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 will require innovative thinking, multidisciplinary collaboration, and strategic initiatives.
The GMH University Seminar engages faculty from across multiple departments at Columbia; it provides the opportunity for intellectual discourse on the essential issues in global mental health; and it serves as a seminal component of the multidisciplinary program in global mental health at Columbia University. In addition, it aims to facilitate professional collaborations and contribute to the field by hosting programs that address and advance the scientific, policy, and practical aspects of making mental health a core component of the global health agenda.
The GMH University Seminar is part of the University Seminars of Columbia University. Officially launched in 1944, the University Seminars was the vision of Professor Frank Tannenbaum, a long serving Columbia faculty member. The purpose of the University Seminars is to support the convening of individuals committed to exchanging ideas and exploring topics that no single department has the breadth or agility to study alone. To learn more about the University Seminars, visit: http://universityseminars.columbia.edu/
University Seminar: Silvia Martins
Violence, Mental Health and Early Childhood Development in Brazil: Initial Findings from a Collaborative Study
Speaker: Silvia Martins, MD, PhD • Co-Director, Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Program
Dr. Silvia S. Martins is a faculty member of the Psych-Neuro cluster of the Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is the co-director of the NIDA T32 Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Program in the department and the Course Director of Principles of Epidemiology (P6400). She is also the Department of Epidemiology Co-Investigator of the IMSD program at Columbia. She has co-authored more than 130 peer reviewed epidemiological and substance abuse journal articles, served as PI or MPI of multiple NIH funded grants. Notable recent findings have focused on recent trends in marijuana use, the relationship of perceived availability of marijuana with medical marijuana laws, traffic fatalities and medical marijuana laws and increasing trends in heroin use and heroin use disorder in the general U.S. adult population. She has received several awards for her research and mentoring, including, in 2011, the Award for pioneering efforts in gambling research, in 2013, the Columbia President’s Global Innovation Fund and more recently, in 2017, the Columbia University Mailman’s School of Public Health Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. Her current research focuses on consequences of medical marijuana laws in the U.S, recreational marijuana laws in Uruguay, prescription drug monitoring programs, social media and marijuana, and gambling and impulsive behaviors among minority adolescents in the U.S. She has been continuously funded by NIH since 2006 as a Principal Investigator.
University Seminar: Helle Harnisch
The Soldier Must be Buried: Experiences of Appetitive Aggression, Avoidance, and Ways of Belonging among Former Forcibly Recruited Children and Youth
Speaker: Helle Harnisch • PhD Researcher, Danish Center for Prevention of Radicalization – The Danish Police
Helle Harnisch has a BA from Frederiksberg teacher training college in Denmark, and has in her years as a practitioner worked with at risk children and youth. After her masters in Educational Psychology, Helle became a PhD Fellow at Aarhus University, department of Education and Danish Institute Against Torture. Through qualitative, ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, surveys and video in the Acholi region of northern Uganda, her PhD explored resilience, mobilization and reintegration processes among children and youth associated with armed forces or groups. Today Helle still focuses on themes of radicalization, perpetration, survival, aggression, urge to kill, demobilization and in-and exclusion processes as a researcher at the Centre of Prevention of Radicalization with the Danish police.
University Seminar: Anne Becker
Expanding Youth Mental Health Care Access in LMICs: Lessons from a School-Based Study in Haiti
Speaker: Anne Becker, MD, PhD • Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Science
Anne E. Becker, MD, PhD, SM is the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). An anthropologist and psychiatrist, Dr. Becker has been lead investigator on a series of studies demonstrating the relationship between media exposure and eating pathology in the small-scale indigenous population of Fiji. In addition, Dr. Becker’s NIMH-funded research has investigated the impact of rapid economic and social transition on eating pathology, suicide, and other youth health risk behaviors in Fiji. She and her co-PI, Pere Eddy Eustache, have recently completed a school-based youth mental health pilot intervention in central Haiti with NIMH funding. Dr. Becker is founding and past Director of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, former associate editor of the International Journal of Eating Disorders, past president of the Academy for Eating Disorders, and served as a member of the American Psychiatry Association’s DSM-5 Eating Disorders Work Group as well as vice chairperson of their Council on International Psychiatry. She received the 2013 Price Family Award for Research Excellence from the National Eating Disorders Association and in 2014 received the Mentorship Award in recognition of “Exceptional Mentorship of Women Faculty” at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Becker served as vice chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine from 2009-2016 and is also past director of the HMS MD-PhD Social Sciences program; she presently serves on the Leadership Council of the Harvard/MIT M.D.-Ph.D. Program.
