El Futuro expands initiative to improve mental health outcomes in Latino families in Northeast Florida


El Futuro is conducting a new program in Northeast Florida to improve mental health outcomes in the local Latino community. The program works with community-based organizations to develop Spanish language mental health services tailored to the needs of the local community. The program is being carried out in collaboration with researchers at Mayo Clinic and funded by an award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

Mario Decunto is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has worked with families since 2009, and has served on boards in Jacksonville, Florida, including the Mayor’s Hispanic American Advisory Board and Human Rights Commission. Decunto is proud to serve on the Mayo Clinic Hope 2 board and has an insight on the need in Northeast Florida. “Current research shows a significant disparity in health care for our Hispanic community, so we are very excited to focus on patient-centered outcomes research to start addressing the real needs of the Hispanic community and close that gap in services, especially mental health.”

The goal of this mental health initiative is not only to improve outcomes, but also to empower local Latino communities to take an active role in research to improve the health of their community. Central to the project is listening to the wisdom of the community to help guide research efforts in order to deliver the greatest benefit to the people being served.

Richard White, MD, an internist and pediatrician, and a health disparities researcher at Mayo Clinic, is collaborating with Smith and El Futuro on this project. “I am excited to build on El Futuro’s work with the Latino community and its expertise in culturally-responsive mental health approaches,” says White. “Our collaboration will bring more effective research results to communities in Florida who have been hit hard by the pandemic.”

This research is funded through the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (EATR-18787) from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute® (PCORI®)). The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute® (PCORI®) is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continually seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.

Click here to see El Futuro Press Release

Click here to read the Chatham + News article by Victoria Johnson