University-community mental health center collaboration: encouraging the dissemination of empirically-based treatment and practice

Community Ment Health J. 2010 Oct;46(5):417-22. doi: 10.1007/s10597-009-9250-3. Epub 2009 Oct 22.


Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) are valuable resources for urban youth and families across the nation. Community demands for high volumes of clinical service, however, often render these agencies without ability to fully evaluate provided services or conduct rigorous research with their target populations. This report asserts the importance of establishing effective collaborations between research-oriented universities and CMHCs in an effort to bridge the gap between empirically-based treatments and "real world" clinical practice. Furthermore, this report explains the establishment of a mutually informative and beneficial university-CMHC collaboration between the Disruptive Behavior Clinic at the University of Illinois-Chicago and the Community Mental Health Council (CMHC) on an evidence-based outpatient family therapy protocol for urban youth with behavior problems. Values and guidelines to facilitate evidence-based practice for fellow academic institutions are asserted. University-CMHC collaboration is an effective way to bring empirically-based practice to the "real world," front-line practice settings of community-based agencies that serve urban youth. Further research with regard to the maintenance and sustainability of these collaborations is suggested.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chicago
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Community Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods*
  • Family Therapy
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Social Environment
  • Universities*