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Cromer RD, Denneson LM, Jacobson LE, Dobscha SK. Between the Lines: Reading & Conducting Research with Mental Health Notes. Paper presented at: Anthropology and Mental Health Interest Group Annual Conference; 2014 Dec 2; Washington, DC.
Medical notes are records that provide a unique and critical opportunity for exploring methodological challenges and ethical concerns in mental health research. This discussion is based on two projects: a health record review of women veterans who died by suicide and qualitative study of mental health clinicians' note-writing practices in settings where patients read their notes. Both projects generate common methodological and ethical concerns: 1) tensions between the content of mental health records and their limits as constructed, partial artifacts of a health care system; and 2) ethical implications of ethnographic research involving the records of vulnerable populations.