University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Psychiatry
Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy

National Research and Training Center (NRTC)

Project Updates

/Training and Education

Increasing Workforce Capacity through Computer Assisted Interview Training for Research Careers

The purpose of this project is to enhance survey research employment opportunities for adults with mental illnesses living in the Chicago area. These individuals receive training on basic research skills and state-of-the-art computer interviewing technology, along with employer networking opportunities.

Project trainees participate in a two-day interactive workshop where they learn to administer research protocols using computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) technology. Given its greater accuracy, CAPI is rapidly replacing traditional paper and pencil interviewing in both academic and corporate settings. During the workshop, trainees receive hands-on instruction in CAPI technology using programmed laptop computers. Along with CAPI training, participants also learn basic research and computer skills, guidelines for human subjects protection in research, and sensitive methods for interviewing people in behavioral healthcare settings. Trainees who pass a short test at the end of the workshop receive a certificate of completion stating that they have acquired the requisite skills.

This training project is being offered at two mental health agencies in Chicago. Heartland Health Outreach ( serves some of city's most vulnerable and impoverished individuals with mental illness, including those who are homeless and refugees. The Community Mental Health Council ( provides services predominantly to African Americans living on the south and west sides of the city. Most of the individuals served by both agencies want to return to work, but require additional job skills to meet the current needs of the labor market.

To encourage employer networking, once a cadre of certified trainees has been developed, the UIC NRTC will sponsor a job fair featuring academic and corporate research entities who are interested in hiring individuals trained in CAPI technology.

The UIC CMHSRP is part of the ongoing Education and Research efforts of the UIC Department of Psychiatry

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