MHRN aims to address questions relevant to people who live with mental health conditions, clinicians, health system leaders, and policy makers. We believe that the priorities and preferences of all stakeholders – and especially those of people living with mental health conditions – should guide our development of research infrastructure and selection of research questions. True stakeholder engagement must happen “upstream” when research questions are selected – and not be limited to “downstream” decisions about how to answer questions that researchers have already selected. MHRN stakeholder engagement includes:
- Patient representation in governance – Patient/consumer stakeholders participate as full voting members of the MHRN steering committee, participating in regular steering committee meetings, strategic planning discussions, and decision-making regarding selection of pilot-feasibility projects and allocation of network resources. Incorporation of patient stakeholders into the MHRN steering committee was supported by an Engagement Award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. These representatives have undergone an application process that is designed to identify those with lived experience with mental health conditions who value application of their experience to contribute specifically to the strategic decision-making and resource allocation for MHRN activities.
- External Stakeholder Advisory Panel – An advisory panel including health system leaders, university-based mental health researchers, and policy makers meets three times each year to review MHRN projects, advise regarding potential projects, and advise regarding new collaborative relationships.
- Local health system engagement – In each MHRN health system, investigators engage regularly with health plan and medical group leaders regarding research priorities, data infrastructure, and potential new research projects.