About The Program

There are a number of opportunities for students to get involved in global mental health research, training, and advocacy initiatives at Columbia. All of the graduate student opportunities listed on this website are available for students enrolled in a graduate school program at Columbia University.

 

Global Practica Program

The Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health offers a range of practica experiences that are coordinated with the Center’s on-going general research programs. Applicants MUST be enrolled in a Columbia University graduate program in Psychology, Social Work, Public Health, or Medicine to apply.

Applications for 2024 are now open and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The priority deadline for the application is March 4 at 5pm EST. Any questions can be directed to [email protected].

2024 Practica Opportunities

American University of Beirut | Clinical Psychology Training Program (aub.edu.lb)
Details: We are seeking a student interested in international mental health specifically with Arab populations. Specifically, we are seeking a student with basic knowledge in psychopathology and psychotherapy processes, who is also knowledgeable in research (such as conducting literature reviews, collecting data, and entering data sets, basic data analysis, writing research manuscripts). Opportunities include supporting various research initiatives within the Clinical Psychology Program.
Skills: fluent in English, Arabic and /or French is a plus.
Duration: 6 months
In Person/Remote: In Person
Number of Students: 1 student
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Brigitte Khoury and Dr. Geoffrey Reed

National Institute of Psychiatry, Mexico City, Mexico
Details: The National Institute of Psychiatry in Mexico is the most prominent institution on Mexico’s public mental health and mental health research system. The Institute has a long history of collaboration with our Center, including Global Mental Health placements. Active areas of collaboration include the evaluation of models for workforce training in WHO’s new system of classification for mental disorders, as well as a range of other projects in global mental health. This summer, the main project would be focused on developing and evaluating the Spanish version of an ICD-11 structured interview, and its application for patient use.
Skills: Student must have Spanish language skills
Duration: 6 months
In Person/Remote: In Person
Number of Students: 1 student
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Geoffrey Reed

2023 Practica Opportunities

Global Action 4 Mental Health
Details: The Global Action 4 Mental Health is initiating a community mental health program in Bungoma, Kenya. In addition to it being a first of its kind program in Bungoma County, it will serve as a pilot project which is designed to be a replicated throughout Kenya. The project goal is to work with local universities to develop a baseline study of mental health status among adults in Bungoma, Kenya. In the first phase the student responsibilities are working from an off site location with researchers and public health officials at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology and Kibabii University in Kenya and with Global Action 4 Mental Health in the United States, to contribute to the collection and analysis of health and mental health data and other population data as a preliminary step in establishing the clinic.
Skills: Research skills; an understanding of how to collect quantitative and qualitative data; familiarity with epidemiological data and related public health policies.
Duration: 6 months
In Person/Remote: In Person and Remote (New York City and Bungoma, Kenya)
Number of Students: 2 students

Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China:
Details: Shanghai Mental Health Center (SMHC) is the largest mental health center in the People’s Republic of China and a major center for mental health research. SMHC has a long history of collaboration with our Center. Active areas of collaboration include the development and testing of structured interviews for mental disorders in community and clinical samples, as well as a range of other projects in global mental health. Specific potential projects can be discussed during the application process.
Skills: Student must have familiarity with the Chinese language
Duration: 6 months
In Person/Remote: In Person
Number of Students: 1 student

National Institute of Psychiatry, Mexico City, Mexico:
Details: The National Institute of Psychiatry in Mexico is the most prominent institution on Mexico’s public mental health and mental health research system. The Institute has a long history of collaboration with our Center, including Global Mental Health placements. Active areas of collaboration include the evaluation of models for workforce training in WHO’s new system of classification for mental disorders, as well as a range of other projects in global mental health. Placement can include a portion of the time being spent at the Condesa Specialized Clinic, which primarily provides HIV prevention and treatment services to the LGBT+ population in Mexico City and engages in a number of research projects, including a focus on treatment compliance. Specific potential projects can be discussed during the application process.
Skills: Student must have Spanish language skills
Duration: 6 months
In Person/Remote: In Person
Number of Students: 1 student

WHO ICD-11 studies:
Details: Support the development of large-scale, global studies related to mental health diagnosis and its interaction with sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual health. Studies will be implemented to members of WHO’s Global Clinical Practice Network, a global network of 18,000+ clinicians improving mental health care worldwide.
Skills: Familiarity with programming and Qualtrics is desirable but not required
Duration: 3 months
In Person/Remote: Remote
Number of Students: 1-2

Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation:
Details: participate in different stages of project development, while supporting collaborators from the Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation in addressing intimate partner violence (IPV) in Kenya. Students will conduct a review of IPV services women receive, analyze qualitative data and mixed methods data, review relevant scientific literature, design informational or promotional materials to be disseminated in the field, present the collected data, and draft a manuscript.
Skills: Familiarity with qualitative and quantitative research
Duration: 3 months
In Person/Remote: Remote
Number of Students: 1-2

