Core Affiliated Faculty & Associates

Core Affiliated Faculty & Associates

Alastair Ager, PhD - Adjunct Professor

Director, Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) in Leadership in Global Health and Humanitarian Systems, Department of Population and Family Health, Columbia University Medical Center

Alastair Ager, PhD, has worked in the field of international health and development for nearly 25 years, after originally training in psychology at the Universities of Keele, Wales and Birmingham in the UK. He was head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Malawi from 1989 until 1992 and Foundation Director of the Institute of International Health and Development at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh until 2004. Before joining Columbia, Dr. Ager worked as Senior Research Manager for the UK Department for International Development, with responsibility for the agency’s global portfolio of health and education research. Since joining Columbia, he has served as Research Director of the Care and Protection of Children in Crisis program (2005-2008) and, from 2009 to 2012, as the Executive Director of the Global Health Initiative at the Mailman School.

More about Alastair Ager

In 2012 he was appointed Director of Academic Programs in the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, and Director of the new DrPH program in Leadership in Global Health and Humanitarian Systems. Dr. Ager is author of over one hundred scholarly publications, and has wide international experience as a lecturer, researcher and consultant across sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Europe and North America, working with a range of intergovernmental, non-governmental and governmental agencies. His current research and writing is focused in the areas of refugee mental health, psychosocial well-being and child protection; the planning and evaluation of health and social care programs; the role of research in humanitarian and development assistance; and the role of faith communities in supporting recovery.

Jean-Marie E. Alves-Bradford, MD

Jean-Marie Bradford, M.D. is the Associate Director of Clinical Services at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Director of the Washington Heights Community Service (WHCS), a clinical community program with coordinated inpatient and outpatient services at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Bradford is also the training director for Columbia’s NIH funded T32 Research Fellowship in Global Mental Health which is focused on training fellows in implementation and dissemination research in order to identify and develop models for effective mental health care delivery in low- and middle-income countries.

The WHCS early psychosis program, the OnTrackNY/Washington Heights Community Service has been awarded the American Psychiatric Association Psychiatric Services Silver Award for innovative models of service delivery for persons with mental illness in the community. Dr. Bradford is the principal investigator on three grants to improve and evaluate services on WHCS including one grant to create primary care clinics within two WHCS community clinics and two grants related to expanding and evaluating the first episode psychosis coordinated specialty care program.

Dr. Bradford’s interests include implementation science, global mental health, psychosis, public psychiatry, teaching, faculty development and issues of diversity and inclusion.

Francine Cournos, MD - Professor of Clinical Psychiatry (in Epidemiology)

Dr. Francine Cournos is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry (in Epidemiology) at Columbia University. She is the Principal Investigator of the Northeast Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Project. Dr. Cournos has worked in the area of HIV/AIDS and mental illness since 1983, and has participated in numerous research projects, training grants, practice guidelines, and policy development projects.

More about Francine Cournos

She has edited two books and written numerous articles and book chapters on the interface of HIV/AIDS and mental health issues with a particular concentration on people with severe mental illness. Internationally, she has worked on approaches to treating mental health disorders in the context of the antiretroviral rollout, and in primary care. Dr. Cournos has served on the boards of many professional organizations as well as many not-for-profit programs that serve disadvantaged populations. In 1999 Dr. Cournos published an autobiography, City of One, which describes her own experiences as an orphan and foster child, and has spoken and published about disclosure, permanency planning, and childhood bereavement. She has been involved in many projects that address the mental health needs of foster children.

Dr. Cournos also conducts a private practice at the medical center focused on individual and couples therapy. She has received a number of awards including the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from NAMI.

Anke Ehrhardt, PhD - Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs and a Professor of Medical Psychology

Dr. Anke A. Ehrhardt is the Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs and a Professor of Medical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University. Dr. Ehrhardt leads the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health and is Director of its Program for the Study of LGBT Health. She came to Columbia University from the State University of New York at Buffalo where she co-directed the Program of Psychoendocrinology at Children’s Hospital. In 1987 at Columbia and NYSPI, she became Founding Director of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, which remains a key component of the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health.

