Training

Africa Mental Health Foundation

Mental disorders represent an enormous burden in much of Africa. Environmental factors, such as political violence and poverty, increase risk for mental illness in regions that have extremely limited resources to provide care. The Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health’s collaboration with the Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation aims to provide ongoing opportunities for research and training. With a focus on exploring innovative strategies to improve mental health services in low-resourced environments, our collaboration promises to provide important discoveries that can be implemented in Africa and North America alike.

The Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation

 

Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation (AMHF) is a non-governmental organization, operating in Kenya and the entire East African region, dedicated to research for evidence-based policy, practice and promotion of mental and neurological health, and healthy behavior. The Foundation’s primary research area of focus is community mental health with the aim of providing innovative, appropriate, affordable, available and accessible mental health and substance use services to all Kenyans irrespective of their socio-economic status. It is now the premier Mental Health Research and Resource Centre in the region. It works with Multi-stakeholders of various backgrounds who have something to contribute to mental health in Kenya and other low-income countries. Website: www.africamentalhealthfoundation.org

Collaboration Aims

The Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health has partnered with Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation since 2011 to support research initiatives that address current special needs for Kenya in the field of mental health. The following areas of research represent the collaboration’s research and training priorities:

  • Mental health and aging
  • Suicide
  • Mental health and human rights
  • Peri-natal mental health
  • Disaster and mental health
  • Gender based violence
  • School mental health
  • Prison mental health
  • Mental health in non-communicable and communicable diseases
  • Mental health systems

Scientific Contributions

The collaboration with the Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation has led to significant scientific contributions in the form of scholarly publications. Please see below for a curated list of some joint publications:

Contact Information

For further information on the Columbia Global Mental Health-Africa Mental Health Research and Training Foundation Collaboration, please contact Dr. Tahilia Rebello at [email protected].

CHIMERA

CHIMERA is a five-year (2019–2024) HIV, mental health, and implementation science research training program funded by the Fogarty International Center and the National Institute of Mental Health of the US NIH (D43 MPIs Sohn and Wainberg). CHIMERA aims to address the critical need to build capacity among Asia-Pacific clinicians and researchers to study the intersection between HIV and mental health and integrate care for people living with HIV.

For more information on our Fellows and Mentors, please click here.

Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health

The Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health, formerly the Columbia University Global Mental Health Program, is a center that runs numerous advocacy, research, and training initiatives in global mental health. This center is directed by Dr. Kathleen M. Pike.

The following programs are managed by the Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health:

Research

Advocacy

Training

 

The Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health is supported by an International Advisory Board and Young Professionals Board which contribute philanthropically and programmatically to the center.

To learn more about the Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health, please contact: [email protected]

Global Mental Health Lab

The mission of the Teachers College GMH lab is to play a key role in the efforts to reduce the burden of mental illness and increase wellbeing in resource-poor areas around the world. We do this by generating knowledge through innovative research and by translating this knowledge to develop sustainable mental health services in under-resourced communities. To that end, we conduct training and capacity-building in evidence-based, locally valid, and feasible strategies for prevention and treatment of mental illness. We train colleagues and students in mainstream mental health and clinical psychology research practices along with non-specialists, community health workers, primary care personnel. We also train lay people; we were the first team to demonstrate effectiveness in delivering therapy with trained lay community members in Africa. Finally, we service the international mental health community by providing consultation to international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ministries of Health of a number of countries, etc.

For more information about the Global Mental Health Lab at Teacher’s College, please visit its website.

GMH Scholars Program

Columbia Global Mental Health Scholars are distinguished researchers with expertise in a particular area of mental and behavioral disorders.