Mental Health in the Workplace:
Details: development of a multidimensional index assessing organizational capacity to address mental health in the workplace. This study has multiple components and provides the opportunity for students to contribute to scoping reviews, synthesis of data, and public facing materials.
Duration: 3 months
In Person/Remote: Remote
Number of Students: 1-2

Adolescent and Young Adult Mental Health:
Details: 2 adolescent and young adult related projects. The first project is qualitative data from Botswana assessing perceptions of mental health among caregivers and their children to inform a psychosocial support intervention. The second project is NYC based and is assessing experiences with discrimination and how that relates to psychosocial and overall health outcomes among adolescents and young adults.
Duration: 3 months
In Person/Remote: Remote
Number of students: 1

Mental health in a reproductive health setting with Roots of Health:
Details: Roots of Health /Ugat ng Kalusugan (ROH) is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the health of women and girls, and their communities, in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, in the Philippines. The organization’s primary objective is to empower women and young people to live healthy reproductive lives in Palawan, Philippines. We improve women’s reproductive health and decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies and HIV incidence by providing sexuality health education and access to modern contraceptives through our clinical services program. Our activities are guided by the international human rights framework, which includes a core belief that health is a human right, and activities are carried out using a community-based approach. ROH has been operating in Palawan for nearly 14 years, providing reproductive health programs and services to reduce teen pregnancy and HIV.
The student will review relevant literature on mental health training needs for non-mental health staff in health settings. In collaboration with faculty at Mailman they will compile evidence, with a focus on work implemented in a similar setting, to provide recommendations. Based on findings and feedback from staff, will have opportunity to adapt and develop training curriculum and potentially support grant writing activities related to project. The student will produce the following deliverables: community engagement and service provision; educational curriculum; educational trainings and workshops; literature reviews.
Skills: Knowledge and experience in literature reviews and mental health interventions an asset but not required. Relevant experience in organizational trainings desirable. Must be able to synthesize and present information quickly and be an effective communicator.
Duration: 2 months (6/1/2023-7/31/2023)
In Person/Remote: In Person (Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines)
Number of Students: 1 student

Sanctuary Institute / Andrus
Details: Critically review and provide guidance on an updated trauma-informed curriculum to be delivered in non-mental health organizations to spark organizational change and promote safety and recovery through creating a trauma-informed community. Student will build from literature review being conducted during Spring 2023 documenting best practices in trauma-informed trainings, to review existing Sanctuary Institute curriculum, critically assess areas for modification, and suggest updated content. Student may be engaged in limited additional literature reviews and curriculum development. Potential to observe current curriculum in action based on partner availability. Engagement in a five-day on-site training with the current curriculum at Andrus in New York along with engagement with in-person meetings with Andrus and Sanctuary Institute staff are also planned.
Skills: Student should have excellent organizational practices and attention to detail; strong self-management skills; interest in mental health – although previous experience not required; and previous experience with health curriculum development an asset.
Duration: 2 months (6/1/2023-8/1/2023)
In Person/Remote: In Person (New York)/Remote
Number of Students: 1 student


2022 Global Practica Students

2021 Global Practica Students

2020 Global Practica Students

2019 Global Practica Students

2018 Global Practica Students

2017 Global Practica Students

Student Opportunities During the School Year

During the school year, the Columbia University Seminar Series on Global Mental Health invites scholars and community leaders to speak about their work in the global mental health field.

All upcoming University Seminars and other relevant events can be viewed on the Calendar page.

Individuals can subscribe here to receive email reminders for upcoming Seminars.

 

Courses and Programs

There are opportunities for graduate students at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Teachers College to take courses and join programs related to global mental health. Please check the official course directory for each Columbia school to confirm current registration availability for courses listed below.

 

Mailman School of Public Health Master’s Program and Courses

Master’s Program

Students applying to any of the department disciplines of the MPH program, other than Biostatistics, can apply for the Certificate in Global Health program at the time of application to the school. Directed by Dr. Anne Paxton, this Certificate program offers students coursework and practical experience — including a required six-month overseas practicum — that will prepare them for a career in the global health arena. Individuals interested in pursuing postgraduate education and training in Global Mental Health should consider pursuing an MPH with a Certificate in Global Health. Get more information about this program here.

Students who are in the Epidemiology discipline of the MPH program might also be interested in the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training (PET) Program led by Global Mental Health Steering Committee member Dr. Ezra Susser, which encompasses topics in global mental health.

