GMH T32 Research Fellowship

The Columbia University Research Fellowship in GMH (T32) provides postdoctoral training to the next generation of Global Mental Health scientists.

The fellowship’s focus is two-fold:

  1. deployment-focused interventions research, whereby fellows learn how to develop interventions suited for deployment in resource poor areas. In addition, fellows acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for adapting efficacious interventions to diverse settings with the help of community collaborators. These interventions directly address components of prevention, recognition, assessment, and treatment, and are field tested for efficiency and clinical utility
  2. intervention dissemination, implementation, and services research, which teaches fellows the process of  translating mental health preventions, assessments, and treatment interventions to specific LMIC settings and study outcomes.  Under the direction of Milton Wainberg, MD and Maria Oquendo, MD, this fellowship is open to individuals who have received their doctorate (or medical) degree at the time of appointment, have a record of academic excellence, and have demonstrated a commitment to a career GMH research.

T32 Program Directors & Principal Investigators:

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).

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.


T32 Training Director

Jean-Marie E. Alves-Bradford, MD

To learn more about this Fellowship, please click:

Columbia University T32 Fellowship

T32 Seminar Coordinator

Andre Fiks Salem

André Fiks Salem is an undergraduate student at Columbia University class of 2019 majoring in Neuroscience & Behavior and following the premedical track. André is Seminar Co-Coordinator for Milton Wainberg’s T32 Global Mental Health Implementation Fellowship. Previously, he was a research intern in Martin Chalfie’s molecular biology lab on C. elegans mechanosensation. André is interested in the integration of mental health to standard healthcare in scalable, efficient, and sustainable strategies, using local communities in low- and middle-income countries.

T32 Global Mental Health Research Fellowship

The T32 Global Mental Health Research Fellowship is a post-doctoral research fellowship directed by Drs. Milton Wainberg, Maria Oquendo and Melissa Arbuckle. This fellowship is open to individuals who have received their doctorate (or medical) degree at the time of appointment, have a record of academic excellence, and have demonstrated a commitment to a career GMH research. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, T32 GMH Research Fellows receive two or three years of funding.

Sara Davaasambuu, PhD

Dr. Davaasambuu is a third year T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Columbia GMHP. Sara’s research focuses on depression and suicide prevention interventions for adolescents in low- and middle-income countries, especially Central and East Asian countries. Sara is currently conducting a needs assessment for a school-based adolescent suicide prevention programming in Mongolia. This assessment will inform the development of a targeted intervention for Mongolian adolescents by adapting an existing evidence-based program for future feasibility testing and pilot study.  Sara received her MSW from Washington University in Saint Louis and her Doctorate in Public Policy analysis from St. Louis University. Her dissertation examined obesity among schoolchildren in the US, and the influences of neighborhoods and built environment associated with such public health issues, using the ‘National Survey of Children’s Health,’ one of the largest health data sets collected in the US. Sara has 6 years of clinical practice experience working as a mental health social worker for mentally ill individuals in both community and hospital settings in the US.

Liat Helpman, PhD

Dr. Helpman is a second year T32 fellow with the GMHP at Columbia. She is currently involved in the OSITA program in Bogota, Colombia, making evidence based stepped-care mental health interventions accessible to internally displaced women. Her research focuses on individual differences in reactivity to traumatic stress, and she is part of Dr. Yuval Neria’s trauma team at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, working on using biomarkers and behavioral paradigms to further study mechanisms driving such differences. Dr. Helpman holds a BA in Psychology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MA in Clincal Psychology from Columbia University. She completed her Clinical Psychology doctoral work at Bar Ilan University in Israel, where she explored individual differences in endocrine and emotional reactivity to social stress.

Karen Johnson, PhD, MSW

Dr. Karen Andrene Johnson research interests focus on improving the lives of sheltered and undomiciled homeless women in New York and other urban settings. Specifically, she is interested in examining how co-morbid risks, such as justice involvement, sexual risk behaviors, mental health and substance abuse, combine synergistically to contribute to homelessness among impoverished women. She is also interested in adapting interventions proven efficacious in “real world” practice settings specifically for this population to reduce initial and recurring homelessness and increase quality of life. Under the mentorship of Drs. Nabila El-Bassel and Milton Wainberg, Dr. Johnson is currently exploring cumulative risk factors that propel vulnerable and stigmatized women into homelessness. These include, but are not limited to justice involvement, depression and other mental health disorders, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors.

More about Karen Johnson

Dr. Johnson has served as an Associate Research Scientist and a co-investigator for a RO1 National Institute of Drug Abuse study with the primary aim of reducing sexual risk behavior among justice-involved women (N=420), 50% of whom had a history of homelessness prior to the start of the study. She currently serves as a co-investigator for a multi-site study (with Yale University and the University of Rochester) funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (N=200). The primary aim of this study is to reduce sexual risk behavior among women recently released from jails and prisons. Dr. Johnson is also an Office of Mental Health Policy Scholar and is in the process of implementing a qualitative study with formerly homeless women (N=30) and practitioners (N=10) in criminal justice, clinic and shelter settings.

Dr. Johnson obtained her PhD in Social Work Administration from Columbia University.

Kate L. Lovero

Kate Lovero is a second year T32 postdoctoral fellow with the GMHP.  Dr. Lovero uses a community-based participatory research approach to identify best practice for implementing evidence-based treatments for adolescent mental illness in low-resource settings. Currently, she is collaborating with the Ministry of Health in Mozambique to develop and pilot services for adolescent mental illness integrated within primary care. Prior to her work at Columbia, Dr. Lovero was a Global Health Equity Scholar and Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she worked to define barriers to care and develop improved services for maternal-child health.  Dr. Lovero earned her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco, where she examined the molecular structures required for normal synapse development.

Jennifer Mootz, PhD

Dr. Jennifer Mootz earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology from Texas Woman’s University in 2015. A licensed psychologist, she completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship with the Southwest Consortium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her research interests concern pathways between gender-based violence and armed conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, mental health outcomes of the same, and behavioral interventions that target indirect pathways. Funded by the Fogarty International Center and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at National Institutes of Health, she was a former Postdoctoral Fellow with the Global Health Equity Scholars Program at the Yale School of Public Health. During this fellowship, she lived in Uganda to complete a mixed methods project regarding prevalence, risk factors, and mental health outcomes of intimate partner violence in conflict-affected communities in Northeastern Uganda. Jennifer was honored to receive two awards from APA Divisions of Counseling Psychology (International Section) and International Psychology for her research in Uganda and be identified as one of 35 psychologists globally for the Emerging Psychologist Program at the International Congress of Psychology 2016. Jennifer is now a T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Global Mental Health at Columbia University.

Pamela Scorza

Dr. Pamela Scorza is interested in the prevention of mental disorders and promotion of mental wellness. Her current research focuses on mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of risk for poor mental health in contexts of adversity. Specifically she is examining epigenetic and behavioral pathways of intergenerational transmission in a multi-generational longitudinal study of Puerto Rican youth. Dr. Scorza earned a Doctor of Science degree at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, where she was part of a research project adapting a family-based intervention to prevent mental disorders in children in families affected by HIV/AIDS in rural Rwanda.