Conferences & Lectures

Upcoming Events

Apr 2017

Mental Health and Substance Use: Priorities for Practice and Policy | Lima, Peru

Across the world, there is a dramatic shift in how countries are grappling with the devastating impact of substance abuse among their citizens.

A public health model is replacing an enforcement and control model. A very high proportion of people with substance use problems also suffer from other mental disorders. Stigma and discrimination against people with substance use and mental health challenges hinders their access to health services and treatment. And, billions of dollars are being lost annually due to impaired productivity of the workforce.

A specific target of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is to strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol. This one day symposium will address the critical challenges that mental illness and substance abuse pose in the region and around the globe, bringing together thought leaders to discuss greater promotion of innovative strategies and solutions.

Joined by a cross-section of international scholars, researchers, clinicians and public health advocates from around the region, we will engage in dynamic exchange prioritizing mental health policy and practice. As Latin America places increased emphasis on a public health approach, we will look at the most relevant, evidence-based thinking and recommendations for tackling the vicious cycle of inequality resulting from only 2% of the health care budget in the region being allocated to mental health.

This symposium will feature:

Marina Piazza, Renato Alarcón, Dora Blitchtein, Inés Bustamante, Humberto Castillo, Jaime Miranda and Fabiola León Velarde (Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia); Raul González Montero (World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization); Dévora Kestel and Luis Alfonzo (Pan American Health Organization/WHO); Rubén Alvarado and Alberto Minoletti (University of Chile); Thomas F. Babor (University of Connecticut); María Elena Medina-Mora and Guilherme Borges (National Institute of Psychiatry Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz); Julio Calzada (Intendencia de Montevideo); Francisco Cumsille (Independent Consultant); Yuri Cutipé (National Mental Health Program, Peru); Federico Infante (National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs); Kathleen M. Pike, Harold Pincus, Ezra Susser and Milton Wainberg (Columbia Global Mental Health Program); Vladimir Poznyak and Geoffrey M. Reed (World Health Organization) – with opening remarks by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and an introduction by Patrick J. Kennedy.


You can register for this symposium, free of charge, here.

Birds circle the San Francisco Cathedreal in Lima

Birds circle the San Francisco Cathedreal in Lima

04/28/2017 All Day Auditorio 'Hugo Lumbreras,' Casa Honorio Delgado, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Av. Armendariz 445, Miraflores Lima 18 Peru

Past Events

Transferring Knowledge and Adequate Technologies: The Way to Combat Poverty and Make the World Safer


The Infopoverty World Conference, organized by the Observatory for Cultural and Audiovisual Communication in the Mediterranean and in the World (OCCAM), with the patronage of the European Parliament Information Office in Milan, seeks to find the best solutions for translating the vision of a truly global information society into reality, and to launch the concrete message that it is absolutely possible and it is a duty to eradicate poverty and make the world safer. The Conference represents, for its continuity, operational capability and strong interoperability with the UN system, a unique global forum gathering leading experts, academics, opinion leaders, managers, government officials, philanthropists.

Global Mental Health Program Scientific Co-Director Milton Wainberg will participate in the panel discussion: “Health for All: The Role of Telemedicine in Transferring Skills to Villages.”

More information here: Infopoverty World Conference

04/21/2017 10:00 am - 6:00 pm New York, UN Headquarters - Conference Room 12

Course Meeting: Priorities in Global Mental Health

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Instructors: Kathleen Pike, PhD and Tahilia Rebello, PhD

Topic: Ethics & Policy Issues in Global Mental Health

This course 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 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. 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 reducing the burden of mental illness around the globe.

