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NEWS | May 23, 2013

UC Davis Latino mental health expert to appear on PBS documentary

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, a UC Davis physician and internationally renowned expert on mental health and other conditions that frequently impact underserved populations, will appear in a documentary titled “A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness,” set to air Thursday, May 30, at 9 p.m. on Sacramento PBS station KVIE-Channel 6.

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola

The documentary, which will be broadcast by PBS stations throughout California, tells stories of hope, resilience and recovery for Californians who have battled mental illness. Aguilar-Gaxiola, professor of clinical internal medicine and director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, was interviewed about the current state of mental-health services and what needs to be done to expand access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care.

During the past 25 years, Aguilar-Gaxiola has directed several research initiatives focused on identifying the unmet mental-health needs of immigrant populations and on developing community-based approaches to reducing disparities for those whose needs are not well served by traditional health-care systems. He also has translated his research outcomes into practical information for providers and administrators to guide policy decisions about program development, interventions and services.

In 2012, Aguilar-Gaxiola led a team of researchers who published a report for the state of California on ways to address mental health-care disparities for Latinos. Their recommendations were based on feedback from consumers and their families, advocates, service providers, educators, students, researchers and policymakers throughout the state who participated in intensive town hall meetings or focus groups.

“A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness” was produced by KVIE, narrated by award-winning actress Glenn Close and funded by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63) as part of California Mental Health Services Authority’s Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Initiative. A trailer for the documentary can be viewed at www.eachmindmatters.org/great-minds-gallery. The full-length program will be available for replay on this website following the May 30 premiere.

Additional information about Aguilar-Gaxiola and a copy of the report — "Community-Defined Solutions for Latino Mental Health-Care Disparities" — are available at www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/crhd.

The UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, in alliance with the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center, provides leadership and support within and beyond UC Davis Health System to promote the health and well-being of ethnically diverse populations. The center focuses on raising awareness of the unique cultural and linguistic attributes of minority populations, developing culturally and linguistically sensitive communications for health-care professionals, and working with policymakers, administrators, practitioners, consumers and families to reduce health-care disparities and improve quality of care. Building on UC Davis' long history of outreach to the most vulnerable, underserved populations in the Sacramento region, the center raises awareness, conducts critical research and assists those communities whose needs have never been addressed or met by traditional health-care systems. The center's ultimate goal is to improve health outcomes for all.