Improving Health & Healthcare
People with psychosis are at a greater risk of dying at any given age than the general U.S. population, largely due to cardiovascular disease. Multiple complex and intersecting factors contribute to this premature mortality, including increased rates of poverty, unstable housing and poor health behaviors; adverse metabolic effects of antipsychotic medications; and poorer quality of medical care for chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes.
Our research projects aim to address critical gaps that contribute to these health and healthcare disparities.
Supporting Healthy Lifestyles
Healthy active lives should be supported as part of psychosis care, focusing on healthy high-quality diet, physical activity and reduced tobacco use. Lifestyle programs promote regular physical activity and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, typically in a group format. Effective programs have been tailored for people who have psychosis and who take antipsychotic medications, but these are often not accessible for people who would benefit from them.
Learn more about SPIRIT faculty research to support healthy lifestyles for people with psychosis.
People with psychosis are more than twice as likely as the general population to develop type 2 diabetes. Among people with diabetes, those who also have psychosis have higher rates of diabetes complications (such as neuropathy and kidney disease), heart attacks, strokes, and increased risk of mortality. Individuals who have both psychosis and diabetes must manage two chronic conditions and face unique challenges. Integrated care models have the potential to reduce barriers to care at the individual, provider and healthcare system level.
Learn more about SPIRIT faculty research to integrate care for people with psychosis and chronic medical illness.
January 20, 2017 — The multi-disciplinary diabetes team in the Adult Medicine Clinic at Harborview Medical Center who implemented a collaborative care model for patients with poorly controlled diabetes and serious mental illnesses in this safety net primary care clinic.
April 8, 2016 – Dr. Chwastiak presenting at the 2016 Innovations Fair sponsored by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Grand Challenges Canada at George Washington University
September 2015 – The INDEPENDENT study team at the annual investigators meeting in Chennai, India.