Substance Abuse, Mental Health, and Health in Homeless Women in Primary Care

A collaboration with Drs. Linda Weinreb and Carole Upshur at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The NIAAA funded study will sample 750 women drawn from primary care clinics in 11 organizations that are members of the national Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Practice Based Research Network (PBRN), located in 9 states. Conducting the study in primary health care settings will result in reaching a broader sample of unstably housed women than using street or shelter populations, as well as is consistent with NIAAA, HSRA, and HUD priorities to improve the understanding of, and integration of, substance abuse and mental health prevention and treatment, in health care settings.

The study aims are: 1) Describe the prevalence and correlates of past year risky alcohol and drug use, and their co-morbidity with mental and physical health conditions, among homeless women receiving primary health care services in HCH programs; 2) Describe access to substance abuse treatment, among women in this sample with past year risky alcohol or drug use, including the rate and correlates of perceived barriers to, and motivation to seek, substance abuse treatment, and the acceptability and perceived helpfulness of having primary health care providers in HCH programs assist with these issues; and 3) Identify potentially innovative  approaches to prevent and treat substance abuse and mental health problems among women who seek primary health care in HCH programs.

Participating Sites

  • Care Alliance Health Center | Cleveland, OH
  • Care for the Homeless | New York City, NY
  • Charles Drew Health Center | Omaha, NE
  • Contra Costa Health Services | Martinez, CA
  • Duffy Health Center | Hyannis, MA
  • Healthcare for the Homeless – Houston | Houston, TX
  • Health Care for the Homeless Manchester | Manchester, NH
  • Mercy Medical Center Health Care for the Homeless | Springfield, MA
  • John Wesley Community Health (JWCH) Institute | Los Angeles, CA
  • Maricopa County Health Care for the Homeless Program | Phoenix, AZ
  • Saint Joseph’s Mercy Care Services | Atlanta, GA