GMH T32 Research Fellowship

The Columbia University Research Fellowship in GMH (T32) provides postdoctoral training to the next generation of Global Mental Health scientists.

The fellowship’s focus is two-fold:

  1. deployment-focused interventions research, whereby fellows learn how to develop interventions suited for deployment in resource poor areas. In addition, fellows acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for adapting efficacious interventions to diverse settings with the help of community collaborators. These interventions directly address components of prevention, recognition, assessment, and treatment, and are field tested for efficiency and clinical utility
  2. intervention dissemination, implementation, and services research, which teaches fellows the process of  translating mental health preventions, assessments, and treatment interventions to specific LMIC settings and study outcomes.  Under the direction of Milton Wainberg, MD and Maria Oquendo, MD, this fellowship is open to individuals who have received their doctorate (or medical) degree at the time of appointment, have a record of academic excellence, and have demonstrated a commitment to a career GMH research.

T32 Program Directors & Principal Investigators:

Maria A. Oquendo, MD

Maria A. Oquendo, M.D. is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, Vice Chair for Education, Director of Residency Training at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Her areas of expertise include the diagnosis, pharmacologic treatment and neurobiology of Bipolar Disorder and Major Depression, with a special focus on suicidal behavior as well as cross-cultural psychiatry. Dr. Oquendo graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University in 1980 and received her M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in 1984.

More about Maria A. Oquendo

She completed her residency in Psychiatry at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Oquendo is the principal investigator on several NIMH funded projects: a prospective study of suicidal behavior in patients with affective disorders, a training grant for Translational Neuroscience and a training grant in Global Mental Health. She is also a co-investigator on four other NIMH-funded research studies examining the neurobiology of suicidal behavior or mood disorders.

Dr. Oquendo teaches at Columbia University. Dr. Oquendo is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and a member of American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry, American College of Psychiatrists, Association of Women Psychiatrists and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

She is on the Scientific Advisory Council of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She has authored or co-authored over 220 peer-reviewed articles. She is the recipient of many awards. Examples include Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (1993); Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill for Commitment to Multicultural and Underserved Communities (2002); Gerald Klerman Award from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (2005); National Hispanic Medical Association Hispanic Health Leadership Award (2009); Sociedad Espanola de Psiquiatria, Miembro de Honor (2009); Simon Bolivar Award, American Psychiatric Association (2010);Rafael Tavares Award, Association of Hispanic Mental Health Providers (2010) and she was named Honorary Professor, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru in 2011.

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.

T32 Training Director

Melissa Arbuckle, MD, PhD- Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry

Dr. Melissa Arbuckle is the Co-Director of Resident Education in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Arbuckle’s research interests focus on the intersection between education, mental health services, and evidence-based practices. As a 2009-2012 New York State Office of Mental Health Policy Scholar she has been exploring the implementation of standardized patient assessments and measurement-based care in the clinical practice of residents in training. Dr. Arbuckle’s research seeks to understand and eliminate barriers that prevent the translation of research knowledge into high quality patient care. She directs the Quality Improvement curriculum for the residency training program.

To learn more about this Fellowship, please click:

Columbia University T32 Fellowship

T32 Global Mental Health Research Fellowship

The T32 Global Mental Health Research Fellowship is a post-doctoral research fellowship directed by Drs. Milton Wainberg, Maria Oquendo and Melissa Arbuckle. This fellowship is open to individuals who have received their doctorate (or medical) degree at the time of appointment, have a record of academic excellence, and have demonstrated a commitment to a career GMH research. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, T32 GMH Research Fellows receive two or three years of funding.

Catherine (Cady) Carlson, PhD

Dr. Carlson is a T32 Fellow in the Columbia Global Mental Health Program.  Her research focuses on violence against women and mental health in low- and middle-income countries.  She received her PhD in Social Work from Columbia University, where she conducted her dissertation on community factors contributing to the prevention or promotion of intimate partner violence against women in Kampala, Uganda.  Her current research examines family violence in Uganda, and the development of a family-based prevention intervention to prevent violence and promote mental health.  She has worked as a program manager and consultant for gender-based violence prevention and response programs in humanitarian and development settings in Asia and Africa.  She holds a MSW from the University of Georgia and a BA in Sociology from Emory University.

Sara Davaasambuu, PhD

Dr. Davaasambuu is a third year T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Columbia GMHP. Sara’s research focuses on depression and suicide prevention interventions for adolescents in low- and middle-income countries, especially Central and East Asian countries. Sara is currently conducting a needs assessment for a school-based adolescent suicide prevention programming in Mongolia. This assessment will inform the development of a targeted intervention for Mongolian adolescents by adapting an existing evidence-based program for future feasibility testing and pilot study.  Sara received her MSW from Washington University in Saint Louis and her Doctorate in Public Policy analysis from St. Louis University. Her dissertation examined obesity among schoolchildren in the US, and the influences of neighborhoods and built environment associated with such public health issues, using the ‘National Survey of Children’s Health,’ one of the largest health data sets collected in the US. Sara has 6 years of clinical practice experience working as a mental health social worker for mentally ill individuals in both community and hospital settings in the US.

Liat Helpman, PhD

Dr. Helpman is a second year T32 fellow with the GMHP at Columbia. She is currently involved in the OSITA program in Bogota, Colombia, making evidence based stepped-care mental health interventions accessible to internally displaced women. Her research focuses on individual differences in reactivity to traumatic stress, and she is part of Dr. Yuval Neria’s trauma team at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, working on using biomarkers and behavioral paradigms to further study mechanisms driving such differences. Dr. Helpman holds a BA in Psychology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MA in Clincal Psychology from Columbia University. She completed her Clinical Psychology doctoral work at Bar Ilan University in Israel, where she explored individual differences in endocrine and emotional reactivity to social stress.

Sabrina Hermosilla, PhD

Dr. Hermosilla is a first year T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Columbia Global Mental Health Program. She has extensive global research experience designing and conducting primary and secondary analytic studies. Her current research interests focus on measurement issues related to mental health implementation science in emergency and low-resource settings and the intersection with social determinants of health. Dr. Hermosilla’s research portfolio has included collaborations with Plan International, Save the Children International, World Vision International, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, along with numerous local institutions. She completed her PhD in Epidemiology, MIA and MPH at Columbia University, holds an MS from The City College of New York, and a BA from Colgate University.