Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Low-Income Immigrants in Primary Care: A Community Adaptation of an Evidence-Based Model


  • This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. The authors wish to acknowledge Junfeng Sun, who performed statistical analyses that were part of an earlier version of this manuscript.

concerning this article should be addressed to Stacey Kaltman, Department of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical Center, 2115 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007. Electronic mail may be sent to


Low-income, uninsured immigrants are burdened by poverty and a high prevalence of trauma exposure and thus are vulnerable to mental health problems. Disparities in access to mental health services highlight the importance of adapting evidence-based interventions in primary care settings that serve this population. In 2005, the Montgomery Cares Behavioral Health Program began adapting and implementing a collaborative care model for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders in a network of primary care clinics that serve low-income, uninsured residents of Montgomery County, Maryland, the majority of whom are immigrants. In its 6th year now, the program has generated much needed knowledge about the adaptation of this evidence-based model. The current article describes the adaptations to the traditional collaborative care model that were necessitated by patient characteristics and the clinic environment.