Congratulations to the 2021-2022 Council Grant Recipients

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021-2022
Global Mental Health Council Grants Program.

Thanks to the continued enthusiasm and support of members of the Columbia Council for the Advancement for Global Mental Health Research, this program will fund its third cohort of researchers, who are are working to better understand local health systems and enhance treatment for individuals experiencing complex, and at times chronic, mental health conditions.


Rogerio Mulumba, MD, Iruma Bello, PhD, Lisa Dixon, MD, MPH, & Milton L. Wainberg, MD
Development of a Recovery-oriented Psychosocial Treatment Model for Individuals with Schizophrenia in Mozambique.

In Mozambique, schizophrenia is the leading cause for hospitalizations in psychiatric units and the second leading cause for seeking psychiatric services. However, the national mental health system is still being developed and expanded. There is an insufficient number of trained mental health providers to meet the mental health needs and a heavy reliance on antipsychotic medication as treatment. Furthermore, cultural attitudes towards mental illness and traditional healing methods lead to the use of mental health services primarily for crisis situations. Given this context, we aim to engage community members in research to 1) identify local attitudes towards treatment of and recovery from schizophrenia; 2) convene a workgroup to develop culturally-resonant psychosocial interventions that can complement medication management; and 3) assess if the intervention is well-received by providers at a local community health center. This data will help to refine the intervention and inform future implementation plans for testing feasibility and acceptability more broadly.

Annika Sweetland, DrPH, MPH, & Francine Cournos, MD
Exploring Patients’ and Provider’ Perspectives on Managing the Complex Multimorbidities of TB, HIV, Common Mental Disorders and Substance Use Disorders within Primary Care in Mozambique.

Tuberculosis (TB), HIV, and common mental and substance-use disorders are frequently co-occurring and negatively synergistic. HIV, mental, and substance-use disorders are risk factors for TB; TB and HIV are risk factors for mental and substance-use disorders; the combination of having multiple chronic health conditions (multimorbidities) is associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and increased infectious disease transmission. While integrating mental and medical care to address these conditions is considered essential, little is known about addressing these concerns in low- and middle-income countries, as 95% of multimorbidity research comes from high-income countries and has a very different focus on co-occurring, non-infectious diseases in an aging population. This study aims to build on lessons from high-income countries by adapting a multimorbidity framework for low- and middle-income countries. In doing so, an integrated strategy for addressing TB, HIV, and common mental and substance-use disorders in Mozambique can be developed.

Christina Mehranbod, MPH, Jeremy Kane, PhD, MPH, Kim Hekimian, PhD, & Christopher Morrison, PhD, MPH
Post-war, Mid-pandemic: A Mixed Methods Study of Alcohol Consumption Patterns and Alcohol Use Environment of Young Adults in Yerevan, Armenia.

In 2020, Armenia experienced the compounding impact of a devastating war, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a continued high rate of premature death. Conflict, crises, and instability are often associated with the increased risk of unhealthy alcohol use. Low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC) are disproportionately affected by the consequences of unhealthy alcohol use. The goal of this research is to identify opportunities for preventive intervention to reduce alcohol use and related harms in Armenia. This research project will 1) assess the distribution and density of alcohol outlets and alcohol advertisements in the neighborhoods of Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia; 2) explore youth adults’ perceptions, views, behavioral norms, and cultural contexts related to alcohol use and mental health; and 3) examine health care providers’ views of potential screening and intervention methods to address unhealthy alcohol use in young adults. This research has the potential to inform programming and policies to develop affordable interventions that reduce unhealthy alcohol use and improve mental health.

Jennifer Mootz, PhD, & Michael Wessells, PhD
Implementation Mapping of Digitized Mental Health Services for Urban Internally Displaced People in Mozambique.

An escalating religious insurgency in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado has resulted in almost 2,000 civilian deaths and 674,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) who have migrated to the neighboring Nampula Province and provincial capital. Nampula City, host to the largest number of IDPs in Nampula Province, is the central hub where two federally funded studies, in partnership with the Mozambican Ministry of Health, are taking place to increase comprehensive public mental health care using technology and to tailor mental health care to address social determinants and additional vulnerabilities, such as exposure to intimate partner violence, among IDPs. We propose to leverage these two existing studies and further respond to the unmet mental health needs of urban IDPs in Nampula City. We aim to 1) deepen our understanding of mental health needs and community members’ perceptions of digital mental health services for urban IDPs; and 2) develop a coordinated strategy to implement community-based, digitized mental illness detection and treatment among urban IDPs. The findings from this study will represent a low-cost, community-informed, digitized mental health care strategy that could be relevant for use among urban IDPs in other low- and middle-income countries.


Please join us in congratulating this year’s grant recipients.

We are grateful to all Council Members, who each make an annual contribution to support this work, and collectively, ensure a better future for mental health globally.

For inquires regarding the Columbia University Global Mental Health Council Grants Program, please click here to visit the Program page.