Leadership Team

The GMHP at Columbia is an inter-disciplinary, collaborative effort. Program leadership is supported by a scientific leadership team composed of faculty from the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology.

Chair

Kathleen M. Pike, PhD - Chair of the Global Mental Health Programs at Columbia University, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Capacity Building and Training in Global Mental Health at Columbia University

Dr. Kathleen M. Pike is Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and The Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). She serves as Chair of the Global Mental Health Programs, Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Capacity Building and Training in Global Mental Health at Columbia University, and Deputy Director of the Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program.  She is also Senior Supervising Psychologist in the Center for Eating Disorders at CUMC.  Dr. Pike has lived and worked in both Japan and Italy and has collaborated on numerous multisite trials focused on translational science and capacity building in mental health.  She has held a Faculty Fulbright Award for research on eating disorders, an area of expertise where Dr. Pike has led pioneering work on risk factors, treatment development and dissemination. Dr. Pike serves as the Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and is a Trustee of the International Rescue Committee.

Steering Committee

Claude Ann Mellins, PhD - Co-Director of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies

Dr. Claude Ann Mellins is Co-Director of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies and Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and in the NY State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Mellins is also Co-Director of the Office of Clinical Psychology for CUMC psychologists functioning in clinical roles throughout the medical center and is a Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry and Sociomedical Sciences) at Columbia University. She is a clinical psychologist with research and clinical expertise in psychosocial aspects of HIV disease, substance use, and stress and trauma in children, adolescents, young adults and families in the US and globally. In addition to her research, Dr. Mellins co-founded and co-directed the Special Needs Clinic at New York Presbyterian Hospital, one of the first and largest mental health clinics for HIV-infected women, children, adolescents and families.

Robert H. Remien, PhD - Director of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies

Dr. Robert H. Remien is Director of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies and Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and in the NY State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Remien is also Associate Director of the Division of Gender, Sexuality, and Health, a faculty mentor for HIV Center Postdoctoral Fellows, and the Clinical Director of Behavioral Health for the Northeast Caribbean AIDS Education and Training Center (AETC), at CUMC. His research is focused on mental health and health behaviors, and he has developed and tested several behavioral interventions in both domestic and international settings.  He has served as Chair for the New York State Psychological Association’s Task Force on AIDS, a member of the New York City’s Department of Health Prevention Planning Group, and senior faculty for the American Psychological Association’s HIV training program for psychologists. Dr. Remien served as Data Committee Co-Chair for the NY State Governor’s Ending the HIV Epidemic Task Force and continues to serve on the NY State AIDS Advisory Council Ending the HIV Epidemic Committee.

Kai Ruggeri, PhD

Dr. Kai Ruggeri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management. Kai joined Columbia from the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, where he directed the Policy Research Group that he founded in 2013. He studies how policy influences population behavior, and how integrating behavioral evidence into policies can improve economic outcomes and population well-being. His teaching is primarily in analytics and decision-making as well as in behavioral and managerial economics. His current projects involve a number of behavioral policy studies focusing on large-scale data related to economic choices and related outcomes. Partners include local and national governments, non-profit organizations, industry, and other academic institutions, in New York, various parts of the US, and abroad. He is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Business Research at the Judge Business School and Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. Kai also directs the Junior Researcher Programme, a global initiative for early career behavioral scientists.

Harold Pincus

Harold Pincus, MD - Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia

Harold Pincus is Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Co-Director of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia University and Director of Quality and Outcomes Research at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Pincus is recognized globally for his work on classification of disorders and evidence-based strategies for quality improvement in healthcare delivery.

More about Harold Pincus

Dr. Pincus also serves as a Senior Scientist at the RAND Corporation and is the National Director of the Atlantic Philanthropies’ Health and Aging Policy Fellowship. Dr. Pincus has edited or co-authored 23 books and over 300 scientific publications. His primary research interests are in the practice of evidence-based medicine, quality improvement and the relationships among general medicine, mental health, and substance abuse, developing and empirically testing models of those relationships. He has led major health policy and services research and research training projects totaling over $100 million in external funding. He is the Principal Investigator of the congressionally mandated National Evaluation of Mental Health Services for Veterans, along with multiple other projects related to health care quality and patient safety, health system evaluation and comparative effectiveness research.

Internationally, Dr. Pincus has been involved in the International Initiative of Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL), leading an initiative of 12 countries to develop a framework for measuring the quality of mental health care and, ultimately, implement a benchmarking process, and collect data on the quality indicators emanating from the framework among participating countries. Currently, he is also serving as the co-chair of the WHO Quality and Safety Topic Advisory Group for the development of the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases. This document will be used worldwide as the standard for coding medical conditions. The Advisory Group works across all clinical chapters and advices on optimizing the entire classification’s content, structure and coding rules to enable better measurement of quality and patient safety.

