Dr. Alexander S. Young is a psychiatrist and health services researcher. He is Professor at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry, Director of Health Services for the VA Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center in Southern California, and Senior Scientist at RAND. Dr. Young focuses on evaluating and improving healthcare quality, with a particular emphasis on serious mental illness, implementation science, psychopharmacology, measurement-based care, patient-reported outcomes, and health informatics.
Dr. Young has led the development of quality measurement methods in mental health, and conducted research to improve care. He implemented clozapine programs at public clinics. He led a national project that developed a set of competencies that clinicians need to possess to successfully treat people with serious mental illness, and an instrument that measures these competencies. He co-led a multi-site controlled trial of an innovative consumer-led intervention that improved provider competencies. Since a major barrier to improving mental health care is inadequate information regarding patients and treatments, and inadequate information provided to patients and caregivers, he has implemented informatics systems to support care improvement. Dr. Young led EQUIP, a controlled trial with 801 patients with serious mental illness at 8 VA medical centers in 4 states, in partnership with policy-makers. EQUIP implemented and studied the effectiveness of evidence-based quality improvement and patient-reported outcomes (using patient-facing kiosks) to improve mental health treatments. EQUIP increased appropriate services for diet, activity and competitive employment, and improved weight outcomes. He recently completed a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of a personalized computer system with peer coaches to help people with serious mental illness improve their diet and activity, and lose weight. The intervention resulted in clinically meaningful lower weight compared to in person services and usual care. He has an NIH/NIMH implementation grant to study kiosk-based patient self-assessment of treatment preferences. He is leading a multi-site VA controlled trial of the effectiveness and budget impact of a patient centered medical home tailored to improve general medical care, psychiatric treatment and cardiovascular health in patients with serious mental illness.
The Patient Centered Medical Home is a model for reorganizing primary care so that healthcare is more effective, efficient, and user-friendly. Using evidence, this project adapts PACT for people with serious mental illness, implements the model at two healthcare centers, and studies its effectiveness in a controlled trial.
This project implements and evaluates a computerized method for assessing treatment preferences in patients with schizophrenia. If this method accurately assesses preferences, it can be used to guide implementation of treatments that improve individuals’ outcomes while meeting their preferences.
This project develops an internet-based program with peer supports to help Veterans with serious mental illness improve their diet, exercise, weight, and health. The project evaluates, in a randomized controlled trial, the effect of this program on health outcomes compared with in-person weight services and usual care.
This project evaluates the processes and outcomes of the Enhanced Housing First program, providing an in-depth understanding of Veteran and staff experiences, and facilitating strategies to improve care.