This graduate-level course is open to matriculated Columbia University students. If you would like more information about attending a session as a guest, please contact the Global Mental Health Program at

04/19/2017 8:30 am - 11:20 am

Looking Inward to Create Sustainable Development

Speaker: Jana Zindell, Chief Program Officer, Ubuntu Education Fund
Sponsored by the Social Intervention Group (SIG) and the Global Health and Mental Health Unit of SIG

Jana ZindellThis presentation will focus on the Ubuntu model and delve deep into the issue of intranpreneurship and the importance of empowering local leaders in order to truly create sustainable development models.

As Ubuntu Education Fund’s Chief Program Officer, Jana Zindell oversees the strategic development and implementation of the organization’s programs. She spearheaded the creation of the Ubuntu Model, a strategy rooted in four tenets: individualized cradle to career care, focus on the depth rather than the breadth of impact, sustained institutional investments, and commitment to community partnerships. Jana has since established her unique voice within the nonprofit sector’s global poverty debate as one of increasing significance.

In addition to her programmatic work, Jana created BUILD, an innovative staff empowerment initiative, in 2010; the initiative promotes sustainable leadership, organizational accountability, and increased efficiency. She also served as the Ubuntu Centre Project Manager, coordinating the design of the nonprofit’s 25,000 square foot headquarters in Port Elizabeth’s townships. The Centre has won awards from New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Architecture Magazine. Jana received her Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her Master of Arts in international development and public policy from Georgetown University.


03/31/2017 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm Room C05, Social Work Building, 1255 Amsterdam Ave., NYC

Advocacy, the Role of Academic Health Science Faculty in the Public Policy Arena


Ross A. Frommer, the Vice President for Government and Community Affairs (GCA) and Associate Dean and Sandra Harris, Assistant Vice President for Government and Community Affairs will discuss the role and importance of advocacy and community engagement in our academic healthcare center.  They will also provide insights into the critical function and role of GCA within our medical center and how faculty and other CUMC community members can engage and benefit from the services they provide.

Register here (required) 

About the Office of Government and Community Affairs(GCA): 

GCA coordinates information on services and programs available at the Medical Center campus.  The office responds to and engages community stakeholders, local residents and community based providers as they seek to learn more about the various medical center programs, services, events and activities.  We work with various elected officials, medical associations and other organizations to advocate and educate policy makers on areas of interest of our faculty and staff.”

02/22/2017 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm College of Physicians and Surgeons, 630 W. 168 St., CTSA Classroom 405 A&B (PH, 10th Floor)

Looking Up and Out: Mental Health Reform on Rikers Island

Seminar on Legal and Ethical Issues in Psychiatry and General Medicine 
Speaker: Elizabeth Ford, MD, Chief of Psychiatry, Correctional Health Services and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine

Acknowledging the challenges faced in providing psychiatric care in the country’s second largest jail, this presentation will describe the ongoing evolution of mental health services on Rikers Island, with particular emphasis on innovative and patient-centered reform for individuals with serious mental illness and the redesign of the mental health service to optimize patient care by increasing teamwork and improving staff morale.

This seminar is sponsored by the Division of Law, Ethics, and Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.

02/21/2017 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm New York State Psychiatric Institute, Pardes Building Multipurpose Room (#6602)

“A Son Confronts His Father’s Death”

39th Annual Alexander Ming Fisher Lecture
Speaker: Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University

Please direct inquiries to 212-304-7216 or

No reservation is required to attend this lecture.

02/13/2017 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm Alumni Auditorium (650 West 168th Street, First Floor)

Refugees and Gender Violence: Vulnerability and Resistance (Reframing Gendered Violence Series)


“Rape Trees, State Security and the Politics of Sexual Violence along Migrant Routes in Mexico”

Wendy Vogt, Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis


“Suppliants and Deviants: Gendering the Refugee/Migrant Debate on the EU Border”

Chloe Howe Haralambous, Graduate Student, English & Comparative Literature, Columbia University


“When Home Won’t Let You Stay: A Collective Deliberation on Taking Refuge”

Isin Onol, Curator, Vienna and Istanbul


“Migrants and a New Mothers’ Movement”

Diana Taylor, University Professor, Performance Studies and Spanish and Founding Director, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, NYU


This event is free and open to the public.

