The objective of the Massachusetts General Hospital Global Psychiatric Clinical Research Training Program is to develop independent clinical scientists who can address the most pressing global public mental health challenges. As communicable diseases are supplanted by non-communicable, chronic, and neuro- and psychiatric diseases, the academic medicine workforce must be realigned with the emerging health priorities of the new century. Postdoctoral fellows will be prepared to work collaboratively across disciplines and cultures in order to respond to the substantial burden of mental health related diseases in low- to middle-income countries and resource-limited areas, and to develop strategies that advance global delivery and scale-up of mental health services, improve general wellbeing and foster overall country development. The proposed postdoctoral fellowship is a three-year training program that combines rigorous didactic instruction, clinical research methods training from Harvard School of Public Health, practice in working effectively with disadvantaged communities, and immersive, mentored clinical research experiences in global settings. Fellows (2 per year) will be drawn from a deep pool of clinical talent. Fellows will be mentored by a diverse group of faculty who are recognized leaders in major psychiatric subspecialties as well as clinical research approaches. Fellows will complete a mentored research project at an international training site in Ethiopia, Uganda or South Africa in topics such as HIV/AIDS mental health, mental health services research, child-adolescent psychiatry, disaster/refugee/trauma psychiatry, behavioral medicine, psychotic disorders, and mood disorders. They will utilize a variety of research skills and techniques to understand the scope of a problem, and develop innovative interventions that are feasible, and culturally and clinically relevant to the specific environments and populations. Fellows are expected to be well situated for a K-award application at the end of the third year of the program. With heavily circumscribed clinical responsibilities, trainees will focus on the refinement of their research projects, developing international collaborations, and strengthening their clinical research skills.

Public Health Relevance

Psychiatric and neurological disorders are dominant contributors to the global burden of disability and mortality, are linked to substantial social and economic costs, and are associated with worse general health and chronic disease outcomes. The current dearth of mental health research in low to middle-income countries, and the limited human capacity to conduct rigorous, culturally-appropriate, clinically relevant studies in these areas with the highest needs, hinders the development of evidence-based policy and practice, and stunts the advancement of effective service delivery and scale-up. The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Global Psychiatric Clinical Research Training Program will prepare a cadre of researchers committed to addressing priority global mental health challenges through a well-defined clinical career path, rigorous training in clinical research methods, cross-cultural and public mental health competencies, and significant global health research experience in resource-constrained areas, conflict-affected settings, and countries ravaged by poverty and HIV/AIDS.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-I (01))
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Chavez, Mark
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Massachusetts General Hospital
United States
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Uthman, Olalekan A; Magidson, Jessica F; Safren, Steven A et al. (2014) Depression and adherence to antiretroviral therapy in low-, middle- and high-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep 11:291-307
Tsai, Alexander C; Fricchione, Gregory L; Walensky, Rochelle P et al. (2014) Global health training in US graduate psychiatric education. Acad Psychiatry 38:426-32
Magidson, Jessica F; Blashill, Aaron J; Wall, Melanie M et al. (2014) Relationship between psychiatric disorders and sexually transmitted diseases in a nationally representative sample. J Psychosom Res 76:322-8