Dr. Carla Sharp is the Director of Clinical Training and of the Developmental Psychopathology Lab at the University of Houston, Texas. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Her research interests include Developmental Psychopathology, social cognition, reward processing and emotional processing as well as measure development of diagnostic tools. We are thrilled to consider Dr. Sharp a part of the Trayt community and asked for her thoughts on the role of social determinants and issues in access to care in order to bring more clarity to discussions within our community:
"75% or all mental disorders have their onset by the age of 25. The peak period of onset for depression, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder and personality disorder occurs in adolescence. These findings logically lead to calls for safe interventions as early as possible in the course of the mental illness to avoid the direct and indirect damage to young lives caused by mental disorders. The first step to intervention is, however, identification and access. Despite acknowledgement of the urgent need for effective early intervention of mental disorders in youth, less than 20% of children and adolescents who need mental health care receive services. This means that there are millions of children falling through the cracks. Large-scale efforts are needed to flip these statistics beginning with integrated and coordinated efforts for early identification and assessment."
“At a time when one’s zip code is the single strongest determinant of health outcomes, we must strive to understand patients within the context of their communities. Certain struggles are purely unique to where one lives, including food deserts, bad air quality, rough neighborhoods, and lack of access to care. To achieve equity, connected health needs to take these factors into consideration especially when working with underserved populations. The Trayt solution fits well in this sphere of health because we ask users about these social determinants of health, but we also recognize the importance of capturing the whole picture. Patients are not purely what a doctor hears at a visit. Rather, each person’s health consists of a complex interaction of all of their daily symptoms in addition to past life influences and daily challenges.
In today’s rapidly developing era of interconnectivity, it is important to consider how data and health technology fits in a larger discussion of social determinants. It is true that as data analytics becomes more widely available we can expect better health outcomes. However, we run the risk of widening already existing health inequity. To ensure that this doesn’t occur, health technologies must be highly accessible to populations across all socioeconomic statuses. At Trayt, we are ensuring that even those who typically have the most limited access to healthcare are able to take charge of their own health and receive valuable insights that will lead to improved health.”