing of innovative treatments; however, a lack of synthesis of these strategies and outcomes effectiveness leaves practitioners wondering which evidence-based practices should be applied, particularly for low-income and racial/ethnic minority populations. The primary objective of this research project is to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of integrative strategies in adolescent populations seeking comorbid substance abuse and mental health care. This systematic review will answer the following research question: Do integrative therapies influence treatment outcomes in adolescents with comorbid substance abuse and mental health? The conceptual framework is based on the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) Stages of Change model. For substance abuse, this conceptual model implies that treatment should be stage-appropriate which to achieve better outcomes. This systematic review will provide an exhaustive and comprehensive examination of evidence-based integrative therapies, reveal patterns of application of therapies and uncover resulting treatment-related outcomes. The results from this study will validate practitioners’ current choice of integrative therapies, present new evidence-based modalities for vulnerable subgroups and uncover usage trends of particular therapies over time. Moreover, this synthesis will help to refocus new research efforts towards key areas such as health disparities research, translation and dissemination.
My New Connections Experience
The lack of appropriate mentoring and access to research collaborators are the primary barriers to success for junior investigators from ethnic or disadvantaged backgrounds. To increase the odds of personal success in academia and health research, I realized the need to associate and align myself with a group whose primary goal is to mentor, support, guide and advise junior investigators, like myself. A fellow minority senior researcher introduced this fabulous opportunity to me. I am much honored to be chosen as a finalist recommended for funding for the RWJF New Connections Junior Investigator award. This venue will be a wonderful opportunity to improve my research skills (through training activities), meet with accomplished researchers, and discover other research activities supported through RWJF while asking relevant questions along the way.
My experiences as an underrepresented researcher have prompted me to pursue avenues that offer more exposure to research and the impact it has on populations’ of which I am also a member. I chose MENTAL HEALTH as my overarching research agenda because I want to expose health inequity, particularly improper diagnosis, lack of culturally sensitive therapies, and associated stigma for minority populations. I am also interested in specific sub-areas of mental health such as substance abuse and co-morbid mental health conditions, anxiety and depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. I am also interested in the use of COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE (CAM). Historical uses of complementary and alternative medicine and therapies (CAM) date back 5,000 years. Today, CAM, also known as INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE, is frequently used to treat substance abuse, behavioral and mental illnesses, where Western medicine has not been successful alone. I am interested in the use of CAM in minority populations to treat mental illness and/or substance abuse, especially in women.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2010
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Vulnerable Populations
- Project Name: A systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of integrative strategies for adolescents with co-morbid substance use and mental health issues