Peer navigators and integrated care to address ethnic health disparities of people with serious mental illness

Soc Work Public Health. 2014;29(6):581-93. doi: 10.1080/19371918.2014.893854.


People of color with serious mental illnesses experience high rates of morbidity and mortality. Patient navigators, developed for cancer care, may help this group benefit from integrated care. This review examined patient navigators' key ingredients for cancer care for relevance to patients of color for application of peer services to psychiatric goals. Among cancer patients, navigators lead to greater treatment engagement and improved health outcomes for ethnic minority groups. Research also suggests peers can improve integrated care by providing effective psychiatric services to individuals with mental illness. Ongoing research examines peer navigators' impact on integrated care for patients of color.

Keywords: Patient navigation; integrated care; mental illness; primary health care delivery; racial and ethnic groups; treatment barriers.

MeSH terms

  • Crime
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Homeless Persons
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / ethnology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Patient Navigation*
  • Peer Group*
  • Poverty
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Unemployment