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Institute for Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Lyesha Fletcher
Project L/EARN Intern - 2003
Lyesha Fletcher
Racial Differences in Pathways to Mental Health Care
Usha Sambamoorthi

Lyesha became an intern her junior year at Douglass College in Rutgers University, while majoring in Management Science & Information Systems.

Lyesha had applied to Project L/EARN because it offered her a chance to work intensively with her faculty mentor, Dr. Kathleen Pottick, who shared an interest in children's mental health research. The small class size and personal attention that she received is a sharp contrast to other research courses Lyesha has taken. As an intern, she had stated, “Now, I really understand research methods and statistics, rather than being lost in a class with hundreds of other students." Indeed, the ability to interact and learn from other faculty at the Institute for Health, Health Care policy and Aging Research has been a highlight of the program. Lyesha adds, “Dr.s Warner & Miller were especially helpful in furthering my understanding of the multi-dimensional nature of conducting research."

Based on Lyesha’s study, there are indeed differences in entrance patterns to inpatient mental health care facilities. Minorities tend to enter involuntarily and originate from unstable living arrangements, versus White clients who tend to enter voluntarily and originate from stable living arrangements. These findings coincide with current literature regarding differences in access to quality mental health care. At the time, Lyesha had planned on continuing this work over the following two years for her honors senior thesis.

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