More about Anke Ehrhardt

Dr. Ehrhardt is an internationally known researcher in the field of sexual and gender development of children, adolescents, and adults. For the past 35 years, her research has included a wide range of studies on determinants of sexual risk behavior among children, adolescents, heterosexual women and men, and the gay population, and on comprehensive approaches to preventing HIV and STD infection. In recognition of this work, she was presented with: the Distinguished Research Leadership Award in 1986, from the American Psychological Association; the Research Award “For Excellence in Research,” from the State of New York Office of Mental Health in 1990; the Award for Distinguished Scientific Achievement for 1991, from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex; and in 1994, the first Research Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation. Her bibliography includes more than 250 scientific publications.

Dr. Ehrhardt was the President of the International Academy of Sex Research in 1981. She has also been a member of the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council, the Executive Committee of the HIV Prevention Trials Network of Family Health International, and the Board of Trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. She was also previously a Trustee on the Board of Directors of the Ford Foundation.

Nabila El-Bassel, DSW, MSW - Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work

Dr. El-Bassel is the Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work at the Columbia University School of Social Work and Director of the Social Intervention Group (SIG), which was established in 1990 as a multi-disciplinary center focusing on developing and testing HIV, drug use, and gender –based violence effective prevention and intervention approaches and disseminating them to local, national, and global communities. Dr. El-Bassel is also the Director of the Columbia University Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA), a team of faculty, scientists, researchers, and students in both New York and Central Asia committed to advancing solutions to health and social issues in Central Asia through Research, Education, Training, and Policy and Dissemination.

More about Nabila El-Bassel

Dr. El-Bassel has designed and tested a number of multi level HIV, drug use intervention and prevention models for women, men, and couples in different settings such drug treatment and harm reduction programs, primary care, and criminal justice settings etc.

Dr. El-Bassel has been studying the intersecting epidemics of HIV and violence against women and has designed HIV interventions that address these co-occurring problems with significant scientific contributions in gender-based HIV prevention for women.

Dr. El-Bassel has been mentoring HIV research scientists from Central Asia and she has also been funded by the National Institute of Health to train underrepresented faculty and research scientists on the science of HIV intervention and prevention.

She has published extensively on HIV behavioral prevention science and on the co-occurring problems of HIV, gender-based and substance use.

Dr. El-Bassel has been funded extensively by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute of Mental Health. She also provides significant national and international leadership to the global HIV and health agenda.


Kim Hopper, PhD - Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences

Dr. Kim Hopper is a medical anthropologist who also works as a research scientist at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, where he co-directs the Center for the Study of Issues in Public Mental Health. He is author of Reckoning with Homelessness (Cornell University Press, 2003), a stocktaking of two decades of research, advocacy, and theoretical work in that field, and co-editor of the forthcoming Recovery from Schizophrenia: An International Perspective (Psychosocial Press), a report from the WHO collaborative study on the long-term course and outcome of schizophrenia. He is also author of a critical review of practical quandaries in applied anthropological work. Since 1979, Dr. Hopper has done ethnographic and historical research on psychiatric care and on homelessness, chiefly in New York City.

More about Kim Hopper

Active in homeless advocacy efforts since 1980, he served as president of the National Coalition for the Homeless from 1991-1993. His current research interests include the reconfiguration of public mental health, cross-cultural studies of psychotic disorder, community-based modalities of coercion, and dimensions of recovery and support in severe mental illness. Dr. Hopper is currently co-investigator on a number of NIMH-funded studies. He was co-convener of a Qualitative Methods Institute at NYU in the summer of 2002 and consults frequently on methodological issues in mental health services research. From 1999 to June 2003, he was a member of the NIMH Services Research Scientific Review Committee.

Silvia Martins, PhD - Associate Professor; Epidemiology Co-Director, Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Program

Dr. Silvia S. Martins is a faculty member of the Psych-Neuro cluster of the Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is the co-director of the NIDA T32 Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Program in the department and the Course Director of Principles of Epidemiology (P6400). She is also the Department of Epidemiology Co-Investigator of the IMSD program at Columbia. She has co-authored more than 140 peer reviewed epidemiological and substance abuse journal articles, served as PI or MPI of multiple NIH funded grants. Notable recent findings have focused on recent trends in marijuana use, the relationship of perceived availability of marijuana with medical marijuana laws, traffic fatalities and medical marijuana laws and increasing trends in heroin use and heroin use disorder in the general U.S. adult population.

