The Importance of Conducting Practice-oriented Research with Underserved Populations

Javier Fernández-Alvarez, Guadalupe Molinari, Ryan Kilcullen, Jaime Delgadillo, Rebecca Drill, Paula Errázuriz, Fredrik Falkenstrom, Nick Firth, Amber O’Shea, Clara Paz, Soo Jeong Youn, Louis G. Castonguay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There has been a growing emphasis on dissemination of empirically supported treatments. Dissemination, however, should not be restricted to treatment. It can and, in the spirit of the scientific-practitioner model, should also involve research. Because it focuses on the investigation of clinical routine as it takes place in local settings and because it can involve the collaboration of several stakeholders, practice-oriented research (POR) can be viewed as an optimal research method to be disseminated. POR has the potential of addressing particularly relevant gaps of knowledge and action when implemented in regions of the world that have limited resources for or experiences with empirical research, and/or in clinical settings that are serving clinical populations who are not typically receiving optimal mental care services - specifically, individuals in rural and inner cities that have limited economic and social resources. The establishment and maintenance of POR in such regions and/or settings, however, come with specific obstacles and challenges. Integrating the experiences acquired from research conducted in various continents (Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America), the goal of this paper is to describe some of these challenges, strategies that have been implemented to address them, as well as new possible directions to facilitate the creation and growth of POR. It also describes how these challenges and ways to deal with them can provide helpful lessons for already existing POR infrastructures.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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