Leadership Team

The GMHP at Columbia is an inter-disciplinary, collaborative effort. Program leadership is supported by a scientific leadership team composed of faculty from the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology.

Director & Scientific Co-Director

Kathleen Pike, PhD - Director & Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia

Kathleen Pike is on faculty in the Departments of Psychiatry, Epidemiology and Psychology at Columbia University where she serves as Director and Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Pike works globally examining risk factors for mental illness and has lead diverse initiatives to reduce stigma associated with mental disorder as well as clinical
training and education to expand capacity in evidence supported psychotherapy for mental disorders.

More about Kathleen Pike

Dr. Pike has held academic and administrative university appointments in both the United States and Japan and is recognized internationally for her work in the area of eating disorders. Dr. Pike has conducted pioneering work in the area of risk factors for eating disorders and she developed a widely disseminated treatment program for anorexia nervosa that has demonstrated effectiveness in multiple clinical studies. Dr. Pike actively consults to programs around the world on the implementation of evidence-based treatment for eating disorders and has received awards for her clinical service and teaching. She recently served as consultant to the American Psychiatric Association DSM-5 task force on cultural factors associated with the clinical presentation and risk factors of eating disorders. She also serves on the Feeding and Eating Disorders Working Group for the World Health Organization revision of the International Classification of Diseases.

Dr. Pike earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Johns Hopkins University and her doctoral degree at Yale University. Upon completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University, Kathy joined the faculty at Columbia University in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology where she also served as Clinical Co-Director of the Eating Disorders Research Unit. During her tenure in Japan, Kathy lived and worked in Tokyo, Japan where she served as Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean for Research at Temple University in Japan and Visiting Professor at Keio University. She has published extensively and has maintained an ongoing research program supported by grants and awards from NIH, NIMH, Fulbright Foundation, McArthur Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Japanese Ministry of Education, Japan Society and other private foundations.

Dr. Pike served as co-chair of training and education for the Academy for Eating Disorders and is a Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders and a founding member of the Eating Disorders Research Society. She currently serves on the editorial board for three journals in the field of eating disorders and is on the Board of Directors for the World Federation for Mental Health. She is the founding chair of the US-TELL Foundation and for over a decade she served as vice-chair of the Board of Directors for TELL in Japan, the only accredited mental health center dedicated to serving the needs of the international community in Japan. She also served as vice chair of the Asian University for Women Support Foundation Board of Directors, launching the first residential liberal arts college for women in Bangladesh that draws students from across South and Southeast Asia.

Scientific Co-Directors

Harold Pincus

Harold Pincus, MD - Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia

Harold Pincus is Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Co-Director of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research at Columbia University and Director of Quality and Outcomes Research at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Pincus is recognized globally for his work on classification of disorders and evidence-based strategies for quality improvement in healthcare delivery.

More about Harold Pincus

Dr. Pincus also serves as a Senior Scientist at the RAND Corporation and is the National Director of the Atlantic Philanthropies’ Health and Aging Policy Fellowship. Dr. Pincus has edited or co-authored 23 books and over 300 scientific publications. His primary research interests are in the practice of evidence-based medicine, quality improvement and the relationships among general medicine, mental health, and substance abuse, developing and empirically testing models of those relationships. He has led major health policy and services research and research training projects totaling over $100 million in external funding. He is the Principal Investigator of the congressionally mandated National Evaluation of Mental Health Services for Veterans, along with multiple other projects related to health care quality and patient safety, health system evaluation and comparative effectiveness research.

Internationally, Dr. Pincus has been involved in the International Initiative of Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL), leading an initiative of 12 countries to develop a framework for measuring the quality of mental health care and, ultimately, implement a benchmarking process, and collect data on the quality indicators emanating from the framework among participating countries. Currently, he is also serving as the co-chair of the WHO Quality and Safety Topic Advisory Group for the development of the 11th version of the International Classification of Diseases. This document will be used worldwide as the standard for coding medical conditions. The Advisory Group works across all clinical chapters and advices on optimizing the entire classification’s content, structure and coding rules to enable better measurement of quality and patient safety.