More about Silvia Martins

She has received several awards for her research and mentoring, including, in 2011, the Award for pioneering efforts in gambling research, in 2013, the Columbia President’s Global Innovation Fund and more recently, in 2017, the Columbia University Mailman’s School of Public Health Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. Her current research focuses on consequences of medical marijuana laws in the U.S, recreational marijuana laws in Uruguay, prescription drug monitoring programs, social media and marijuana, and gambling and impulsive behaviors among minority adolescents in the U.S. She has been continuously funded by NIH since 2006 as a Principal Investigator.


Lynn Murphy Michaelopoulos, PhD - Associate Professor of Social Work

Dr. Lynn Michalopoulos is an Associate Professor at Columbia School of Social Work. Dr. Michalopoulos has an extensive background in conducting individual, couples and group therapy with trauma survivors. She specialized in direct clinical practice with women of color who experienced both childhood and adult sexual violence. Dr. Michalopoulos’ current research focuses on how trauma outcomes vary across cultural and contextual contexts, especially among non-Western low and middle income countries. She is currently working with the Victims of Torture Fund through USAID and Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Mental Health Research group on a project developing global and regionally specific trauma scales across cultures and populations.

More about Lynn Murphy Michaelopoulo

Professor Michalopoulos’ research interest also center on the relationship between trauma, substance use and HIV among migrant populations from low and middle income countries. Dr. Michalopoulos has conducted extensive research in Zambia where she is currently examining the co-occurring issues of trauma, substance use and HIV among truck drivers and female fish traders. Her previous work in Zambia has included the evaluation and analysis of a randomized controlled trial of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy among HIV and trauma-affected youth, as well as an assessment of the challenges and strategies of public health data use among local health facilities.

Richard Neugebauer, PhD, MPH - Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology (in Psychiatry)

Angela Parcesepe, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow

Angela Parcesepe, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She received her Ph.D. in Maternal and Child Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her M.P.H. and M.S.W. at Columbia University. Dr. Parcesepe is interested in the prevention of gender-based violence and the impact of violence on physical and mental health, with particular attention to the intersection of violence, substance use and HIV prevention and treatment. Her research works with key populations at risk of HIV, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. Her past work investigated the impact of alcohol harm reduction on interpersonal violence and HIV sexual risk behaviors among female sex workers in Mombasa, Kenya, as well as violence and HIV sexual risk behaviors among women engaged in sex work in adolescence.

Frederica P. Perera, PhD, DrPH - Professor of Environmental Health Sciences

Frederica P. Perera is professor of Environmental Health Sciences and serves as director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. Dr. Perera is internationally recognized for pioneering the field of molecular epidemiology, utilizing biomarkers to understand links between environmental exposures and disease. Currently, she and her colleagues are applying advanced molecular and imaging techniques within longitudinal cohort studies of pregnant women and their children, with the goal of identifying preventable environmental risk factors for developmental disorders, asthma, obesity and cancer in childhood. These include toxic chemicals, pesticides and air pollution, with particular focus on adverse effects of prenatal and early childhood exposures. Her areas of specialization include prevention of environmentally related developmental disorders and disease in children, cancer prevention through the use of novel biomarkers, environment-susceptibility interactions, and risk assessment. Her recent research is also addressing the multiple impacts on children’s health and development of fossil fuel combustion–both from the toxic pollutants emitted and climate change related to CO2 emissions. She is the author of over 350 publications, including 300 peer-reviewed articles, and has received numerous honors.

Prabhjot Singh, MD, PhD - Associate Professor & Director, Arnhold Institute for Global Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Prabhjot Singh (@prabhjotsinghNY) is Director of the Arnhold Institute and Chair of the Department of Health System Design & Global Health, at the Mount Sinai Health System, as well as Special Advisor for Strategy and Design at the Peterson Center for Healthcare. His work focuses on scalable and sustainable methods that enable networks of community members, neighborhoods and health systems to learn from each other. In 2013, he co-founded the One Million Community Health Worker Campaign with Jeffrey Sachs, which is an initiative of the African Union and UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. In 2016, his Arnhold Institute team, in partnership with the UN Special Envoy’s Office for MDG Financing and the MIT Media Lab launched ATLAS, which leverages satellite technologies to create a new generation of spatial information systems for low-resource, information-poor regions.

