Effectiveness of Telepsychiatry-based Culturally Sensitive Collaborative Treatment of Depressed Chinese Americans


Hypothesis 1. Telepsychiatry consultations will be acceptable and well-received by depressed Chinese Americans and by their primary care clinicians.

Hypothesis 2. Depressed Chinese Americans in remote primary care clinics receiving T-CSCT will have improved outcomes compared to patients who receive Usual Care by primary care physicians.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: Double (Participant, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: January 2014

Detailed Description

Telepsychiatry-based CSCT (T-CSCT):

Live and interactive Telepsychiatry (using videoconferencing) brings tremendous opportunities to clinical care, education, research, and administration. In the U.S. to date, telepsychiatry has been implemented in rural areas where people lack access to psychiatrists (Baer et al, 1997), in the Prison System with service users constrained from traveling (Brecht et al., 1996), in rural native American resettlement areas (Shore & Spero, 2005), and in Alaska where residents are faced with both distance and a shortage of mental health professionals. In this proposed study, we plan to investigate the effectiveness of telepsychiatry-based CSCT (T-CSCT) to provide culturally sensitive collaborative management of MDD to monolingual Chinese Americans. For this group of patients, telepsychiatry consultation could be a necessity both in urban as well as rural primary care clinics that are not staffed with bilingual psychiatrists. T-CSCT plans to utilize the advanced telemedicine technology in major academic centers to connect the scarce resource of bilingual and bicultural mental health professionals to underserved Chinese Americans to improve their access to treatment of MDD.

T-CSCT will explore the usefulness and effectiveness of recognizing MDD subjects through consumer-initiated depression self-screening using the validated CB-PHQ-9, which will be made available in community newspapers, journals, and on the internet. To facilitate care management for Chinese Americans, a Depression Toolkit for Chinese Americans will be developed, which will include information on the nature and treatment of MDD, the CB-PHQ-9 for depression self-screening, a bilingual instrument to monitor progress of depressive symptoms, strategies for patients to negotiate with health professionals for individually tailored treatment for depression, and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) by Asian American immigrants on MDD and its treatment. If shown to be effective, the T-CSCT can be the prototype of a telemedicine-based Multiracial Mental Health Resource Center to provide services to other minority populations to reduce disparities in mental health treatment.


  • Behavioral: Telepsychiatry-based Culturally Sensitive Collaborative Treatment
    • T-CSCT: Patients in Group A will receive T-CSCT, which consists of Telepsychiatry-based Culturally Sensitive Psychiatry Assessment using the Engagement Interview Protocol (EIP) plus Care Management.

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Active Comparator: TCSCT
  • Placebo Comparator: Usual Care

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression
    • Time Frame: Screen, Week 9, 17, 24

Secondary Measures

  • Clinical Global Impressions (Severity of Depression and Global Improvement)
    • Time Frame: Screen, Week 9, 17, 24

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

1. Individuals with Chinese ethnicity, defined as people who self-identify as being Chinese based upon having either one or both parents being ethnic Chinese.

2. Monolingual Chinese American immigrants, defined as people who require or prefer to be interviewed in Chinese (including Cantonese, Taiwanese, Mandarin, and Toisanese dialects).

3. Men or women age 18 or older, who live in the greater Boston area.

4. Individuals who are competent to consent and have completed a written consent form.

5. Individuals who have a PCP.

6. Patients who screen positive for MDD, current according to the fourth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as diagnosed by the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI; Sheehan et al, 1998)

7. Individuals who are willing to receive phone interviews for monitoring of symptoms and for additional support (care management) if available.

Exclusion Criteria

1. Patients with serious suicidal risk.

2. Patients with unstable medical illnesses requiring imminent hospitalization or rendering patients unsuitable for clinical interview.

d. Patients with comorbid severe mental disorders including:

1. Organic mental disorders.

2. Alcohol or substance abuse disorders active within the last year.

3. Schizophrenia.

4. Delusional disorder.

5. Psychotic disorders not elsewhere classified.

6. Bipolar disorder. e. Patients with history of treatment by a psychiatrist in the past 4 months.

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 18 Years

Maximum Age: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Albert Yeung, Albert Yeung, MD – Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Albert Yeung, MD, Principal Investigator, Massachusetts General Hospital

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