Dartmouth Center for Health and Aging

InSHAPE’s impact on the physical and mental health of people experiencing mental illness has been studied at Dartmouth Center for Health and Aging under the leadership of Stephen J. Bartels, MD, MS and Sarah I. Pratt, PhD. The center is currently conducting research under grants from the National Institute for Mental Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Published Research

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 10.03.43 AMAssessing Sustainability of InSHAPE Participants’ Fitness Activities in a Community Mental Health Setting, Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, Volume 53, Issue 2, 46-53, February 2015. This study explores what happens with InSHAPE participants after program completion. Current findings suggest that “individuals with serious mental illness may need a longer period of time working closely with fitness trainers to sustain physical activity levels achieved during the program.” The cost of those resources is offset by the estimated health care saving achieved by preventing chronic disease.

American Journal of PsychiatryPragmatic Replication Trial of Health Promotion Coaching for Obesity in Serious Mental Illness and Maintenance of Outcomes, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Accepted August 29, 2014, Stephen J. Bartels, M.D., M.S.; Sarah I. Pratt, Ph.D.; Kelly A. Aschbrenner, Ph.D.; Laura K. Barre, M.D.; John A. Naslund, M.P.H.; Rosemarie Wolfe, M.S.; Haiyi Xie, Ph.D.; Gregory J. McHugo, Ph.D.; Daniel E. Jimenez, Ph.D.; Ken Jue, M.S.S.A.; James Feldman, M.D., M.P.H.; Bruce L. Bird, Ph.D.


Psychiatric ServicesClinically significant improved fitness and weight loss among overweight persons with serious mental illness.  Psychiatric Services, Volume 64, no. 8, August 1, 2013. The InSHAPE program achieves “clinically significant reduction in cardiovascular risk for almost one-half of participants at 12 months.”



Community Mental Health JournalA Pilot Evaluation of the InSHAPE Individualized Health promotion Intervention for Adults with Mental Illness. Community Mental Health Journal,  Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 540-552, December 1, 2010. This study demonstrated the feasibility and potential effectiveness of the InSHAPE program…based on these promising results, randomized controlled trials of the InSHAPE program are necessary to establish its effectiveness compared with usual care an alternative approaches to enhancing fitness.


Health Promotion InternationalLearning what matters for patients: qualitative evaluation of a health promotion program for those with serious mental illness. Health Promotion International, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 275-282, June 13, 2008. Interventions that increase engagement in physical exercise, dietary modifications, lifestyle changes and preventive health care can provide health benefits across the lifespan.


Other Reports

Health Promotion Programs for Persons with Serious Mental Illness: What Works? A Systematic Review and Analysis of the Evidence Base in Published Research Literature on Exercise and Nutrition Programs. Prepared for SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions by The Dartmouth Health Promotion Research Team.

Mental Disorders and Medical Comorbidity, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Synthesis Project, February 2011. Key findings include: Comorbidity is the rule rather than the exception. Comorbidity is associated with elevated symptom burden, functional impairment, decorated length and quality of life and increased costs. Collaborative care models that use a multidisciplinary team have been shown to provide effective treatment for persons with comorbid physical and mental conditions.