 

Graduate Courses in Global Mental Health

The courses here have been offered in recent semesters; please check the official course directory to confirm current registration availability.

Priorities in Global Mental Health (Spring Semester)

Primary Instructors: Kathleen Pike, PhD and Tahilia J. Rebello, PhD
Priorities in Global Mental Health is a collaborative, team-taught course that provides an overview of critical issues in mental health and mental illness worldwide. Around the globe, mental and neurological conditions are the leading cause of disability. These disorders know no political bounds, and the burden of mental disorders on low- and middle-income countries is especially great given the enormous gaps in public understanding and services for mental health. It is estimated that 76% – 85% of people with mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries receive no treatment for their disorders, and even in high-income countries 35%-50% of such individuals never receive care. Historically, the global health agenda has prioritized communicable and noncommunicable diseases other than mental health; however, the data now unequivocally and overwhelmingly point to the essential need to make mental health an integral component of the global health agenda. In Priorities in Global Mental Health, through class readings, projects and discussions, students will have the opportunity to learn about essential current issues, discuss innovative collaborations, and critically examine strategic initiatives aimed at promoting health reducing the burden of mental illness around the globe.
Get more information about this course here.

 

Mental Health Policy (Fall Quarter 2)
Instructor: Kathleen Pike, PhD
This course provides an overview of the history of mental health policy in the United States, the nature of mental illness and effective intervention, and the elements of mental health policy. We will discuss the components of the mental health service system, mental health finance, the process of policy making, population-based mental health policies, and mental health in health policy reform. Students are expected to be able to understand the range of mental health illnesses/populations, to explain the concerns about quality, access, and cost of mental health services as well as the workings of policy mechanisms such as financing as they are applied to mental health. They are also expected to understand mental health policy considerations in current health care reform debates.
Get more information about this course here.

 

Mental Health Policy in the Global Context (Spring Quarter 1)
Instructor: Kathleen Pike, PhD
This course provides an overview of critical policy issues impacting mental health and mental illness worldwide and explores how mental health policy can improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the globe.  Historically, the global health agenda has prioritized communicable and non-communicable diseases other than mental health; however, the data now unequivocally and overwhelmingly point to the essential need to make mental health an integral component of the global health agenda. This course will take a case study approach to examining broad principles and specific experiences related to mental health policy in different context. Through critical readings of current literature, class discussions, small-group projects, and writing assignments, students in this course will have the opportunity to learn about strategic priority issues in the field and critically examine policy initiatives aimed at promoting mental health and reducing the burden of mental illness around the globe.

Get more information about this course here.

 

Psychosocial and Mental Health Issues in Forced Migration

Instructor: Mike Wessells, PhD

Contemporary armed conflicts and complex humanitarian emergencies create significant mental health burdens and psychosocial suffering that damages health and well-being, limits development, and enables cycles of violence. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, this course examines the sources of psychosocial vulnerability and resilience in situations of forced migration and analyzes what kinds of emergency psychosocial and mental health interventions are most effective, appropriate, and scalable. It reviews broadly the current state of knowledge and practice, surveys practical tools of holistic psychosocial and mental health support in emergency settings, and analyzes the current limitations of the field. The course probes how issues of culture and power shape understandings and measures of mental health and psychosocial well-being, and it invites critical thinking about the implications of the “Do No Harm” imperative in regard to psychosocial and mental health supports. It also encourages thinking about how psychosocial support relates to wider tasks of humanitarian relief, economic and political reconstruction, protection, and peace building.

Get more information about this course here.

 


Teachers College Master’s Program and Courses

Master’s Program

Individuals interested in the specific strategies related to clinical approaches and evidence-based treatments in low-resource communities, should consider pursuing a more clinical track through the MA program in Psychology and Education offered through the Department of Clinical & Counseling Psychology at Columbia’s Teachers College (TC). Students enrolled in the General Track (PsyG) of this MA program can elect to concentrate their studies in the closely related fields of Global Mental Health & Trauma. The Global Mental Health & Trauma concentration is under the direction of Dr. Helena (Lena) Verdeli and Dr. George Bonanno, who lead the Global Mental Health and Trauma labs at TC, respectively. Get more information about this program here.

 

Graduate Courses in Global Mental Health

The courses here have been offered in recent semesters; please check the official course directory for each Columbia school to confirm current registration availability.

Introduction to Global Mental Health (Fall Semester)

Instructor: Lena Verdeli, PhD

This is a foundation course in global mental health and includes topics central to research, practice, and policy of common and severe mental health conditions around the globe with emphasis on under-resourced regions. It encourages learners to think critically about the cultural, clinical, research, and ethical assumptions of the global mental health field.

Get more information about this course here.