1. Global Health Education and Opportunities
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Global Mental Health Program

Our Global Mental Health Program promotes access to mental health care for people in East Harlem and throughout the world. Together we develop, train, and educate Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai students, residents, and faculty to provide mental health services to diverse patient communities close to home and across the globe.

Our trainees and faculty work in our own backyard of East Harlem and around the world to bring mental health services to underserved communities.

Our students are involved in a number of ongoing global mental health field projects and collaborations, including:

During their spring break medical trips, Icahn Mount Sinai medical students recognized significant mental health needs in Belize. Our collaboration and long-standing partnership with the country is a result of their observations and our desire to respond.

The overall focus of this effort has been on supervising and teaching psychiatric nurse practitioners, who are the backbone of the public mental health system. Other professionals, including correctional staff and police, are also being trained in areas including addictions, pharmacology, child mental health, and psychotherapy.

The Belize Ministry of Health is also a periodic site for medical and public health summer research projects that support our service, including research on police knowledge, attitudes towards mental health, and the impact of shifting to a community mental health model.

Following an initial needs assessment visit to Monrovia in March 2011, Icahn Mount Sinai partnered with the Carter Center and the Ministry of Health in Liberia to implement a new national mental health policy focused on developing community-based psychiatry services in the country.

Current efforts are focused on teaching, training, and supervising Carter Center nurses and physician assistants via in-country visits and remote teleconference, as well as ongoing telepsychiatry supervision of select mental health clinicians.

Icahn Mount Sinai partners with the Japanese Medical Society of America, Fukushima Medical University, the 9/11 Tribute Center, American Airlines, and Rotary International to share our experience with the mental health aftermath of 9/11 and other disasters.

Primary activities center on:

  • Medical and public health student summer research projects related to the mental health aspects of 3/11, the date of Japan’s Great Tōhoku Earthquake, a severe natural disaster that caused thousands of casualties and widespread structural damage.
  • An annual outreach trip by 9/11 survivors as part of a cultural and humanitarian exchange with 3/11 survivors.

As a partner of the MINDS Foundation and its collaborators in Vadodara, Gujarat, Icahn Mount Sinai assists in extending mental health education and services beyond urban centers, medical schools, and clinics to rural villages, other underserved communities, and schools.

Research and service efforts have included:

  • Understanding and working with traditional healers
  • Establishing village-based mental health advocates
  • Working with and supporting primary care professionals
  • Enhancing awareness of mental illness, including illness other than chronic mental illness
  • Addressing the mental health of the LGTBQ community
  • Educating teachers about child mental health

Icahn Mount Sinai assists HaitiChildren with addressing child mental health needs at the organization’s flagship orphanage, schools associated with the organization, and other communities.

Our efforts have included:

  • Implementing programming to help the orphanage and school staff meet the mental health needs of their residents, while promoting their own professional development and satisfaction, including on-site consultation and training and long-distance supervision
  • Developing a peer leadership program based on rural psychiatry models for residents and students to improve self-care
  • Integrating mental health services into the medical care that HaitiChildren provides to the Williamson community beyond the orphanage
  • Helping to conduct research in support of a new Abandoned Baby and Child Unit in Port-au-Prince

HaitiChildren is staffed by child psychiatry fellows and triple-board residents, as well as medical and public health student researchers.

Following a Needs Assessment requested by the Ministry of Health, Icahn Mount Sinai assists with the education of staff at their psychiatric hospital, as well as the development of community mental health services. Our efforts include integration of psychotherapy into their largely biologically-based approach to mental illness, and introduction of child psychiatry-specific services.

Building on our initial assessment of the local mental health needs and views of mental health, we are working with the Instituto Terapéutico y Psicológico para la Familia to establish accessible, comprehensive, and evidence-based mental health programming and outreach for the city of Jarabacoa, including via collaborative grant applications.

To build sustainable, holistic health care in Kenya, we conducted a child mental health needs assessment in Eldoret, Kenya, in March 2020. This effort is part of the AMPATH consortium of American universities partnered with Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Future goals include the following areas of focus:

  • Supervision and teaching about child and adolescent mental health to psychiatry trainees at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and of staff at the affiliated Rafiki Centre of Excellence in Adolescent Health
  • Consultation and teaching on child mental health to rural medical officers in the Western Kenya region served by MTRH
  • Collaboration on ongoing research on child and adolescent HIV

Icahn Mount Sinai partners with pro bono immigration attorneys to provide psychiatric evaluations to immigrant migrants and migrant families who are applying for asylum, or who are detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (currently with a focus on facilities in South Texas and New Jersey).

Through these efforts we also:

  • Provide our psychiatric expertise to charitable organizations providing community-based support to migrants resettling in the United States
  • Conduct research in order to ensure that the legal services are trauma-informed

Learn more about our partnerships:

Residents in the global mental health track spend approximately one Saturday per month collaborating in this student-run primary care setting on the evaluation and treatment of clinical depression and related conditions.

Work at East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership ensures that the residents’ work is truly global.