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PRCH Affiliates Awarded NIH Research Grant

November 03, 2022

Two affiliates of the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH) at Yale School of Medicine have been awarded a research grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The grant, “Adaptation and Implementation of Peer Support to Optimize Engagement and Outcomes for People with Serious Mental Illness in Campinas, Brazil,” was awarded to Maria O’Connell, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, and Chyrell Bellamy, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of PRCH.

O’Connell and Bellamy will collaborate on the grant with Rosana Onocko Campos, PhD, from Departamento de Saúde Coletiva | Departamentos FCM (, Interfaces Research Group Brazil.

The three-year, $700,993 grant aims to work with people with lived experience in Campinas, Brazil on the cultural adaptation of an evidence-based peer intervention targeting connections with a peer as a mediator of engagement in post-acute mental and physical healthcare; to employ an experimental therapeutics approach in determining the degree to which multi-level targets are engaged in the pathway improved outcomes through a pilot clinical trial; and to assess the feasibility, acceptability, safety, tolerability, and potential for dissemination of the adapted peer intervention at multiple levels.

This international study hypothesizes that the successful adaptation and implementation of an evidence-based model of peer support to Brazilian culture will contribute to enhanced levels of engagement, improved continuity of care, and improvements in quality of life and wellbeing among persons living with mental illness in Brazil.

After the study, the researchers will have established the feasibility, acceptability, safety and tolerability of adapting a low-cost, culturally responsive, evidence-based intervention to improve post-acute supports for people with mental illness who access community mental health treatment.

“Yale PRCH is looking forward to working with UNICAMP in Brazil to make this initiative work for the people it intends to serve,” Bellamy said. “While there have been implementation of peer supports in Latinx countries, there’s much work that needs to be done and it begins by listening and partnering with communities to adapt to the culture and to the service needs of the community to ensure successful implementation and sustainment.”

The Yale and UNICAMP research team includes Mark Costa, MD, MPH; Carlos Treichel, PhD; Graziela Reis, MPH; Kimberly Guy; and Heather McDonald Bellamy, M.Ed.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on November 03, 2022