The Nathan Kline Institute

The Nathan Kline Institute

The Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts

The Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts (The Center) is a National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) funded grant to investigate the well being of people who are diagnosed with mental health issues. The Center applies a perspective used in economic development, Sen’s Capabilities Framework, to guide research on recovery. This project examines real opportunities that people have to do and be what they value within the social contexts of resources, law, custom and policy. The Center takes a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach that involves members of the mental health community in formulating research questions, designing methods of inquiry, and interpreting findings.

A Practice Partner

As a practice partner, the Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP) works with The Center to connect researchers with real people in the community. MHEP also serves on The Centers’ leadership team. This team is comprised of the Principal Director and Co-Director (Mary Jane Alexander and Kim Hopper) and other Practice Partners who work on multiple projects with investigators for The Center. The leadership team steers the research of The Center by approving and monitoring Center research projects and other activities, including training and conferences.

The Field School

In 2009, the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) sponsored The Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts (The Center), in partnership with Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP), to develop and test a curriculum to enhance research capacity and opportunities for Center partners to advance research on recovery. The Field School curriculum provides a basis to increase the diversity of the NIMH workforce by building skills for people whose education and career development were disrupted when they were given a psychiatric diagnosis. More specifically, it provides:

  • Intensive training in research design, practice and analysis to peer partners.
  • Classroom work coupled with field-based exercises, extensive writing, and mentored apprenticeships in Center-funded projects.
  • A curriculum to enhance research skills among partners that strengthens the informed participation of key stakeholder networks.
  • Stipends for authentic community participation in research to strengthen the public health impact of mental health services research.
  • Research and technology training to expand the diversity of the NIMH workforce.