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Columns   |    
Personal Accounts: Today I Wear a Blue Hat
Amy C. Watson, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.640121
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Dr. Watson is an associate professor at Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1040 W. Harrison St., MC 309, Chicago, IL 60607 (e-mail: acwatson@gmail.com). Jeffrey L. Geller, M.D., M.P.H., is editor of this column.

Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association

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A surge of anger rose through me as I read the reviewer comments on my grant application. One comment stated that there did not appear to be meaningful involvement of persons with lived experience with mental illness in the proposed study. The reviewer was correct; I had not adequately articulated the plan to involve persons with mental illnesses in the project. In fact, had I been a reviewer of my application, I would have made the same comment. But I was frustrated by the tacit assumption that members of the research team did not have lived experience unless their role in the project was as a “consumer.” If this was the assumption, did this mean that reviewers could not imagine that members of the team with research and academic credentials could also have lived experience with mental illness? Of course, how could reviewers know unless such members of the team had disclosed it in the application? And if they were “outed,” would this have an impact on the assessment of their abilities to successfully complete the proposed research?

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