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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.
As communicable diseases are supplanted by non-communicable, chronic, and neurological and psychiatric diseases, the academic medicine workforce must be realigned with the emerging health priorities of the new century. The Global Psychiatric Clinical Research Training Program at Massachusetts General Hospital will prepare a cadre of researchers committed to working collaboratively across disciplines and cultures to address 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 mental health research experience in resource-constrained areas, conflict-affected settings and countries ravaged by poverty.
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The core curriculum, which includes didactical instruction, coursework at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and mentored research projects, will position graduates to become productive leaders in the field of global mental health and create an established collaborative research base to conduct further study. It will provide a rich environment for fellows as they refine their research questions and career paths. Global mental health is a broad, interdisciplinary field that requires diversified methodological training in quantitative and qualitative methods; an understanding of the impact of culture on the expression of and treatment strategies for mental illness; an appreciation of the nature and impact of psychosocial and other environmental factors on individual, community and society well-being; and a general knowledge of the clinical phenomenology of mental disorders in cross-cultural populations.
The program will provide fellows with a basic knowledge base in conducting psychiatric-related studies in global settings; field methods including measurement approaches and application in both clinical and community settings; and analytic methods for investigating prevention, intervention and health promotion strategies in a global, public health and resource-limited context.
The program will include study in seven thematic areas, of which fellows can then focus their research training: child-adolescent psychiatry, complex trauma/disaster psychiatry, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, mental health services research, behavioral medicine, and HIV/AIDS related mental health. These thematic areas leverage the strength of the faculty, the breadth of the NIMH, the interest of potential trainees, the available research and training opportunities at the global sites, the needs of the populations in the training environments, and the general demands of the field.
Through a learn-by-doing approach, fellows will learn how to create a project of realistic scope, map a time-line for conducting a global study, select appropriate methodologies, and understand the country and population. Fellows will be able to develop research questions that are clinically and culturally relevant to identified community and public health needs; develop and manage a global research team; conceptualize mental health policies and plans; develop and evaluate mental health systems; build productive global collaborations; work with government, NGOs and academics abroad.
Based on the potential applicant pool, the strengths of the faculty and the research needs of the field, we have structured the program for 3 years with 2 fellows (psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, or a PhD candidate from an accredited school of public health, depending on quality of applicants) per year. Key components of the proposed program include:
To gain the skill sets and confidence to perform independent research, fellows will conduct an independent, mentored research project tailored to their unique career goals at one of the African sites or Barbados; in addition, they will work on secondary data analysis projects to both develop analytical and research skills, and meet authorship requirements of the program. Each site has an established research infrastructure for protocol development, IRB approval and data collection, and a proven track record for participant recruitment and study completion. Fellows will have broad access to patients, clinical samples, relevant patient databases and laboratory/equipment to support their projects. The global sites, supported by the primary training site (Mass General) will provide a rich research training environment for fellows. The history of scientific and training collaborations amongst the departments, and the available resources of the institutions, will ensure fellows rapidly immerse themselves in a research project and focus within the existing infrastructure.
The faculty’s methodological expertise is expansive, enabling fellows to conduct the following types of research: outcomes and evaluation research, testing multiple outcomes, large-scale clinical studies, drug utilization and effect of pharmaceutical and medical procedures in cross cultural populations, behavioral interventions for chronic diseases, longitudinal studies, epidemiological studies, pharmacoepidemiologic methods, and qualitative research, among others. The research activities of the participating faculty will enable trainees to engage in projects locally and globally at the interface of the thematic topics and methodological areas.
Please note: Only people who have completed their psychiatry residency, have a PhD in psychology or have a PhD from an accredited School of Public Health are eligible to apply for this fellowship.
The Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry151 Merrimac Street, 4th Floor Boston, MA 02114
Please submit your fellowship application form and all required documentation as one complete PDF file using this naming convention: "last name_T32 Fellowship". Email all materials to MGHGlobalpsychiatry@partners.org.
You will be notified upon receipt of your application. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
Download fellowship application
Rolling Admissions: The application period is now closed. Please check back for updates.
For more information, please email MGHGlobalpsychiatry@partners.org.
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