Addiction, Serious Mental Illness, & Health Equity


To end health disparities through rigorous stakeholder-driven methodology for people with serious mental illnesses and/or people who use substances.

DFCM Research Team

  • Lara Carson Weinstein, MD, MPH, DrPH (Lead) is a family physician, addiction medicine specialist, and public health researcher working to realizing health equity in partnership with people experiencing psychiatric disabilities, substance use disorders, and complex chronic disease. As an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, she provides clinical care through the Project HOME Health Services (PHHS) Federally Qualified Health Center at the PHHS Pathways to Housing PA satellite, where she is the Director of Integrated Care and Research for the Pathways to Housing PA Housing First organization. Her work is done in collaboration with two nationally recognized community organizations in Philadelphia, Pathways to Housing PA and Project HOME that provide permanent supported housing for people with experiences of homelessness and serious mental illness and substance use disorders.
  • Erin L. Kelly, PhD is a research psychologist who primarily focuses on addressing health disparities for individuals with serious mental illnesses. Using stakeholder-driven methods, she is currently working on projects related to co-occurring disorders, community integration, healthcare access, management of medical conditions, and the impacts of victimizations, violence, and stigma on care among those with mental health issues.
  • Megan K. Reed, MPH, PhD conducts harm reduction research in partnership with people who use drugs. She specializes in overdose prevention interventions, specifically among recently incarcerated people.
  • Kelsey Smith, BA has a background in sociocultural anthropology with a specific interest in health disparities, harm reduction, and underserved populations.

Active Projects

  • Participant-driven measures of success in an MOUD program
            -  MAT: Participant Advisory Council
  • Development of MAT/MOUD Curriculum for Family Medicine Providers and Residents
  • Addiction Medicine Fellowship
  • Homeless Care Continuum
  • Improving the Experience of Care In the Emergency Department for People Who Use Opioids
  • Medical Marijuana as an adjunctive treatment to lower risk of chronic, high dose opioid use
  • Assessment of Medical Students’ Perceptions in Providing Underserved Care

Current and Past Funding

Community Partners

  • Pathways to Housing PA — Empowering people with disabilities to improve their housing stability, achieve better health, and reclaim their lives.
  • Project HOME Health Services — a federally qualified health center (FQHC) is committed to addressing the health and wellness needs of people who are currently homeless, formerly homeless, and people living in our North Philadelphia community. PHHS offers primary medical care, psychiatric services, nurse care management, individual, couples and group counseling, peer-led outreach and care coordination, healing touch, on-site legal counseling, and assistance with applying for health insurance benefits.

Medical Student Scholarly Inquiry Projects

Publications & Presentations

  • Cabassa LJ,Stefancic A, Lewis-Fernández R, Luchsinger J, Weinstein LC, Guo S, Palinkas L, Bochicchio, L, Wang X, O’Hara K, Blady M, Simiriglia C, McCurdy M. Main Outcomes of the Peer-Led Healthy Lifestyle Intervention for People with Serious Mental Illness in Supportive Housing. Psychiatric Services. Accepted for publication July 2020.
  • De la Cruz, M., Smith, R., Silverio, A., Casola, A. & Kelly, E.L. (in press). What we learned in the development of a third-year medical student curricular project. Perspectives on Medical Education: Failures/Surprises.
  • Kelly, E.L., Davis, L.,Holguin, M., Goana, L., Pahwa, R., Lee, S., Pancake, L., Murch, L., Giambone, L., & Brekke, J.S. (2020). Practice-Based Research Networks in stakeholder-driven Social Work research. Research on Social Work Practice.
  • Pahwa, R., Dougherty, R.J., Kelly, E.L., Davis, L., Smith, M., & Brekke, J.S. (2020). Is it safe? Community integration for individuals with serious mental illnesses. Research on Social Work Practice. 
  • Pahwa, R., Smith, M., Kelly, E.L., Dougherty, R., Davis, L., Thorning, H., Brekke, J.S., & Hamilton, A. (2020). Definitions of community for individuals with serious mental illnesses: Implications for community integration and recovery. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research.
  • Starks, S., Kelly, E.L., Braslow, J., Meldrum, M., & Bourgois, P. (2020). Client outreach in Los Angeles County’s Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program: Outreach strategies and barriers to engagement. Research on Social Work Practice. 
  • Weinstein LC, Chilton M, Turchi R, Klassen A, LaNoue M, Lamar S, Yorgey S, Kramer L, Smith I, Cabassa L. Reaching for a Healthier Lifestyle: A Photovoice Investigation of Barriers to Healthy Living in People with SMI. Progress in Community Health Partnerships.Volume 13, Issue 4, Winter 2019, pp. 371-383
  • Weinstein LC, Chilton M, Turchi R, Klassen A, LaNoue M, Silverio A, Cabassa L. “It’s Common Sense that an Individual Must Eat”: Advocating for Food Justice with People with Psychiatric Disabilities Through Photovoice” Health Expectations. 2020 Jul 15.
  • Weinstein, L. C., Iqbal, Q., Cunningham, A., Debates, R., Landistratis, G., Doggett, P., & Silverio, A. (2020). Retention of patients with multiple vulnerabilities in a federally qualified health center buprenorphine program: Pennsylvania, 2017–2018. American Journal of Public Health, 110(4), 580–586.
  • Weinstein LC, LaNoue M, Hurley K, Payton C., Sifri R., Myers R. Feasibility Pilot Outcomes of a Mammography Decision Support and Navigation Intervention for Women with Serious Mental Illness Living in Supportive Housing Settings Journal of Primary Care and Community Health. August 2019.10 (1-9).


Lara Weinstein, MD, MPH, DrPH

Kelsey Smith, BA