University Seminar: Cady Carlson
Exploring attitudes on school-based interventions to address the mental health services gap for children and adolescents in Uganda
Speaker: Cady Carlson, PhD • Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama, School of Social Work.
Dr. Cady Carlson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama, School of Social Work. Her research broadly focuses on violence and mental health in low- and middle-income countries. Funded by a K01 Early Career Investigator Award from NIMH, her current research aims to implement mental health services within a violence prevention program in Ugandan schools. As a former T32 Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University’s Global Mental Health Program she led a mixed-methods study on family violence and mental health in Uganda. She has several years experience working for gender-based violence and child protection programs in humanitarian and development settings. She received her PhD from Columbia University School of Social Work, MSW from the University of Georgia, and a BA from Emory University.
University Seminar: Sara Gorman
The Psychology of Healthcare Decision Making (or How and Why We Fail to Do What the Data Tell Us?)
Speaker: Sara E. Gorman, MPH, PhD • Co-founder & CEO of Critica LLC
Sara Gorman, PhD, MPH is a public health and behavioral science expert and author based in New York. She has written extensively about global health, psychology, behavioral science, and mental health, among other topics. Her work has appeared or been reviewed in TIME, The New Yorker, Science, Scientific American, PLoS Medicine, Psychology Today, The Atlantic, New York Magazine,Daily Kos, and NPR, among others. Sara’s first book, Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us, was published by Oxford University Press in September 2016. The book examines the psychology of healthcare decision making and theorizes about public perception of risk. It includes tips for the general public about how to discriminate between valid and invalid science and pointers for public health professionals and doctors on how to communicate with people who don’t believe what science has taught us about health. A Chinese translation of the book will be released in June 2018.
University Seminar: Dan Stein
Global Mental Health Meets Neuroscience: Synergy and Opportunity
Speaker: Dan Joseph Stein, BSc (Med), MB ChB, FRCPC, FRSSAf, PhD, DPhil • University of Capetown Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Visiting Professor of Pyschiatry at Mt. Sinai Medical School
Dan J Stein is Professor and Chair of the Departmentt of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town, Director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit on Anxiety Disorders, and Visiting Professor of Psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Medical School in New York. He is interested in the psychobiology and management of the anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and related, and traumatic and stress disorders. He has also mentored work in other areas that are of particular relevance to South Africa and Africa, including neuroHIV/AIDS and substance use disorders.
Dan did his undergraduate and medical degrees at the University of Cape Town, and his doctorate (in the area of clinical neuroscience) at the University of Stellenbosch. He trained in psychiatry, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship (in the area of psychopharmacology) at Columbia University in New York. His training also includes a doctorate in philosophy. He is inspired by the way in which psychiatry integrates science and humanism, and contributes to addressing some of the big questions posed by life.
Dan’s work ranges from basic neuroscience, through clinical investigations and trials, and on to epidemiological and cross-cultural studies. He is enthusiastic about the possibility of clinical practice and scientific research that integrates theoretical concepts and empirical data across these different levels. Having worked for many years in South Africa, he is also enthusiastic about establishing integrative approaches to services, training, and research in the context of a low and-middle-income country.
Dan has authored or edited over 30 volumes, including Cognitive-Affective Neuroscience of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, and The Philosophy of Psychopharmacology: Smart Pills, Happy Pills, Pep Pills. Dan’s work has been continuously funded by extramural grants for more than 20 years. He is a recipient of CINP’s Max Hamilton Memorial Award for his contribution to psychopharmacology, and of CINP’s Ethics and Psychopharmacology Award for his contribution to the philosophy of psychopharmacology.
Understanding the Perspectives of Survivors of Human Trafficking on their Experiences in Shelter care in Cambodia
Speaker: Laura Cordisco Tsai, PhD, MSSW • Assistant Professor in Social Work, Columbia University
Dr. Laura Cordisco Tsai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work. Dr. Tsai’s research interests lie in the areas of human trafficking and gender-based violence, with a particular interest in economic empowerment interventions for people at risk for trafficking and those who have been trafficked. As a mixed methods researcher, she integrates quantitative, qualitative, and participatory approaches in her research. Dr. Tsai recently completed a financial diaries study with women who were trafficked into sex work in the Philippines. She also recently finished collaborating with colleagues at Columbia University on a randomized trial evaluating the impact of a microsavings intervention on the sexual risk behavior and economic situation of women working in sex work in Mongolia. Dr. Tsai has over 10 years of social work practice and research experience pertaining to human trafficking, gender-based violence, and economic empowerment interventions, primarily in the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, and Mongolia. She holds a BA from Brown University (magna cum laude) and MSSW and PhD from Columbia University.
