TC faculty member Lena Verdeli is co-recipient of a federal grant to launch a fellowship training program in global mental health. Verdeli , who has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology effective this coming September 1, directs the Global Mental Health lab at Teachers College. She is collaborating on the grant with colleagues from the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The program will be the first of its kind ever funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
The title of the grant is “Global Mental Health Research Fellowship: Interventions That Make a Difference.” The grant will allow for fellows to take courses at Columbia schools, including Teachers College. Verdeli has argued that to “confront the mental health challenges of the twenty-first century” – including depression, which is on pace to become one of the most burdensome medical issues for developing nations – the field of psychology “must adapt its methods to local settings and resources.” Among other work, she has studied interpersonal psychotherapy in AIDS-afflicted communities in Uganda, training community members to conduct group therapy—a method that is both cost-effective and well-suited to people in that society, who, in Verdeli’s words, “experience themselves primarily as community and family members rather than individuals.”