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October 10, 2012

Wietse Tol Recipient of Ali and Rose Kawi Professorship in Mental Health


The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has named Wietse A. Tol, PhD, as the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Ali and Rose Kawi Professorship in Mental Health. The professorship is named in honor of Ali A. Kawi, MD, DrPH, a Bloomberg School graduate and professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York. The endowed professorship supports individuals whose work and studies will advance public mental health research and practice in keeping with Kawi’s lifelong work in treatment, research and education.

Tol has conducted extensive research that combines science and practice in the development and evaluation of mental health and psychosocial support programs for populations in extreme adversity, especially those exposed to disasters and political violence in low- and middle-income countries. In 2011, Tol was awarded the Chaim and Bela Danieli Young Professional Award by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, which recognizes excellence in science or research in the field of traumatic stress by an individual who has completed his or her training within the last five years.

Tol joined the Bloomberg School in 2012 as an assistant professor in the Department of Mental Health. He was previously a fellow with the Yale University Global Health Initiative and earned his doctoral degree from the Vrije University Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

“Dr. Tol’s focus on vulnerable children around the world fits well with the mission of the Department of Mental Health. Alleviating emotional and behavioral disorders in children has tremendous impact because improvements in health and functioning last a lifetime,” said William Eaton, PhD, chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health. “Focusing on vulnerable populations, such as victims of war, genocide, forced relocation or natural disaster puts the emphasis where the greatest need is, and where the greatest good can be achieved. Wietse’s focus is both moral and scientific.”

The Dr. Ali and Rose Kawi Professorship in Mental Health supports the research of a faculty member in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Mental Health. Faculty members named to the position will hold the professorship for a three-year term.

Kawi has a special interest in child development and pathology and the prevention of mental health and behavioral disorders. In addition to his role at the State University of New York, he has held positions as a consultant at the University Hospital of Brooklyn, North Shore University Hospital and St. Francis Hospital. He maintains a private practice in Manhasset, N.Y. He earned his master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1954 and his doctoral degree from the School in 1956.

The Department of Mental Health at the Bloomberg School is the first and the only department-level unit in a school of public health dedicated to mental health. The mission of the department is to advance understanding of mental and behavioral disorders, to develop, implement and evaluate methods to prevent and control these disorders and to promote mental health in the general population.


Media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or