Devlon Jackson Receives NIH Grant to Study How Digital Health Tools can Improve Care Coordination
February 24, 2020

Devlon Jackson, assistant research professor of behavioral and community health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, received an Investigator Diversity Research Supplement grant to explore how Health Information Technology (HIT) can improve health for African Americans and Hispanics living with mental health issues and chronic diseases. 

The $250,000 grant from the NIH-National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, will allow Dr. Jackson to assess how digital health tools can address health communication inequalities at the consumer- and provider-level. Dr. Jackson will also conduct key-informant interviews with recipients of HIT grants awarded through the Maryland Health Care Commission.

This grant builds upon and extends the research aims of the parent R01 grant to Health Policy and Management (HPM) Associate Professor Jie Chen, Effects of Hospital-Community-Public Health Integration on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health. Dr. Chen and HPM Professor Stephen B. Thomas serve as mentors for Dr. Jackson.

According to Dr. Jackson, HIT presents an opportunity to enhance care coordination between hospitals and behavioral healthcare providers. However, the inequity in resources to support HIT implementation between these two sectors makes it so communities of color are more likely than their white counterparts to suffer from mental illness and physical chronic health conditions. 

“Research has not assessed the association between community-based HIT implementation and hospital use among persons living with mental illness, as well as determine if there are any racial-ethnic differences,” Dr. Jackson said. 

Dr. Jackson’s research aims to identify gaps in HIT implementation and will provide a roadmap for refining care coordination among hospitals and local public health agencies. 

With Professor Cynthia Baur, director of the university’s Horowitz Center for Health Literacy, Dr. Jackson is part of a team developing the “Healthy Me/Mi Salud” Smartphone Application funded by the NIH-National Library of Medicine.

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Devlon N. Jackson, Jie Chen, Stephen B. Thomas, Cynthia Baur