Global Mental Health-Integrative Training Program (2016-2017)

Improving mental health of populations around the world is a major societal challenge. Despite improvements in infectious disease control, chronic disease management and cancer treatment, comparable changes have not been observed at global and local levels in mental health. One lesson that has been demonstrated repeatedly is that traditional biomedical models of providing mental health and substance abuse services in isolation are not as effective as integration of mental health into other aspects of health care and social services, such as maternal and child health, schools, religious institutions and other community organizations.

To contribute to the next generation of academics, clinicians and other professionals who can advance integrated approaches to mental health, this Bass Connection project’s goal is to expose students from an array of disciplines to mental health concepts and methods.

The project has established a Global Mental Health—Integrative Training Program with an initial focus on three countries—Nepal, Kenya and South Africa—where the Duke Global Health Institute has long-standing partnerships with government stakeholders, local health facilities and community organizations.

The project team is providing proof-of-concept data for a National Institutes of Health T32 institutional training grant. Monthly seminars are recorded to begin development of a global mental health methods and ethics toolkit for students at different educational levels and from different disciplines. These videos are complemented by recommended readings and other online resources. Team members are writing a group paper about common ethical issues across the three sites based on their fieldwork. The team is also producing a cultural and historical summary integrating humanities scholarship for each of the three sites to facilitate ethical engagement in these locations.

In Fall 2016, student team members took part in a global mental health course appropriate to their level. The courses provided a history of the field and an exploration of how problems in global mental health can have cascading effects on other global health concerns. Much of the course was devoted to case studies exploring specific disorders that are prevalent in certain regions and have precipitated specific interventions.

During the academic year, shared lab learning and training seminars focused on issues pertaining to data collection and ethics. Team members completed their preparation for proposal development and ethics application. In Summer 2017, team members are conducting fieldwork for their ethics research project and developing evaluation plans with partner organizations. In Fall 2017, shared lab learning and training seminars will focus on data analysis as well as write-up of ethics research project findings.


Fall 2016 – Fall 2017

Team Outcomes

Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Video Presentation Impact on Medical Students' Attitudes toward Depression in Nepal (poster by Cori Tergesen)

Global Mental Health at Duke Research Panel (featuring Ali Giusto on Families, Fathers and Functioning: Opportunities for Improving Mental Health in Kenya), March 24, 2017


Elsa Friis, M.S., Ph.D.

This Team in the News

Bass Connections Students Win Poster and Photo Awards for Research in Uganda, Honduras, Nepal and Peru

Post-Doc Bonnie Kaiser’s Work Blends Anthropology, Epidemiology and Humanities

Bookbag: GLH363 - Fundamentals of Global Mental Health

Faculty Perspectives: Eve Puffer

See related team, Global Mental Health Program (2017-2018).

This project was selected by the Franklin Humanities Institute as a humanities-connected project.

Team Leaders

  • Eric Green, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Bonnie Kaiser, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Brandon Kohrt, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Eve Puffer, Arts & Sciences-Psychology and Neuroscience

/graduate Team Members

  • Arun Augustine, Global Health - MSc
  • Martha Berg, Global Health - MSc
  • Elsa Friis, Psychology-AM, Global Health - MSc
  • Ali Giusto, Psychology-AM
  • Taylor Haynes, Global Health - MSc
  • Puja Patel, Global Health - MSc
  • Melissa Schmidt, Global Health - MSc
  • Cori Tergesen, Global Health - MSc
  • Leah Watson, Global Health - MSc

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Chaya Bhat, Economics (BS)
  • Sofia Stafford, Cultural Anthropology (AB), Global Health (AB2)
  • Meghana Vagwala, Program II (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Anvita Bhardwaj, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Sauharda Rai, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Kearsley Stewart, Duke Global Health Institute