Global Mental Health Program (2017-2018)


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 healthcare and social services, such as maternal and child healthcare, schools, religious institutions and other community organizations.

Project Description

This Bass Connections project’s goal is to contribute to the next generation of academics, clinicians and other professionals who can advance integrated approaches to mental health.

The 2016-2017 version of this project team established a Global Mental Health Program (GMHP). Students in the first cohort have engaged in research within the GMHP labs and participated in collaborative training seminars. The 2017-2018 project team will extend the GMHP, with three aims:

  1. Students returning from multiple field sites will engage in collaborative trainings on data analysis, dissemination and policy implications.
  2. These students will collectively produce a research product based on data across their field sites.
  3. They will contribute to the training of a new cohort of Bass Connections GMHP students.

All participants in the GMHP will convene for monthly seminars, during which one lab will present a focused training on a concept or methodology used in its research. Potential topics include qualitative research methods in global mental health, instrument development and adaptation, cultural adaptation of interventions, trials and global mental health policy. Research ethics will be a core theme throughout the seminars, and occasional seminars will involve guest speakers.

For returning students, topics will focus on quantitative and qualitative data analysis, presenting and publishing results and disseminating findings more broadly.

Over the course of the academic year, the new cohort will identify a core research question of common interest across labs. The GMHP team will design a multisited project addressing this research question, which the three undergraduates will conduct at the research sites in collaboration with faculty advisers and lab affiliates.

Anticipated Outcomes

Monthly seminars recorded to begin development of a global mental health methods and ethics toolkit for students at different educational levels and from different disciplines; videos posted and complemented with recommended readings and other resources; academic paper about common ethical issues across the three sites based on fieldwork experiences; cultural and historical summary integrating humanities scholarship for each of the three sites to facilitate optimal ethical engagement for students in these locations; proof-of-concept data for a National Institutes of Health T32 institutional training grant


Fall 2017 – Summer 2018

  • Fall 2017 and Spring 2018: Shared lab learning and training seminars focused on issues pertaining to data collection, ethics and data analysis; students complete group independent study for either project proposal development and IRB application (for new cohort) or write-up of research project findings (for returning students)
  • Summer 2018: Fieldwork to conduct research project; build connections and develop evaluation plans with partner organization

Team Outcomes to Date

Mental Health Attitudes and Implications for Patient Care: A Qualitative Study of Medical Students and Physicians in Urban Nepal (poster by Meghana Vagwala), presented at Visible Thinking, April 19, 2018

Almost Half the World’s Population Lives in Countries Where, On Average, There Is One Psychiatrist to Serve 200,000 or More People (poster by Eric Green, Eve Puffer, Amy Finnegan, Bonnie Kaiser, Ali Giusto, Elsa Healy, Tony Pham, Puja Patel, Arun Augustine, Bethany Kuerten, Taylor Wall, Julia Kaufman, Meghana Vagwala, Anna-Karin Hess, Lulla Kiwinda, Chaya Bhat, Priya Sridhar), presented at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018

Tony Pham (M.Sc. Program in Global Health), Bass Connections Follow-on Student Research Award


Julia Kaufman

This Team in the News

Meet the Members of the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council

Duke Seniors Share What Was Most Meaningful about Their Bass Connections Experiences

Bass Connections Showcase Presents Research Highlights from Durham to Malaysia

Global Health Projects Featured Prominently among Bass Connections Awards

Meet the 2018 Recipients of Bass Connections Follow-on Research Awards

Two Duke Students, One Graduate Named Marshall Scholars (Meghana Vagwala)

See earlier related team, Global Mental Health-Integrative Training Program (2016-2017).

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

Global mental health

/faculty/staff Team Members

  • Amy Finnegan, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • 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 - MS
  • Elsa Friis, Psychology-PHD
  • Ali Giusto, Psychology-PHD
  • Puja Patel, Global Health - MS
  • Tony Pham, Global Health - MS
  • Cori Tergesen, Global Health - MS
  • Jonathan Wall, Global Health - MS

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Chaya Bhat, Economics (AB)
  • Matthew Brague, Psychology (AB), Global Health (AB2)
  • Anna-Karin Hess, Program II (BS)
  • Julia Kaufman, Int Comparative Studies (AB)
  • Lulla Kiwinda, Biology (BS), Global Health (AB2)
  • Priya Sridhar
  • Meghana Vagwala, Program II (AB)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) Consortium, Kenya
  • Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, Nepal
  • Moi University Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kenya