Fountain House: Improving the Health of People with Serious Mental Illness: The Case for Community
Speakers: Ralph Aquila, MD • Medical Director, Fountain House
James Knickman, PhD • Derzon Clinical Professor, NYU Robert F Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
As a community psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Aquila has helped thousands of indigent New Yorkers living with some of the most serious forms of mental illness, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He pioneered the concept of a “health home” long before it gained popularity in the rest of the country. At the Sidney R. Baer Jr. Health Center, where Dr. Aquila is Director, Fountain House members receive comprehensive medical and behavioral health services at one state-of-the-art centralized location. Dr. Aquila is largely responsible for establishing and growing Fountain House’s wellness program, which addresses disturbing statistics that demonstrate people with mental illness live on average 25 years less than the general population. Studies also confirm they have higher smoking and substance abuse rates, poor diets, greater exposure to infectious diseases, are less physically active, lack education about healthy alternatives, and suffer from endocrine, neurologic, cardiovascular side effects and weight gain from antipsychotic medications. The wellness program’s goals are to create a health-conscious culture at Fountain House and to introduce a broad array of wellness practices into the life of the community, offering education and resources so members can make healthy life-choices.
James Knickman is the Derzon Clinical Professor at the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Dr. Knickman will serve as Director of the Health Evaluation and Analytics Program (HEAP), a joint initiative of the Wagner Health Policy and Management Program and the NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health. Jim will also have faculty appointment at the NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Knickman was previously the president and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation, a position he held since May, 2006. The Foundation focuses on high impact interventions to bring about measurable improvements in New York’s health system. Prior to that appointment, Dr. Knickman was Vice President for Research and Evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). At RWJF, Dr. Knickman served on the executive group that set strategy and made decisions related to a $400 million annual grant-making agenda, with specific duties focused on management of grant-making in the research and evaluation areas comprising approximately 25% of the foundation’s activities. Prior to RWJF, Jim was Professor of Health Policy and Health Administration at NYU Wagner. Dr. Knickman serves as a board member of the National Council on Aging in Washington, D.C., and of Philanthropy New York. He is a member of Fordham College’s Board of Visitors, the national advisory committee of the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services, and the external advisory committee of the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy. He has published extensive research on issues related to the financing of health care and long-term care and improving services for frail elders, homeless families, and individuals with HIV. Dr. Knickman is the co-author of a widely used textbook on health policy and management. Dr. Knickman received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Psychology from Fordham University and his Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Pennsylvania.
Child Psychiatry in a Least Developing Country: The Only Child Psychiatrist in Nepal Shares His Experience
Speaker: Arun Raj Kunwar, MD • Chief Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Kanti Children’s Hospital, Nepal; President, Psychiatric Association of Nepal
Dr. Kunwar, is the only practicing Child and Adolescent (C&A) Psychiatrist of Nepal. He completed M.D. in Adult and General Psychiatry (2003) and Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University at Syracuse, NY, USA. He was fulltime Research Assistant Professor at SUNY (2005 to 2009) at SUNY and during that period he was awarded “The Pilot Research Award” by American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 2005 and “Young Investigator Award” (NARSAD) 2008.
He moved back to Nepal and started full time practice in July of 2009. When he came back in 2009, there was only one half day a week C&A Psychiatry (CAP) clinic in whole of Nepal, which saw less than fifty patients in a year. Dr. Kunwar in collaboration with The Government of Nepal’s only Children’s Hospital has established fulltime CAP outpatient clinic which saw more than 2600 patient last year. Dr. Kunwar is in progression to develop first CAP Department which will house first CAP Psychiatry inpatient unit of Nepal and will also function as training site to develop more manpower. He aims to start CAP training program in Nepal in next couple of years.
Dr. Kunwar also established first peer reviewed psychiatry journal of Nepal and was the Founding Chief Editor of Journal of Psychiatrist’ Association of Nepal (JPAN:2011). Dr. Kunwar has authored more than 15 papers in peer reviewed international medical journals. He also established the first and only Suicide Helpline of Nepal, which is the only such helpline in Nepal that provides active support and help to people who are contemplating suicide.
In this presentation Dr. Kunwar will talk about how is the CAP practice in a country like Nepal and his struggle, challenges and experience developing CAP field in Nepal.
