Our Work

Global Mental Health Program


2017-09-01 16:46:01 - 2017-07-01 16:46:01

Project Objectives

Improving mental health of populations around the world is a major societal challenge. Despite improvements in infectious disease control, chronic disease management and cancer treatment, comparable changes have not been observed at global and local levels in mental health.

One lesson that has been demonstrated repeatedly is that traditional biomedical models of providing mental health and substance abuse services in isolation are not as effective as integration of mental health into other aspects of healthcare and social services, such as maternal and child healthcare, schools, religious institutions and other community organizations.

This Bass Connections project's goal is to contribute to the next generation of academics, clinicians and other professionals who can advance integrated approaches to mental health.

The 2016-2017 version of this project team established a Global Mental Health Program (GMHP). Students in the first cohort have engaged in research within the GMHP labs and participated in collaborative training seminars. The 2017-2018 project team will extend the GMHP, with three aims:

1.Students returning from multiple field sites will engage in collaborative trainings on data analysis, dissemination and policy implications.
2.These students will collectively produce a research product based on data across their field sites.
3.They will contribute to the training of a new cohort of Bass Connections GMHP students.

All participants in the GMHP will convene for monthly seminars, during which one lab will present a focused training on a concept or methodology used in its research. Potential topics include qualitative research methods in global mental health, instrument development and adaptation, cultural adaptation of interventions, trials and global mental health policy. Research ethics will be a core theme throughout the seminars, and occasional seminars will involve guest speakers.

For returning students, topics will focus on quantitative and qualitative data analysis, presenting and publishing results and disseminating findings more broadly.

Over the course of the academic year, the new cohort will identify a core research question of common interest across labs. The GMHP team will design a multisited project addressing this research question, which the three undergraduates will conduct at the research sites in collaboration with faculty advisers and lab affiliates.

Project Opportunities

The core Bass Connections team will consist of three new and three returning undergraduate students, three new and three returning global health master’s students and one postdoc who will coordinate the project and co-lead seminars.

This core team will participate in all seminars, project planning, write-up and evaluation components of the project. The new students will have a shared core experience of monthly seminars in diverse methods and concepts prior to a summer field placement in one of the two countries. Students returning from summer fieldwork across multiple sites will reassemble for monthly seminars on analysis and dissemination.

Preference will be given to undergraduate students who have a major or co-major that is outside disciplines traditionally associated with mental health specialization. Students will be expected to commit approximately 5-10 hours per week to the project as research assistants.

In each country site, there are strong long-standing partnerships with government stakeholders, local health facilities and community organizations. Students will have the opportunity to observe how Duke-supported research becomes translated into services and changes in health outcomes around the world.

Assessment will include a group independent study that will culminate in development of research proposals and ethical review applications for the summer research projects. This graded independent study will be a spring prerequisite for participation in summer research. Additionally, students will be expected to participate in a Nepali or Swahili language course, both of which are currently offered at Duke. In addition to formal evaluations, a major component will be evaluation by local partners in Kenya and Nepal. Returning students will be evaluated based on their analysis, presentation and write-up of findings from their research projects, along with evaluation components that arise through collaborations with in-country partners.

Project Application Deadline


Project Placements Available


Project Status


Share This