Marissa C. Hansen, PhD, MSW
Ph.D. University of Southern California
MSW University of Southern California
B. S. Boston University
My interests in aging and Latino mental health stems predominately from my work as a social worker in Los Angeles where I noted disparities in access and use among families caring for individuals with dementia. I also saw the great toll that issues like depression and anxiety had on managing health needs among older adults. With that I decided to pursue research to understand the contributors to these disparities and how to close the gap in care. I have successfully conducted independent research in the areas of aging and behavioral health in this effort. Through this work, I contributed to the design and implementation of randomized clinical trials and conducted community-based intervention studies that address health and mental health co-morbidities among adults and older adults. Cumulatively, these experiences focused my interests in developing feasibility and implementation studies that increase access to culturally-grounded mental health treatments that improve access and adherence of mental health care for vulnerable minority aging populations.
My research addresses the influence of sociocultural factors on service utilization, treatment adherence, and functional outcomes in depression treatment for low-income minority adult and older adult populations, specifically Latinos. Further, my work emphasizes factors related to implementation of evidenced based care models to decrease mental health disparities among those with health and mental health co-morbidities. To accomplish this research agenda, I utilize a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to understand factors that support increased feasibility of use of evidenced approaches to care that address mental health disparities among older minorities.