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Supporting Health and Healthy Behaviors for New Journeys Clients

Lydia Chwastiak, MD, MPH


UW Department of Psychiatry

Sunny Cheng, RN, PhD, 

Assistant Professor,

Nursing & Healthcare Leadership, UW Tacoma


Compared to the general population, young people experiencing psychosis are more likely to die prematurely from cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, certain cancers, and infectious illnesses. A first episode of psychosis represents a critical period for prevention of these health disparities. Coordinated Specialty Care—such as the NAVIGATE model on which New Journeys teams are based—is very effective in improving outcomes among youth and young adults with psychosis, but a major gap in this multi-disciplinary approach is the lack of systematic identification and addressing of chronic disease risk factors (such as smoking and obesity) and support of a healthy lifestyle. Primary prevention activities could support good physical health along the road through recovery, and substantially reduce the premature mortality experienced by people living with psychosis.



The goal of this project is to develop a shared vision with the nine New Journeys teams on how to expand the New Journeys model to address health behaviors and wellness. In order to achieve this goal, we are conducting semi-structured interviews with (n= 17) key informants (program directors, psychiatric prescribers, IRT therapists) on the teams to understand their current workflows related to health and wellness, barriers and facilitators to routine monitoring and management of chronic disease risk factors, and their ideal vision of how this care could be delivered. We will also identify nursing personnel and services that teams are currently utilizing to provide this care, and collaborate with these subject matter experts to prioritize functions and tasks, standardize workflows and data collection tools and develop a manual and training materials for a nurse role on the New Journeys team. 

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