Building Capacity for Stakeholder Engagement in the MHRN

Grant Details

Funder: PCORI

Grant Number

Grant Period: 4/1/2018 – 3/31/2020


Background: The Mental Health Research Network (MHRN) is designed to apply the learning health system model to 13 health systems that serve approximately 12.5 million patients across 15 states (17 percent of whom have a mental health condition). Without robust engagement of patients, caregivers, and families, and the community and advocacy groups who represent them, researchers may not be addressing the most meaningful research to patients.

Proposed Solution to the Problem: The project team will develop a patient-engaged research infrastructure at both the national and local health system levels. The national health systems engagement strategy will support a governance structure to integrate patient stakeholders into the MHRN executive leadership team. The local health system engagement strategy will employ a PCORI-funded stakeholder engagement model. It was developed by the Henry Ford Health System for patient-engaged research within health systems—in one MHRN health system as a model to be spread to other health systems in the MHRN.


  • Add the patient, caregiver, and family stakeholder voice and the community and advocacy groups who represent them to the national MHRN executive leadership team to develop a shared direction for the network and a shared national voice for mental health comparative effectiveness research (CER)
  • Develop and pilot a strategy for stakeholder engagement within one MHRN-affiliated health system and the communities it serves to identify priorities for mental health CER
  • Develop at least one research question using the processes above

Activities: The proposed national health systems engagement strategy will train and engage a small group of patient stakeholders who will be integrated into the MHRN steering committee as the stakeholder collaborative advisory panel and the local health system engagement strategy will pilot the flexible engagement strategy created by Henry Ford Health System in one MHRN health system.

Outcomes/Outputs: The projected outcomes/outputs for the proposed study are as follows:

  • At least one fully-developed mental health research question
  • Training curricula for co-learning for both stakeholders and investigators
  • Adaptation of partner participatory research models to a single MHRN health system that can be disseminated throughout all MHRN health systems
  • National engagement processes to obtain patient and other stakeholder input for research ideas, study design, and materials.

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: In addition to the PCORI Engagement Rubric, the project team will use the community-based participatory research (CBPR) framework to: recognize patient partners and their caregivers and families as a unit of identity; involve them in research done by the MHRN from development of the questions to dissemination of the results; and promote co-learning and empowerment among patients and other stakeholders.

Lead Site: KPSC (PI Karen Coleman)

Participating Site: HFHS (Co-I Karen Kippen)

Current Status

Summary of Findings