Susser Ezra

Ezra Susser, MD, DrPH - Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia

Ezra Susser is on Faculty in the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology. He has worked on program initiatives around the globe. His primary focus is currently on innovative treatments that increase capacity to treat individuals with severe and persistent mental illness in low-resource communities and advancing the civil rights of individuals with mental disorder.

More about Ezra Susser

Dr. Susser is also the director of the Imprints Center for Genetic and Environmental Lifecourse Studies, which promotes collaborative research and intellectual exchange among investigators studying developmental origins in birth cohorts around the globe. Dr. Susser is a member of a number of organizations such as the American Epidemiological Society, American College for Epidemiology, Society for Epidemiologic Research and the American Psychopathological Association. Dr. Susser is a Scientific Advisory Board Member of SHARE—Regional Network for Mental Health in South Asia and is the chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Genomic and Epigenomic Complex Disease Epidemiology Grant. He is involved in a lot of work with autism, including being a Scientific Advisory Board Member of Autism Speaks and a special advisor for the Global Autism Health initiative and is involved in international Autism cohort studies.

Dr. Susser focuses on examining the role of early life experience in health and disease throughout the life course. His work has focused on the relation of early nutritional deficiency to child and adult neurodevelopmental mental disorders, and the potential for periconceptional micronutrient supplements to reduce the risk of these disorders. He has also conducted investigations of other prenatal exposures (infectious, toxic) that may influence risk of neurodevelopmental disorders. Much of Dr. Susser’s early work focused on the course of schizophrenia and especially on social outcomes. In his early research career, he was involved in follow-up studies of psychoses in the United States and across the globe, including the WHO International Study of Schizophrenia. He also conducted studies of homelessness and its prevention among patients with schizophrenia. This work included the development and testing of the initial version of Critical Time Intervention (CTI) for prevention of recurrent homelessness.

Dr. Susser is editor of the International Journal of Epidemiology and on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. He is lead author of the main textbook on psychiatric epidemiology, titled “Psychiatric Epidemiology”, published in 2006. Dr. Susser won the Rema LaPousse Award for outstanding contributions to psychiatric epidemiology in 2011, has been recognized as the Anna Cheskis Gelman and Murray Charles Gelman Professor and has served as the Chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health in the past.

Milton Wainberg

Milton L. Wainberg, MD - Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia

Milton L. Wainberg, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Scientific Co-Director of the Global Men­tal Health Program at Columbia University. He is a Latino research psychiatrist who is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and has been involved in HIV, mental health and substance use research and clinical activi­ties since the late 1980s. He is the Medical Director of the Columbia University HIV Mental Health Training Project and the Chair of the Mental Health HIV Clinical Guidelines Committee, NYS Department of Health, AIDS Institute. He has worked to adapt HIV prevention interventions for Brazilian and South African psychiatric patients and written HIV-related policy for the South African mental health care system.

More about Milton L. Wainberg

His research experience combines community based participatory research, formative work, risk behavior and substance use/abuse assessment, intervention adaptation, development, piloting, efficacy-testing and implementation, capacity building and training and leading research teams with investigators from different disciplines and expertise in collaborative research work that focuses on enhancing real-world clinical treatment. He is the Principal Investigator of an NIMH T32 fellowship focused on Global Mental Health (GMH) implementation intervention research (T32MH096724) specifically addressing the GMH treatment gap, and an NIMH/Fogarty International Center (D43TW009675) mental health implementation research capacity building in Mozambique.

Lena Verdeli, PhD - Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia

Dr. Verdeli is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, and director of the Teachers College Global Mental Health lab. She has received federal and foundation funding to study psychotherapy for prevention and treatment of mood disorders, and has been playing a key role in landmark studies involving adaptation, training, and testing of psychotherapy packages used by non-specialists (primary care staff, community health workers, etc). Her work involved depressed adults in southern Uganda; war-affected internally displaced (IDP) adolescents in northern Uganda and IDP women in Colombia; distressed patients in primary care in Goa, India; depressed community members in Haiti; and war-affected Syrian refugees in Lebanon, among others.

More about Lena Verdeli

Dr. Verdeli is a Scientific Advisory Council member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Scientific Advisory Board of Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. She received the American psychological Association International Psychology Division Mentoring Award and chaired the research workgroup of the Family NGO at the UN. She is currently a consultant with the WHO on global dissemination of psychosocial treatments.