Geoffrey M. Reed, PhD - Co-Director of WHO Collaborating Centre for Capacity Building and Training in Global Mental Health at Columbia University

Dr. Geoffrey Reed is Professor of Medical Psychology at CUMC and Co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Capacity Building and Training in Global Mental Health. He has served as Senior Project Officer for the Development of ICD-11 Mental and Behavioural Disorders, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization since 2008. He founded the WHO Global Clinical Practice Network (http://gcp.network), comprising 15,000 mental health and primary care professionals from 156 countries contributing directly to ICD-11 through participation in field studies. He is a founder of the Center for Global Mental Health Research, a collaboration of the National Institute of Psychiatry Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz, Mexico, the Faculty of Psychology, National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the World Health Organization. He has received numerous awards, most recently the Robert L. Spitzer Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Nosology and Diagnosis from the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry and the Outstanding International Psychologist Award from the Division of International Psychology, American Psychological Association.

Susser Ezra

Ezra Susser, MD, DrPH - Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia

Ezra Susser is on Faculty in the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology. He has worked on program initiatives around the globe. His primary focus is currently on innovative treatments that increase capacity to treat individuals with severe and persistent mental illness in low-resource communities and advancing the civil rights of individuals with mental disorder.

More about Ezra Susser

Dr. Susser is also the director of the Imprints Center for Genetic and Environmental Lifecourse Studies, which promotes collaborative research and intellectual exchange among investigators studying developmental origins in birth cohorts around the globe. Dr. Susser is a member of a number of organizations such as the American Epidemiological Society, American College for Epidemiology, Society for Epidemiologic Research and the American Psychopathological Association. Dr. Susser is a Scientific Advisory Board Member of SHARE—Regional Network for Mental Health in South Asia and is the chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Genomic and Epigenomic Complex Disease Epidemiology Grant. He is involved in a lot of work with autism, including being a Scientific Advisory Board Member of Autism Speaks and a special advisor for the Global Autism Health initiative and is involved in international Autism cohort studies.

Dr. Susser focuses on examining the role of early life experience in health and disease throughout the life course. His work has focused on the relation of early nutritional deficiency to child and adult neurodevelopmental mental disorders, and the potential for periconceptional micronutrient supplements to reduce the risk of these disorders. He has also conducted investigations of other prenatal exposures (infectious, toxic) that may influence risk of neurodevelopmental disorders. Much of Dr. Susser’s early work focused on the course of schizophrenia and especially on social outcomes. In his early research career, he was involved in follow-up studies of psychoses in the United States and across the globe, including the WHO International Study of Schizophrenia. He also conducted studies of homelessness and its prevention among patients with schizophrenia. This work included the development and testing of the initial version of Critical Time Intervention (CTI) for prevention of recurrent homelessness.

Dr. Susser is editor of the International Journal of Epidemiology and on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. He is lead author of the main textbook on psychiatric epidemiology, titled “Psychiatric Epidemiology”, published in 2006. Dr. Susser won the Rema LaPousse Award for outstanding contributions to psychiatric epidemiology in 2011, has been recognized as the Anna Cheskis Gelman and Murray Charles Gelman Professor and has served as the Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health in the past.

Melissa Arbuckle, MD, PhD - Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Melissa Arbuckle, MD, PhD is Vice Chair for Education and Director of Resident Education in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Arbuckle’s interests focus on the role of medical education in advancing the translation of research into the practice of psychiatry.

Dr. Arbuckle is a principal investigator on Columbia’s NIH funded R25 Research Track (along with Drs. David Leonardo and Harold Pincus). This program, “Priming the Pump: Training Physician‐ Scientists in Translational Neuroscience,” aims to support the development of physician‐scientists who are dedicated to translational research in psychiatry. As part of her effort to expand the translation of basic neuroscience to clinical practice, Dr. Arbuckle is also co‐chair of the National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative (NNCI), an NIH funded collaboration to create, pilot, and disseminate a comprehensive set of shared resources to help train psychiatrists to integrate a modern neuroscience e perspective into their clinical work.

In bridging patient‐oriented and population‐based research, Dr. Arbuckle has been extensively involved in developing quality improvement (QI) training programs for residents in psychiatry. Her training program in QI has been recognized as a “model curriculum” by the Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training. Dr. Arbuckle is also a principal investigator (along with Dr. Milton Wainberg) 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.

Lena Verdeli, PhD - Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia

Dr. Verdeli is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and director of the Teachers College Global Mental Health lab. She has received federal and foundation funding to study psychotherapy for prevention and treatment of mood disorders, and has been playing a key role in landmark studies involving adaptation, training, and testing of psychotherapy packages used by non-specialists (primary care staff, community health workers, etc). Her work involved depressed adults in southern Uganda; war-affected internally displaced (IDP) adolescents in northern Uganda and IDP women in Colombia; distressed patients in primary care in Goa, India; depressed community members in Haiti; and war-affected Syrian refugees in Lebanon, among others.

More about Lena Verdeli

Dr. Verdeli is a Scientific Advisory Council member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Scientific Advisory Board of Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. She received the American Psychological Association International Psychology Division Mentoring Award and chaired the research workgroup of the Family NGO at the UN. She is currently a consultant with the WHO on global dissemination of psychosocial treatments.

