About The Program

PALOP (Paises Africanos de Lingua Oficial Portuguesa) Mental Health (MH) Implementation Research Training Program


Globally, mental disorders are the top contributors to years lived with disability among those over age 15. This is even more prevalent in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as Mozambique. Over 75% of those with mental disorders in LMICs receive no care despite substantial disability, and when treatment is provided, it is rarely based on evidence-based practices and human rights violations occur frequently. Under the direction of Drs. Wainberg (Columbia University), Oquendo (University of Pennsylvania), and Noormahomed (Universidade Eduardo Mondlane) and in alliance with the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo (UNIFESP) and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH), this program in Mozambique is a North-South and South-South collaboration that will train the next generation of PALOP mental health implementation scientists over the course of a two-year fellowship.

The program has two foci:
  1. Deployment-focused interventions research: With community collaboration, fellows learn adaptation and field-testing of tried and true interventions that address access, valid assessment, effective prevention and treatment.
  2. Intervention dissemination, implementation and services research: Fellows examine how care can be scaled-up within Mozambique’s newly expanding system of MH care.
The program’s components include:
  1. Mentorship
  2. Didactics in research design, statistics, and grant writing
  3. Interventions research training
  4. Participation in design, execution and analysis of research and submission of scientific papers/proposals
  5. Hands-on research experience in task-shifting, stepped-care and access-enhancing strategies through design/implementation of pilot projects
  6. Instruction in responsible conduct of research
  7. Presentation at scientific meetings
  8. Interchange with New York State Psychiatric (NYSPI)/Columbia University and UNIFESP faculty and distinguished researchers in the field

Mozambique can be a model to other PALOP and sub-Saharan African countries as well as other low-resource settings, including the US. This program leverages eight existing fellowships at NYSPI, including a T32 Global MH implementation fellowship, and scholarships from UNIFESP to cultivate a rich learning environment that immerses fellows in a milieu focused on fostering MH locally, regionally, and globally.

About the Grant

The New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYPSI) at Columbia University Medical Center was one of five institutions awarded a total of $5.8 million from the NIH Fogarty International Center to support crucial research training in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Since, our training grant was awarded a renewal for another five years. Five-year grants from the Chronic, Non-communicable Diseases and Disorders Across the Lifespan: Fogarty International Research Training Award (NCD LIFESPAN) program enable LMIC institutions to build expertise, create curriculum in research areas related to non-communicable health problems, and ultimately produce locally relevant, evidence-based interventions. This grant is part of a larger effort by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease, and other groups to reduce the significant burden that neuropsychiatric disorders place on health around the globe.