Program Overview and Requirements
GMH TRAINING GOALS
The GMH program is led by faculty in the Department of Mental Health together with faculty from the Departments of International Health and Epidemiology. This diverse group of GMH faculty have extensive experience in intervention development, implementation and evaluation in low-resource settings in the US and globally. Through training and mentorship, our primary goal is to provide the next generation of global mental health researchers with the tools necessary to:
- Advance knowledge of the causes and consequences of mental disorders in diverse populations;
- Develop, implement, and evaluate rationally designed interventions to prevent and treat these disorders and promote well-being;
- Address treatment gaps in mental health services in low-resource settings through innovative research; and,
- Critically examine the integration of mental health services into other care systems to improve health outcomes.
ALL GMH FELLOWS SELECT A PRIMARY CONCENTRATION FOR ADVANCED TRAINING AND FIELD EXPERIENCE
A Prevention focus provides fellows with didactic and applied research training aimed at understanding the contextual forces (both physical and social) that shape susceptibility for mental disorders in a global context. A prevention focus includes training in the methods and principles needed to be able to identify cross-cultural and contextually relevant social causes of mental and behavioral disorders. It also includes training in how to design and implement rigorous studies that incorporate a life-course perspective and consider developmental trajectories.
An Intervention focus provides fellows with didactic and applied research training in mixed-methods approaches for developing and implementing treatment trials in low-resource contexts. This training focuses on a full range of methods to implement rigorous monitoring and evaluation, effectiveness research, and for understanding the process of scaling-up successful interventions.
- A Services focus provides fellows with didactic and applied research training in practices and policies that promote the integration of mental health care into general health and social service systems, including consideration of comorbid behavioral and physical health problems. Fellows will develop skills for evaluating integrative mental health programs into existing systems of care.
GMH TRAINING COMPONENTS
The training program’s required course work includes intensive formal instruction in epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology, biostatistics, and public mental health. Predoctoral fellows complete the course requirements for their home department; fellows not in the Department of Mental Health are also encouraged to complete the Public Mental Health Research Certificate program. Coursework is designed to provide trainees with a broad background in mental health and public health methodology. In addition, a 3-course series focused on global mental services and research is required for all GMH trainees:
- 330.620.01 Issues in mental health research in developing countries
- 224.694.01 Mental health intervention programming in low and middle-income countries
- 330.680.81 Promoting mental health and preventing mental disorders in low and middle-income countries
Collaborative Research and Field Experience
A fundamental part of this training program is the ability to gain applied experience in collaborative research and field-based learning under faculty mentorship. Research projects and field-experiences will vary based on the interests and prior experience of the trainee, as well as studies currently in place during the training period. During the first two terms of each academic year, fellows are introduced to the current projects of the GMH training program faculty, with integration into ongoing research projects generally beginning in the 3rdand 4th terms. Over the course of each fellows training, we try to ensure all fellows gain experience with all stages of the research process, including grant development, IRB applications (US and global), study initiation and implementation, data management and analysis, and dissemination of results.
Field experiences typically range from 2-week intensive field-based studies, to summer-long experiences. Fellows are generally involved in more than one project over the course of their training fellowship. Some field-based research examples of prior and current trainees include:
- Qualitative needs assessments among youth in a refugee camp in Ethiopia and among trauma-affected adults in Burundi and Jordan
- Instrument validation studies in Thailand, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Data collection for randomized controlled trials in Zambia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine, and Thailand
- Analysis of cost-effectiveness data in India and child-trauma data in Israel
Financial support for field experiences are not provided by the training program, but faculty will work with students and fellows to identify appropriate funding sources including:
- Current grants and contracts with funds designated for student assistance on existing projects, for which trainees are eligible.
- Each year the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health provides, on a competitive basis, up to $3500 to support students in applied learning in a cross-cultural setting. Students interested in receiving this award submit a detailed proposal of a global health-related project with a designated research mentor. Several of our fellows have received these grants in the past.
This component includes integrative activities that GMH trainees will participate in that are outside their normal research collaborations, in order to expand their global mental health training experience. These serve the purpose of bringing together the trainees to instill a common culture of global mental health, expose them to the diversity of issues of interest in the field, and provide a mechanism for learning from other students and faculty interested in global mental health.
These include a range of specialized activities organized specifically for trainees with the dual purpose of (a) providing multiple forums, educational experiences, and research opportunities specifically geared toward their development as expert scientists in global mental health; and (b) coordinating and integrating the wide range of departmental and university-wide courses, seminars, and research meetings in which they also regularly participate.
- Global Mental Health Lab. Trainees, together with students from across the school who are interested in global mental health, meet bi-weekly to share updates on work in progress and hear faculty and guest speakers present on ongoing research and programming. Past speakers have included NIH staff and visiting faculty from other universities. Many of our students come to the school with prior global work experience. The opportunity for students to share their knowledge and experience has proven to be quite valuable in informing the context of the research our students and fellows are undertaking. Lab meetings are held the 2nd and 4th Mondays each month from 12-1:20.
- Behavioral Health International Group (BHIG), a platform for students and faculty across the Schools of Public Health, Medicine and Nursing to share experiences and opportunities in international and cross-cultural behavioral and mental health programs, practices, and policies. The group was formed by two students from the Department of Mental Health as a response to a growing international movement on the importance of considering the promotion of mental and behavioral health as a global health priority. BHIG has co-sponsored World Mental Health Day student poster sessions, as well as films and speakers on refugee and torture-related mental health issues.
- Department of Mental Health weekly seminar series, which is open school-wide to students and faculty. Seminars are held every Wednesday from 12-1. Following the didactic talk, students are invited to join the speaker for lunch and informal discussion. This provides an opportunity for trainees to meet in an intimate setting with a variety of researchers and practitioners in public mental health and to learn about their work and career path.