Eve Puffer, assistant professor at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) and the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, has received the 2015 Triangle Global Health Emerging Leader Award, sponsored by the Triangle Global Health Consortium. This award recognizes the passion and expertise local leaders bring to the mission of improving the lives of people around the world, with a focus on innovation, collaboration and leadership. Awardees and finalists were chosen by experts from multiple global health sectors.
“I’m honored to receive this award,” Puffer said. “The support from the community means a lot to me, especially at this stage of my career as I’m building my program of research here at Duke. I’m excited about connecting more with others in the Triangle area who are doing global health work.”
Puffer’s Research Focuses on Improving Children’s Mental Health
Puffer is a global mental health researcher and a licensed clinical psychologist. Her research focuses on developing and evaluating integrated community-based interventions to promote child mental health, improve family functioning and prevent HIV risk behavior. She has conducted much of this work in rural Kenya.
Puffer received her PhD in Clinical-Community Psychology in 2008 from the University of South Carolina. She has achieved a number of “firsts” in global health, and specifically in global mental health. She received DGHI’s first postdoctoral fellowship and then went on to become the first Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellow to be funded jointly by the Fogarty International Center and the National Institute of Mental Health. After finishing her fellowships, Puffer worked as a research and evaluation advisor at the International Rescue Committee. She returned to Duke in 2012 to fill its first tenure-track position focused specifically on global mental health—one of newest and fastest-growing sub-specialties in global health.
Collaboration Is Central to Puffer’s Work
The many local, national and international partnerships Puffer has established demonstrate her commitment to the extensive collaboration that is so critical to global health work. She has conducted intervention trials with a number of U.S. institutions and global organizations, including the International Rescue Committee, the Women's Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER) in Kenya and AMPATH, a consortium between North American medical schools and Moi University in Kenya.
She’s currently working with collaborators in Thailand, Liberia and Kenya. For example, her work in Kenya’s Nyanza Province involves a family- and church-based intervention for caregivers and adolescents to improve family communication and relationships and reduce HIV risk.
Puffer’s experience working in the non-governmental, humanitarian sector is uncommon among academic faculty and positions her well for long-term success as a global mental health researcher.
Research and Teaching Success Complement Puffer’s Field Experience
In addition to her impressive work in the field, Puffer has proven her leadership capabilities through her academic and funding success. Her work has been supported by funders such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID. She’s published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and has presented her work at multiple national and international conferences. Puffer also teaches a popular global mental health course at DGHI.
Although it’s early in her career, Puffer has built a strong foundation for sustained growth as an outstanding leader in the field of global mental health, and we at DGHI wish her all the best as she continues on this path.
The support from the community means a lot to me. I’m excited about connecting more with others in the Triangle area who are doing global health work.Eve Puffer, assistant professor