Global Mental Health University Seminar on Migration and Mental Health

On January 27, 2020, Drs. Manuela Orjuela-Grimm and Roberto Lewis Fernandez presented at the first Global Mental Health University Seminar for Spring 2020. Their presentation focused on Dr. Manuela Orjuela-Grimm’s research study CAMINANDO, which examines the diet, living conditions and risk and protective factors for post migration health in adolescent migrants from Latin America settling in New York. Dr. Lewis Fernandez, who joined the study as a mental health advisor, is supporting Dr. Orjuela-Grimm’s team to address risk factors for mental health among these migrant youth with support from the Small Grants Program under the Columbia Global Mental Health Programs.

This University Seminar overviewed the pathways to the United States of migrant youth in the study population, provided data to support the connections between diet, living conditions, and risk for poor health among adolescent migrants, and explained how comprehensive qualitative research about the background can inform health outcome assessments. Drs. Orjuela-Grimm and Lewis Fernandez also described the novel tool that they are creating to assess mental health outcomes among post-migration youth with a focus on risk and protective factors throughout their migration.

This presentation illustrated the clear need to advance research aimed at understanding the key population of adolescent migrants in order to not only continue research on their health and mental health outcomes, but provide social services to support youth’s resilience throughout their migration and once they arrive in New York.