Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

Enhancing Shared Decision-Making Among Young Adults with Serious Mental Illness

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

April 30, 2021





In Progress



For NYHealth, health equity is achieved when all people have the opportunities and resources they need to be as healthy as possible and no one is disadvantaged.

But in practice, patients—particularly people of color—are often marginalized rather than placed at the center of the health care system. Although all patients should be valued as partners, patients of color can face unique obstacles, including racism, bias, mistrust, and gaps in communication between patients and physicians. Engaging patients of color is an important step toward the development of a more equitable health system. To help ensure that patients’ priorities, preferences, and experiences guide efforts to create a more equitable health care system, NYHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), “Patients as Partners: Advancing Equity.” Through this RFP, NYHealth is supporting projects that seek to implement system improvements, practice innovations, or interventions designed to give patients of color a meaningful role in their health care. In 2021, NYHealth awarded the Research Foundation of Mental Hygiene (RFMH) a grant to participate in this initiative.

Under this grant, RFMH will develop and pilot an online model to improve mental health treatment and care for young people of color with serious mental illness. Evidence-based coordinated care for mental health conditions leads to improvements in symptoms, social functioning, quality of life, and treatment satisfaction. But there is a need to improve effective use of culturally informed shared decision-making approaches for patients of color. RFMH will implement learning modules to enhance culturally competent practices for OnTrackNY, an online treatment program sponsored by the New York State Office of Mental Health for adolescents and young adults experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia and other serious mental health issues. OnTrackNY will engage patients of color, incorporate their diverse perspectives into the learning modules, and improve knowledge of culturally adapted shared decision-making practices for both providers and patients. RFMH will use a learning collaborative and focus groups to pilot the learning modules throughout OnTrackNY’s statewide network of behavioral health providers. RFMH will also help OnTrackNY disseminate the trainings more broadly among behavioral health clinicians across the State, as well as work with health care partners to integrate shared decision-making approaches for patients of color experiencing early psychosis.

See a full list of grantees working to engage patients as partners to advance racial health equity across New York State.