Global Mental Health Program (2017-2018)

Improving mental health of populations around the world is a major societal challenge. 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.

This project’s goal was to contribute to the next generation of academics, clinicians and other professionals dedicated to advancing integrated approaches to mental health. In 2016-2017, the project team established a Global Mental Health Program (GMHP) and engaged in research within the GMHP labs while also participating in collaborative training seminars.

In 2017-2018, the team extended the GMHP in three core areas: expanding access to treatment, creating appropriate technology and learning new methods. Team members engaged in research at multiple field sites, including in Nairobi, Kenya, where they used a task shifting model to train non-specialists to deliver mental health treatments in problem drinking, family engagement and perinatal depression. The team also refined digital tools for delivering therapy and providing clinical supervision at their field site in Kenya, including by using an artificial intelligence platform and text messaging to deliver a health program to pregnant women and new mothers.


Fall 2017 – Summer 2018

Team Outputs

Tony V. Pham, Rishav Koirala, Brandon A. Kohrt. "Satisfaction in the Soul: Common Factors Theory Applied to Traditional Healers in Rural Nepal." 2020. Ethos 0(0):1-36.

Leah K. Watson, Bonnie N. Kaiser, Ali M. Giusto, David Ayuku, Eve S. Puffer. “Validating Mental Health Assessment in Kenya Using an Innovative Gold Standard.”  2019. International Journal of Psychology. 

Traditional Healers and Mental Health in Dumja (poster by Tony V. Pham, Rishav Koirala, Brandon A. Kohrt, presented at Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 17, 2019)

Eve Puffer, P&N Faculty Seed Grant ($50,000 grant awarded from the Charles Lafitte Foundation and Duke P&N, 2018)

Mental Health Stigma: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Medical Students and Physicians in Urban Nepal (honors thesis by Meghana Vagwala)

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


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

Tony Pham

Julia Kaufman, Global Health and International Comparative Studies ’18

This Team in the News

Faculty Perspectives: Eve Puffer

These Ph.D. Graduates Leveraged Bass Connections and Other Interdisciplinary Opportunities

These Seniors Took Their Bass Connections Research Further and Graduated with Distinction

DGHI Celebrates Graduation of 47 Global Health Undergraduates

Research on Mental Health in Nepal Examines Context-specific Approaches to Care

Meet the Members of the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council

Get to Know Our Pop-up UX Lab in Nairobi

Most People Who Suffer from Depression Don't Get Help

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

Team Leaders

  • Eric Green, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Bonnie Kaiser, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Eve Puffer, Arts & Sciences-Psychology and Neuroscience

/graduate Team Members

  • Jonathan Taylor Wall, Global Health - MSc
  • Cori Tergesen, Global Health - MSc
  • Tony Pham, Global Health - MSc
  • Puja Patel, Global Health - MSc
  • Elsa Friis, Psychology-AM, Global Health - MSc
  • Ali Giusto, Psychology-AM
  • Arun Augustine, Global Health - MSc

/undergraduate Team Members

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

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Brandon Kohrt, School of Medicine-Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Amy Finnegan, IntraHealth International

/zcommunity Team Members

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