More about Prabhjot Singh

Domestically, Singh is the founding technical lead of City Health Works, a Harlem-based social enterprise that is building a financially sustainable and scalable platform for health coaches to improve the outcomes and decrease the costs of care for high need patients. He is a senior advisor to the 100 Million Healthier Lives Campaign, which is building a network of neighborhoods across the country who are discovering scalable methods to improve health.

Previously, Prabhjot was an assistant professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and Director of Systems Design at the Earth Institute. He completed a BA & BS at University of Rochester, an MD at Cornell and PhD in Neural & Genetic Systems at Rockefeller University, with a Post-Doctoral fellowship in Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Young Leader, a Truman National Security Fellow, and term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

His work has been featured or published in The New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, Huffington Post Live, PopTech, TEDx, Brookings Institute, The Daily Beast, PBS (upcoming), Health Affairs, the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.

He is the author of the forthcoming book called Dying and Living in the Neighborhood: A Street-Level View of America’s Healthcare Promise, to be published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Annika Sweetland, DrPH, MSW

Dr. Sweetland completed the T32 Global Mental Health fellowship in 2015 and was awarded an NIMH-funded K01 Mentored Career Development Award to Build Research Capacity in Global Mental Health (2016-2020). She will hold a dual appointment as Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences in Psychiatry through the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. She has a background in clinical social work, public health, sociomedical sciences, and sustainable development. Her research is focused on mental health and poverty, more specifically the intersection of tuberculosis (TB) and depression.

More about Annika Sweetland

Dr. Sweetland is co-founder and co-chair of the TB and Mental Health Working Group at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease and is involved in three ongoing research studies in Brazil exploring 1) the integration of TB and depression treatment in primary care at a systems level (principal investigator), 2) the prevalence of depression among homeless individuals with TB, and 3) and exploring inflammatory biomarkers for depression in the context of active and latent TB. She has previously worked in Peru, Haiti, and Nigeria, and is currently involved in a Fogarty training grant to build mental health research capacity in Mozambique.

Lawrence Yang, PhD - Associate Professor of Global Public Health in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at New York University

Lawrence Yang is Associate Professor of Global Public Health in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at New York University. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Boston University and completed his clinical training at Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts Mental Health Center. Yang’s research focuses on several key areas of psychiatric epidemiology. He has formulated defining theoretical work on how culture relates to stigma and implementing interventions to improve social and symptomatic recovery for different stigmatizing conditions (mental illness and HIV), with a focus on psychosis in Chinese groups.

More about Lawrence Yang

He is PI of a five-year NIMH R01 grant examining the neurocognitive and social cognitive underpinnings of the new “clinical high risk state for psychosis” designation, a potentially transformative new syndrome to detect psychotic signs before symptoms develop into a full psychotic disorder. He has also incorporated these research areas into his work in global mental health, with a particular emphasis on the clinical and cognitive characteristics of untreated psychosis in China. He has sixty-one publications in journals that include Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Psychological Medicine, the British Journal of Psychiatry, and The Lancet. He has received eight Early Career Awards, six of which are national, for his work.

Prudence Fisher, PhD

Dr. Prudence Fisher is a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) and Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatric Social Work in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Fisher served as a Scientific Advisor for the ICD-11 meetings held at Columbia in March 2013 where she provided consultation and leadership on the overall issues of study design, methodology and analysis for the development of the ICD-11 field studies. Dr. Fisher’s expertise is on the development, validation and implementation of assessment methods for mental health conditions. Dr. Fisher played a critical role in the development of the DSM-5 as an advisor to two DSM Work Groups (Childhood and Adolescent Disorders and ADHD and Disruptive Disorders) and three other DSM-5 Study Groups (Diagnostic Assessment Instruments, Impairment and Disability, and Other Conditions that May be a Focus of Clinical Attention) and as the Principal Investigator of one of the DSM-5 Field Trials. Dr. Fisher is currently principal investigator on an NIMH funded grant that addresses the validity of current and proposed diagnostic categories and criteria for child and adolescent psychiatric disorders. . Dr. Fisher will continue to provide leadership on the design and implementation of the ICD-11 field studies.