Milton Wainberg

Milton L. Wainberg, MD - Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia

Milton L. Wainberg, MD, is an Investigator and Research Scientist, Intervention Science Core Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Director of Medical Education, HIV Mental Health Training Project. He is a Scientific Co-Director, Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University and Director, Global Mental Health T32 and D43 Research Fellowships. Milton is also Principal Investigator, PRIDES sSA – Partnerships in Research to Implement and Disseminate Sustainable and Scalable Evidence Based Practices in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

More about Milton L. Wainberg

Milton is a Venezuelan, American and Brazilian researcher, clinician, and educator whose work has focused on bringing research to practice within public mental health systems of care and on training the next generation of mental health clinicians and researchers. Dr. Wainberg has led a research portfolio concentrating on the intersection of HIV and mental health (funded by NIMH, NIAAA, NIDA and CDC). This work – conducted among some of the most vulnerable populations (adults and adolescents with mental illness and substance use disorders) and in both the US and Latin America – has brought evidence-based HIV prevention interventions to mental health care systems. Dr. Wainberg research also addresses the burden of mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries as Principal Investigator of two NIH global mental health training grants, one focused in the US and the other in sub-Saharan Africa, and an NIMH funded sub-Saharan Africa hub that combines mental health implementation science capacity building in five countries (Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia), and a large population-based implementation study examining best strategies to bring comprehensive mental health care in three Provinces in Mozambique, a country with about 26 million inhabitants and 13 local psychiatrists. The goal of these innovative training and research programs is to decrease the global mental health treatment gap as well as the global mental health research gap. Dr. Wainberg has expanded the reach of his efforts across cultures and geographical regions that include resource-poor areas of the U.S.; Central and South America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela); sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Malawi, Mozambique, San Tome, South Africa and Zambia); and Europe (Spain).

Tahilia Rebello, PhD

Dr. Rebello is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. She also works jointly on the staffs of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Global Mental Health at Columbia University, as Research Program Manager, and the WHO, in the capacity of Project Coordinator for the Global Clinical Practice Network – an international network of over 10,000 health professionals established as part of the development of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Dr. Rebello also provides scientific and logistical support to the Tohoku Theater Project, an initiative that uses theater as a means of broaching post-disaster mental health concerns and stigma among survivors of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan. Dr. Rebello holds a BSc in Physiology, from McGill University. She is trained as a neuroscientist, and completed her doctoral work in the field of developmental psychobiology and pharmacology at Columbia University. Her research focused on understanding the way in which early-life events, specifically those that impact the levels of serotonin in the brain, affect the development of brain regions implicated in anxiety and depression. Her transition from the basic sciences to population-level mental health, included an internship with WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, where she contributed to the 2011 Mental Health Atlas Project and suicide prevention initiatives. Dr. Rebello also established and served as Program Director for the health education division for a non-profit clinic in NYC, directed several women’s health initiatives and advocacy campaigns as part of the V-Day Movement, and developed and taught a foundational course for undergraduates, on the biology of affective disorders, at Columbia Medical Center.

Lisa B. Dixon, MD, MPH - Professor of Psychiatry

Lisa Dixon, M.D., M.P.H., is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center, where she directs the Division of Behavioral Health Services and Policy Research and the Center for Practice Innovations (CPI) at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Dixon is an internationally recognized health services researcher with over 25 years of continuous research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the VA and foundations. As CPI director, she oversees activities for the New York State Office of Mental Health in implementing evidenced based practices in behavioral health programs throughout the state. She leads the innovative program, OnTrackNY, a statewide initiative designed to improve outcomes and reduce disability for the population of individuals experiencing their first episode of psychosis, and is adapting this program to the Chilean context as OnTrackChile.

Cristiane Duarte, PhD, MPH - John P. Lambert, M.D. Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry; Co-Director of New York-Presbyterian Youth Anxiety Center in Washington Heights

Dr. Cristiane Duarte is an Associate Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University – New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Duarte’s research is based on innovative population-based studies about the development of mental disorders in children, adolescents and young adults. Through the use state-of-the art sampling, recruitment and culturally appropriate assessment methodologies, she has sought to generate knowledge of relevance to diverse, often underserved and understudied populations. Currently, she is a leader of the Boricua Youth Study, the only multi-national source of information about how mental disorders develop from childhood to young adulthood in a Latino subgroup (Puerto Ricans).

Myrna Weissman, PhD - Diane Goldman Kemper Family Professor & Chief of the Division of Epidemiology (in Psychiatry)

Dr. Weissman is Chief of the Division of Epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI). Her current research is on understanding the rates and risks of mood and anxiety disorders using methods of epidemiology, genetics, neuroimaging, and the application of these findings to develop and test empirically based treatments and prevention intervention. She directs a 3-generation study of families at high and low risk for depression who have been studied clinically for up to 25 years and who are participating in genetic and imaging studies. She also directs a multi-center study to determine the impact of maternal remission from depression on offspring. She is participating in several studies of the genetics of mood and anxiety disorder. She directs a study of psychiatric disorders in a poor minority patient population in primary care. Along with her late husband, Gerald Klerman, she developed and tested interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). Her book outlining the method has been translated into 5 languages. An international society of researchers and clinicians using IPT was formed several years ago. Her current interest is in bringing psychiatric epidemiology closer to translational studies in the neurosciences and genetics.