ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico will use a $7 million federal grant to establish a new center to develop ways to improve delivery of behavioral health services in areas where services need to be bolstered.

University officials say the research funded by the five-year grant from a branch of the National Institutes of Health will initially focus on populations of Native Americans and immigrant Hispanics in the Southwest.

Associate Professor Lisa Cacari Stone will direct the new center. She says a team of researchers in multiple disciplines will study how historical trauma, adverse childhood experiences and the combined effects of poverty and discrimination affect behavioral health.

Cacari Stone says successful research could help reduce youth suicide, substance abuse and depression in vulnerable populations.