• Article

Effectiveness of the engagement and counseling for latinos (ECLA) intervention in low-income latinos

Persistent disparities in access and quality of mental health care for Latinos indicate a need for evidence-based, culturally adapted, and outside-the-clinic-walls treatments.

Evaluate treatment effectiveness of telephone (ECLA-T) or face-to-face (ECLA-F) delivery of a 6–8 session cognitive behavioral therapy and care management intervention for low-income Latinos, as compared to usual care for depression.

Multisite randomized controlled trial.

Eight community health clinics in Boston, Massachusetts and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

257 Latino patients recruited from primary care between May 2011 and September 2012.

Main Outcome Measures:
The primary outcome was severity of depression, assessed with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-20. The secondary outcome was functioning over the previous 30 days, measured using the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHO-DAS 2.0).

Both telephone and face-to-face versions of the Engagement and Counseling for Latinos (ECLA) were more effective than usual care. The effect sizes of both intervention conditions on Patient Health Questionnaire-9 were moderate when combined data from both sites are analyzed (0.56 and 0.64 for face-to-face and telephone, respectively). Similarly, effect sizes of ECLA-F and ECLA-T on the Hopkins Symptom Checklist were quite large in the Boston site (0.64 and 0.73. respectively) but not in Puerto Rico (0.10 and 0.03).

Conclusions and Relevance:
The intervention appears to help Latino patients reduce depressive symptoms and improve functioning. Of particular importance is the higher treatment initiation for the telephone versus face-to-face intervention (89.7% vs. 78.8%), which suggests that telephone-based care may improve access and quality of care.


Alegria, M., Ludman, E., Kafali, E., Lapatin, S., Vila, D., Shrout, PE., ... Canino, G. (2014). Effectiveness of the engagement and counseling for latinos (ECLA) intervention in low-income latinos. Medical Care, 52(11), 989-997. https://doi.org/10.1097/MLR.0000000000000232