Under the auspices of the Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health, the Global Mental Health Scholars Program was founded in 2016 to provide Scholars with an opportunity to expand their research to a global platform. GMH Scholars engage in a broad range of work that advances mental health service delivery and training in their communities. For example, GMH Scholars leverage their areas of expertise (e.g. Mood disorders, Psychotic disorders, Culture & Psychopathology) to provide leadership and support for research related to the development and implementation of the ICD-11. GMH Scholars are also actively leading global research to assess the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the adaptation and dissemination of evidence-based treatments in low-resourced settings. To date, the GMH Scholars Program has supported 18 individuals with representation from numerous countries, including Brazil, India, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Open to postdoctoral scientists, research fellows, and faculty committed to a research career in mental and behavioral disorders, application submissions are accepted on an invitation basis.

 

Current Global Mental Health Scholars

 

Former Global Mental Health Scholars

GMH Summer Institute

The Summer Institute in Global Mental Health is an annual training program designed for mental health and allied specialists, non-specialists, and students working with populations exposed to severe adversities and trauma. Specifically, participants of this 6-day training program learn to use Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Mental Health Gap Humanitarian Intervention Guide (mhGAP-HIG).

The Summer Institute in Global Mental Health is run by the Global Mental Health Lab at Teachers College and aims to:

  • Offer hands-on, interactive learning of the WHO Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy manual focused on the basic principles, strategies, and techniques of Group IPT for treatment of depression and post-traumatic symptoms
  • Build knowledge on how Group IPT is adapted and implemented in low-resource settings for persons affected by extreme adversities.
  • Offer hands-on knowledge of the WHO mhGAP-HIG manual with emphasis on case identification of psychopathology in humanitarian settings
  • Build understanding of basic facts about suicide, acquire skills to adequately assess suicide risk, and develop effective plans to mitigate risk in low-resource regions.
  • Emphasize the crucial role of family participation in the process of treatment and provide effective strategies for family engagement

Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance and Certificate in Group (Level A) Training in Group Interpersonal Therapy.

This year, the Summer Institute in Global Mental Health will be held virtually from May 10- May 15, 2022.

Group IPT training is provided by:

  • Helen (Lena) Verdeli, Ph.D., M.Sc.
  • Kathleen (Kathy) F. Clougherty, L.C.S.W.

WHO mhGap Humanitarian Intervention Guide training is provided by:

  • Peter Ventevogel, M.D., Ph.D.

For more information, please visit the Summer Institute in Global Mental Health website.

 

 

 

Graduate Student Opportunities

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.

The application for the 2022 Summer Global Practica closed on February 28, 2022 at 5pm EST. Applications will be reviewed and interviews will be conducted throughout March 2022.

All questions can be directed to our team at: [email protected] with the subject line “Global Practica _ Question”

 


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.

Health and Aging Policy Fellows

The Health and Aging Policy Fellows Program has a broad interdisciplinary focus and aims to create a cadre of leaders who will serve as change agents in health and aging policy to ultimately improve the health care of older adults. The Program offers (1) a residential track that includes a nine-to-twelve-month placement in Washington, D.C. or at a state agency (as a legislative assistant in Congress, a professional staff member in an executive branch agency or in a policy organization); and (2) a non-residential track that includes a health policy project and brief placement(s) throughout the year at relevant sites. Non-residential fellows may focus their policy project at a community, state, federal or global level. The fellowship program is now offering dedicated slots with a special focus on community, global and behavioral health.

Fellows are selected based on their commitment to health and aging issues, leadership potential, and interest in impacting policy. Applicants from groups that historically have been underrepresented are strongly encouraged to apply at the Health and Aging Policy Fellowship website.

Collaboration Aims

HAP Fellows provide high profile contributions to policy and legislation during the fellowship. Post-fellowship, many engage in joint projects (funded through opportunity grants) and become actively involved in health policy at national and local levels. These activities have a sustained impact on the program, and our growing and very dynamic alumni network is pursuing important future initiatives in a rapidly changing health and aging policy environment to benefit the lives of older Americans.

For further information on these activities, please contact: Kathleen M. Pike, PhD ([email protected])