Global Psychiatry

Inspired by the life work of our founder, Dr. Chester M. Pierce, we seek quiet excellence and undying commitment in medical service to the international community.

About UsOur Program

The Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry is part of the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The Division utilizes a bidirectional approach to build capacity, conduct research, and provide technical assistance to reduce the tremendous burden that psychiatric-related and neurological diseases present worldwide.

The Division’s work is driven by international partnerships, based in evidence and focused on systems change. As part of the country’s premiere Department of Psychiatry (as ranked by US News and World Report for last 16 consecutive years), the Division leverages the clinical expertise, scientific rigor and academic leadership of its 525 member faculty (MDs and PhDs) and more than 100 trainees (postdoctoral fellows and psychiatry residents), and the innovation for which the MGH institution is known. Faculty occupy simultaneous roles as leading clinicians, researchers and educators.

The Division serves as a site for collaboration to address global mental health challenges that span resource-limited communities and diverse patient populations in high and low income nations, and disaster- and conflict-affected areas. The Division remains one of the only global mental health programs in an academic medical center.


Mission & Approach

Our mission is to strengthen the delivery of sustainable, quality psychiatric care globally through bi-directional research, training and technical assistance in partnership with our international colleagues.

Our approach is clinically relevant to the needs of target populations, data driven, culturally sensitive, and focused on systems change and multi-year long commitments.

  • Data driven
  • Culturally sensitive
  • Focused on systems change

Our Challenge

The field of psychiatry cannot be considered exempt from the obligation to adapt to current global needs. The rise of non-communicable diseases, particularly psychiatric related disorders, as a dominant contributor to the global burden of disability and mortality threatens to roll back years of progress in low-to-middle-income countries.

Neurological and psychiatric conditions account for 31% of all disability-adjusted life-years (the years of expected healthy life lost due to ill-health, disease or premature death ) and mental disorders are independently associated with a substantial excess in all-cause mortality risk. Depression is projected to be the leading contributor to the global disease burden by 2030.

The health, economic and social costs associated with these statistics are tremendous. Psychiatric and neurological disorders often have early onset and are chronically disabling, and in considerable ways, interfere with the ability of children to learn and of adults to function.

Left unaddressed, they result in worse chronic disease outcomes, lost productivity, missed educational opportunities and exacerbated suffering. In countries affected by war, violence and disaster, they can considerably impact achievement of development outcomes.