Dr. Kelly Irwin
Director, Collaborative Care and Community Engagement Program
Dr. Irwin is a health services researcher and psychiatrist at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center and Schizophrenia Program and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Havard Medical School. She investigates health care disparities in patients with serious mental illness and cancer. Dr. Irwin is the founding director of the Collaborative Care and Community Engagement Program at the MGH Cancer Center, a clinical and research initiative dedicated to achieving equity in cancer care for people with serious mental illness. Dr. Irwin’s clinical research program focuses on developing, rigorously testing, and scaling interventions to improve cancer outcomes for people with mental illness and their caregivers. Her research has been funded by the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, and multiple foundations. Her team developed and successfully piloted Bridge, a person-centered collaborative care model for patients with serious mental illness that integrates mental health care into cancer care delivery. The Bridge trial enrolled rapidly with high rates of consent and trial completion. Dr. Irwin and her team are currently conducting the first randomized trial targeting patients with serious mental illness at cancer diagnosis, which investigates the impact of the Bridge model on cancer care. With the support of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Dr. Irwin founded the Engage Initiative (the Cancer and Mental Health Collaborative), which aims to build capacity for person-centered research at the intersection of cancer and mental illness. Dr. Irwin believes healthcare is a human right, that separate is never equal, and that we can think creatively together to find solutions that advance health equity.