Victor Puac-Polanco, MD, DrPH

  • Former Global Mental Health Scholar

Dr. Puac-Polanco is a Dean’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. Building on his previous work on psychiatric epidemiology in Guatemala, Dr. Puac-Polanco focuses his research on the translational implications of detecting and treating behavioral health problems in low- and middle-income countries. Specifically, estimating the costs of untreated common mental disorders from a societal perspective, simulating and assessing policy implementation effects in various parts of the world. Dr. Puac-Polanco received his Medical Degree from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala in 2009, his Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 2012, and his Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2020.

Dr. Puac-Polanco actively participates in the Global Mental Health Scholars Program seminar series and interacts with other scholars to create collaboration opportunities. He is currently developing a proposal for a research career development award under Dr. Ronald C. Kessler (HMS), Dr. Kathleen M. Pike, and Dr. Geoffrey M. Reed’s mentorship. Dr. Puac-Polanco proposes to study the specific symptoms that improve and worsen in response to common antidepressants and create baseline symptom profiles of participants more likely to respond to each drug. If this proposal is granted, it will lead Dr. Puac-Polanco on the path towards an independent research career using advanced machine learning methods to create depressive symptom profiles.

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