University Seminar: Ellen Baxter
Speaker: Ellen Baxter • Founder and Executive Director, Broadway Housing Communities
Ellen Baxter has committed more than 30 years to advocacy and housing development to redress the inhumanity of inequality and homelessness in New York City and nationally. A pioneer of supportive housing, Ellen founded Broadway Housing Communities, then known as the Committee for the Heights-Inwood Homeless, in 1983. Under Ellen’s leadership, this nonprofit community-based organization has developed and manages seven buildings in Washington Heights and West Harlem; two early childhood centers; three community art galleries and a new cultural institution, the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling. BHC’s model provides permanent, affordable housing that integrates the formerly homeless, those with special needs and the working poor, single adults, seniors and families with children; urgently needed early childhood education and educational advocacy services and remarkable access to the arts to improve outcomes for children, families and entire communities. Ellen received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Mount Holyoke and Bowdoin College, her alma mater. She is the recipient of a 2006 James A. Johnson Fellowship Award from the Fannie Mae Foundation and a 2008 Equity Champion honoree of the Educational Equity Center. In 2010, she received the Neighborhood Activist Award from the New York Women’s Foundation. In 2011, Broadway Housing Communities became New York City’s newest and 27th settlement house, and in 2012 received a prestigious national ArtPlace award for strategic community investment in the arts.
Future Directions of the Canada Grand Challenges TEAM grant
Speakers: David Ndetei, MD, PhD • Professor of Psychiatry, University of Nairobi; Founding Director, Africa Mental Health Foundation
Victoria Mutiso, PhD • Director of Research, Administration and Finance, Africa Mental Health Foundation
Dr. David Ndetei is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, and the Founder and Director of the Africa Mental Health Foundation (AMHF), a non-governmental organization dedicated to research on mental and neurological health and substance use to generate evidence for policy and best practice in the provision of affordable, appropriate, available and accessible mental health services. The Foundation is a leading center of mental health research in East and Central Africa. Dr. Ndetei has been Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator of nearly all published clinical and community epidemiological studies on mental health in Kenya. He was Co-Investigator of one of the first multicenter studies in the world, which focused on the neuro-psychiatric aspects of HIV/AIDS. His pioneering research on the relationship between intravenous drug use and HIV/AIDS forms the basis of the Kenyan government’s current policy on intravenous drug users. He has worked extensively as an international mentor and collaborator to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)/National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded researchers. He is also a member of peer review and advisory committees to the NIMH/NIH and Grand Challenges Canada. Dr. Ndetei has published extensively in leading peer-reviewed journals, co-authored and edited 5 books and compiled 21 monographs based on his work available for public access at the University of Nairobi library.
Dr. Mutiso holds a PhD and Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nairobi. She is in charge of research in addition to overseeing the overall administration of the Foundation. She has been the Principal Investigator for two projects run by the Foundation on innovative integration of mental health services in primary health care through task-shifting to include both formal and informal health care systems. She has a strong interest in mental health-related research and emerging trends. She also has a strong bias to child psychology, parent-child relationships and developmental issues. She is a co-author in a manual on psycho-trauma, has contributed book chapters and published several articles in peer-reviewed journals. She has been in charge of the various projects that AMHF has undertaken for the past 5 years.
Implications of Theories of Etiology and Implications for Stigma: Does the Medical Model Really Reduce Stigma for Mental Illness?
Speaker: Matt Lebowitz, PhD • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Columbia University Center for Research on Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic and Behavioral Genetics
Dr. Lebowitz’s research concerns the ways in which attitudes and beliefs are affected by cognitive processes such as categorization and causal attribution. In particular, he has applied this focus to better understand the consequences of people’s conceptual and causal beliefs about mental disorders and other health conditions. Given ongoing changes in the predominant conceptualizations of mental illness (i.e., trends that favor viewing mental disorders biomedical illnesses), he has been particularly interested in causal explanations and conceptual understandings of mental illness, and their relationship to stigmatization and to attitudes and beliefs about psychopathology among symptomatic individuals, clinicians, and members of the general public.
Psychosocial support for war-affected children and challenges to mental health systems: A View from Ukraine
Speaker: Mike Wessells, PhD • Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Michael Wessells, PhD, is Professor at Columbia University in the Program on Forced Migration and Health. A long time psychosocial and child protection practitioner, he is former Co-Chair of the IASC Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. Recently, he was co-focal point on mental health and psychosocial support for the revision of the Sphere humanitarian standards. He has conducted extensive research on the holistic impacts of war and political violence on children, and he is author of Child Soldiers: From violence to protection (Harvard University Press, 2006). Currently, he is lead researcher on inter-agency, multi-country action research on strengthening community-based child protection mechanisms by enabling effective linkages with national child protection systems. He regularly advises UN agencies, governments, and donors on issues of child protection and psychosocial support, including in communities and schools. Throughout Africa and Asia he helps to develop community-based, culturally grounded programs that assist people affected by armed conflict and natural disasters.