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.

Director

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

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 Director of the Global Mental Health Program 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 develop 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.

Scientific Co-Directors

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 - Visiting Professor; Senior Project Officer, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization

Dr. Geoffrey Reed is Senior Project Officer for the Revision of ICD-10 Mental and Behavioural Disorders Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization. In this role, he manages activities related to the development of the chapters on Mental and Behavioural Disorders for the Eleventh Revision of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11). Dr. Reed is also a founder of the Centre for Global Mental Health Research, a collaboration between the Faculty of Psychology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the National Institute of Psychiatry “Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz”, Mexico, and the World Health Organization.

More about Geoffrey Reed

The Centre works to develop scientific and clinical competencies to improve the identification and treatment of people in need of mental health services in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Latin America, through the development of research and teaching initiatives with a special focus on interventions across the life span, and psychotic, affective, anxiety and substance use disorders.

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.

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).