CoP Outcomes

Overcoming the stigma of mental health clinical research within Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) can be challenging, but it is essential for ensuring that patients receive the best possible care — today and in the future.

Connecting community mental health centers (CMHCs) and clinical research offers a win-win-win scenario for the CMHCs, the patients, and the clinical research industry. But the endeavor must be given careful consideration to be viable and to be successful.

This Outcomes section reviews the benefits of incorporating research as part of a CMHC’s offering to their patients.


Establishing a CoP within a CMHC can help to create a culture of learning and collaboration that supports ongoing professional development, innovation, and the provision of high-quality care to patients. CoPs can provide many benefits, including:

  • Improved collaboration and knowledge-sharing: CoPs bring together individuals with similar interests and goals, allowing them to collaborate and share knowledge and resources. By establishing CoPs within CMHCs, staff members can work together to improve patient outcomes and enhance the quality of care provided.
  • Professional development: CoPs can provide staff members with opportunities for professional development, including training, mentoring, and networking. By participating in CoPs, staff members can learn from one another, improve their skills, and stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices in mental health care.
  • Increased engagement and motivation: CoPs can help to foster a sense of community and belonging among staff members, which can lead to increased engagement and motivation. By working together to achieve common goals, staff members can feel more invested in their work and more connected to their colleagues.
  • Innovation and creativity: CoPs can provide a space for staff members to explore new ideas and approaches to mental health care. By sharing knowledge and resources, staff members can collaborate to develop innovative solutions to complex challenges.


Why introduce research into a Community Mental Health Center?

It can be costly, time-consuming, and pose many ethical challenges. It may cause friction if some staff are resistant, and resentment if others are not given the resources to access or conduct the research they want.

While hurdles do exist, research is critical to achieving breakthroughs in earlier and more accurate diagnoses, developing new, more effective treatments, and  preventing comorbidities.

By engaging in research, we can develop new solutions to mental health illnesses, improving patient care and increasing job satisfaction for our staff. Research also benefits the whole organization, as hospitals and health centers that are more “research active” have better health outcomes including lower mortality rates than those that are not.

The STARR Coalitions Community of Practice (CoP) wants to support research in CMHCs and increase participation from more diverse, and traditionally underrepresented, communities. Our definition of research includes testing new products, examining existing services and care pathways, and improving the way those services are set up and run. All healthcare workers can contribute to research in areas where they see a need, embedding research in treatment pathways, improving care, which can lead to a faster return to everyday life for patients.

Our CoP will support CMHCs to take an organization-wide approach to research, making it more efficient, inclusive, and equitable. The CoP will create a network of peers from many CMHCs, develop a comprehensive set of resources, from templates to diagnostics, and provide events such as webinars and workshops to share best practices, the latest developments, and help overcome the challenges faced by CMHCs. Beginning in 2024, we will offer a training program in clinical research operations.

We believe that research improves outcomes, changes lives, it saves lives. The CoP will help all healthcare worker practicing in CMHCs identify opportunities to be involved in research, giving their patients the chance to learn about and participate in suitable research, if they want. The CoP will provide the support, guidance, and information needed to enhance the career of healthcare workers involved in research and CMHCs that are part of our CoP will be attractive to high performing staff due to the elevated reputation of working in an institution that supports or conducts research.

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A Community of Practice (CoP)
can help create a culture of learning and collaboration that supports ongoing professional development, innovation, and the provision of high-quality care to patients. In this case, the CoP would include outside researchers, so that members can learn from one another and stay up-to-date with the latest research and information on mental health treatments.

If you are interested in joining our CoP, please fill out the form below or contact us at