Research News

Community-campus partnership to strengthen mental health services for Latinx community

November 13, 2019

A project led by UW-Madison's Stephen Quintana that's designed to strengthen mental health services for Madison’s Latinx community is receiving a $1 million grant over the next five years from the Wisconsin Partnership Program.

“The grant addresses ethnic and racial disparities in access to culturally and linguistically competent mental health services by Spanish-speaking and bilingual members of Latinx communities,” says Quintana, a professor and chair of the School of Education’s Department of Counseling Psychology. “Nationally and in Wisconsin, the limited access to mental health services comes at a time when Latinx communities are facing increased stress due to rises in hate crimes and violence perpetrated toward immigrant and Latinx communities.”  

Steve Quintana
The Community Impact Grant awarded to Centro Hispano of Dane County and its academic and community partners will advance the quality of accessible linguistically and culturally competent services that support the health of the local Latinx community. This project will also help increase the number of trained professionals to serve Latinx communities through a partnership with the graduate psychology and counseling programs in the School of Education, specifically for native Spanish speakers.

The partnership grant provides support to recruit and then train graduate students to deliver mental health services with bicultural and bilingual (Spanish-English) fluency.  The few graduate programs that currently offer this deep level of preparation are in regions with large Latinx populations, such as California, Florida, and Texas. UW–Madison will be the first to provide this innovative training in a region where the Latinx community finds itself in relative linguistic, cultural, and ethnic isolation.  

The new program will be contextualized within community needs and will address the public health need for a sufficient and capable workforce through the training and supervision of Spanish-speaking Latinx graduate students in the School of Education’s departments of Counseling Psychology, Educational Psychology, and Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education

The community-university partnership will also support the expansion of community programs, bi-directional training, and evaluation that is respectful of community wellness and well-being.

This project is one of six that received a 2019 Community Impact Grant award from the Wisconsin Partnership Program within the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. This program is committed to improving the health of Wisconsin residents through investments in research, education, and community partnerships.

The Partnership Program was established in 2004 with funds from the conversion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin to a for-profit corporation. To date, the Program has awarded 491 research, education, and community grants totaling more than $230 million. All of these initiatives are working to improve health and health equity across Wisconsin. These grants support cross-sector collaborations that are addressing a broad range of issues that impact community health.