Reframing Gendered Violence is a two­-year initiative of Women Creating Change at the Center for the Study of Social Difference, supported by the Dean of the Humanities, the Columbia Global Centers, and linked to the project on “Religion and the Global Reframing of Gender Violence” supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. Columbia is committed to creating an environment that includes and welcomes people with disabilities. If you need accommodations because of a disability, please email in advance of the event. This event will be videotaped.

02/09/2017 4:15 pm - 6:00 pm 523 Butler Library, Columbia University

Longitudinal Follow-Up of RAISE/Connections Participants

Speaker: Yael Holoshitz, MD

Yael Holoshitz, MD is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, and serves as medical director of OnTrackNY Washington Heights Community Service. She also works with the CPI’s Suicide Prevention-Training Implementation Evaluation team, working on treatment development and training in Zero Suicide clinical practices. She is interested in enhancing clinical services through clinician education and implementation of best practices.

The Division of Behavioral Health Services and Policy Research is pleased to announce this Monthly Seminar.


For those attending remotely, please call (866) 776-3553 and use participant PIN# 47072988.

To join the meeting over the web and to view slides using Adobe Connect, click here. To test your connection, especially if you’ve never attended a Connect Pro meeting, click here. For a quick overview of Adobe Connect system, click here.

02/07/2017 12:00 am - 5:00 pm Multipurpose Room (PI 6602)

“When Breath Becomes Air” – A Conversation with Dr. Lucy Kalanithi

Speaker: Lucy Kalanithi, MD

This event is free and open to the public.

For our first Narrative Medicine Rounds in 2017, we welcome Dr. Lucy Kalanithi to the Columbia University Medical Center for a Q&A with the Program in Narrative Medicine’s Creative Director Nellie Hermann. Dr. Kalanithi, MD, FACP, is an internal medicine physician and faculty member at the Stanford School of Medicine in Palo Alto, CA. She is the widow of the late Dr. Paul Kalanithi, author of the New York Times bestselling memoir When Breath Becomes Air, for which she wrote the epilogue. Dr. Kalanithi has special interests in healthcare value, meaning in medicine, patient-centered care, and end-of-life care.

For more information, please visit

02/01/2017 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm Columbia University Medical Center Faculty Club, 630 West 168th Street, 4th Floor

What Have We Learned about Treating Trauma and Substance Use Disorders over the Past 20 Years?


The Division of Behavioral Health Services and Policy Research is pleased to announce the following Monthly Seminar:

Denise Hien, PhD, ABPP

“What Have We Learned about Treating Trauma and Substance Use Disorders over the Past 20 Years?”


Denise Hien, PhD, ABPP, is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Gordon F. Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University, and Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Division on Substance Use Disorders. She and her group conduct programmatic research on women’s mental health and addictions, with continuous funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (19 grants total: 6 R01, 1 multi-site) for over 20 years. Considered a leader in the field, her body of work has contributed to the evidence base on the treatment of women with trauma-related psychiatric disorders and their comorbidity with addictions, through conducting single- and multi-site clinical trials across the United States in community-based substance abuse treatment settings. She currently leads a NIDA R25 training grant for translational addiction research for racial/ethnic minority BS/MD, MA and PhD candidates in the biomedical and social sciences. She is board-certified in clinical psychology and has served as a standing member on NIDA’s NIH Institutional Review Groups and a health disparities advisory group to the Director on Asian/Pacific Islander issues.

For those attending remotely:

CALL IN: 866-776-3553 (Participant pin: 47072988, Pin#02700)

ADOBE CONNECT INFO: To join the meeting on the web to view slides: (NOTE NEW LINK) (If you have never attended a Connect Pro meeting before: Test your connection: Get a quick overview: )

01/10/2017 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Multipurpose Room (PI 6602)