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Getting mental health research into the field sooner

by University News Service

From eNews, January 22, 2004

On average, it takes 15 years to get the latest mental health research from the laboratory and into the hands of professionals working in local communities. But, thanks to the U's new Center of Excellence in Children's Mental Health that will launch next week, that should soon change. The center is a virtual entity made up of researchers, mental health professionals, and community members who are focused on the emotional health and well-being of Minnesota children. "One of the center's main objectives is to promote the kind of dialogue that gets research into the field," says Yvonne Godber, educational psychology instructor and center coordinator. The center will sponsor regular discussions and events and serve as a resource, pulling together research from around the nation related to youth mental health. Currently, research at academic institutions takes a long time to reach health care providers and the public because it is so widespread, says Godber. Through the center, the U hopes to connect researchers with their peers who are conducting related studies and with people working directly in the mental health profession. The latter group can give the researchers a better sense of mental health services that work, she adds. Susan Hagstrum, who served in leadership positions in K-12 education for 27 years and provides leadership consulting to nonprofit organizations, will chair the center's steering committee. Hagstrum is also Bruininks's wife. The center is an important action step in the President's Initiative on Children, Youth, and Families, which aims to focus University resources, including its faculty expertise and research, on issues facing children, youth, and families. The U's Children, Youth, and Family Consortium will oversee the center. The January 30 event to launch the center is free and open to the public, but it's geared toward researchers, policy makers, and professionals working on issues related to youth mental health. The event will be held at 1 p.m. in Black Bear Crossings on the Lake Pavilion Place Meeting Center in St. Paul. To reserve a place, e-mail cmh@umn.edu or call 612-625-9070. To learn more about the Center of Excellence in Children's Mental Health, see http://www.cyfc.umn.edu/features/kickoff.pdf. For information about the President's Initiative on Children, Youth, and Families, http://www.umn.edu/pres/cyf.html.

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