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GMH Newsletter Featured Topics – June 2021

2021 June Newsletter

New HIV and Mental Health Center

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the Behavioral Research Center for HIV (BIRCH) at the University of Washington. This developmental Center, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, will provide infrastructure and support for high-impact science on HIV and mental health and a research home for like-minded scholars. The Center will emphasize interdisciplinary research on the behavioral aspects of the epidemic, especially how we can better integrate mental health care into HIV prevention and treatment strategies. In addition, the Center will offer technical assistance, training, and pilot funding for interested investigators. A central aim is to nurture the next generation of diverse HIV researchers through training and mentorship. Our goal is to facilitate the dissemination of the latest advances, not just within academic circles, but to HIV service providers, affected communities, and policymakers as well. The Center is led by Drs. Jane Simoni, Pamela Collins, and Susan Graham, with support from Deepa Rao (Developmental Core Director), Lydia Chwastiak (Integrated Care Core Director), and Brian Flaherty (Methods Core Director).

The UW BIRCH will prioritize partnerships with our university, community, and global partners, without whose support we cannot succeed. We look forward to working closely with our partners and building this Center together.

Stay tuned for our new website and newsletter! In the meantime, please follow us on Twitter (@uwbirch) to stay connected to our developing Center!

GMH Speaker Series

In May, the UW Global Mental Health Program held its Spring Speaker Series Event. Dr. Judy Bass of Johns Hopkins University presented her work entitled, “Addressing Trauma Among Adults Who Have Experienced Conflict: Lessons on Intervention Implementation Across Contexts.” Dr. Bass described the outcomes of and approaches to randomized trials of task-sharing mental health interventions in settings such as Ukraine, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Myanmar. She discussed implementation strategies to improve mental health service uptake, development and rigorous evaluation of measures for assessing program implementation, and the use of innovative methods to identify risk and protective factors for psychosocial and mental health problems.

For those who were unable to attend the event, you can access the recording here.

GMH Pilot Award Recipient

Ian Bennett

Congrats to Ian Bennett and colleagues on their receipt of the 2021 Global Mental Health Pilot Award!

Mobile Registry for Obstetric Behavioral Health Integration (mROBHIN)

PI: Ian Bennett

Project Summary/Abstract

The Mobile Registry for Obstetric Behavioral Health Integration (mROBHIN) project is a one-year development effort to build an advanced patient registry for chronic disease focused on perinatal mental disorders in low resourced settings. Common perinatal mental disorders, depression and anxiety, and the risk of death by suicide are prevalent and serious, but few women from low and middle income countries (LMICs) receive effective treatment. Using support from the UW Center for Global Mental Health to initiate this work our interdisciplinary team at UW will partner with implementation teams in Viet Nam and Nigeria to build a prototype registry. Advanced patient registries for chronic disease are a key tool for the implementation of the evidence based collaborative care model (CoCM) allowing efficient population based care delivery and the proactive management of patients. The aim is to integrate existing and proven functionalities of advanced registries, developed at the UW AIMS Center, into a mobile enabled module of the open source DHIS2 health informatics system using a stakeholder co-design methodology. A new partnership with faculty from UW Family Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and I-TECH DIGI with expertise in health informatics in these settings will be critical to the success of this effort. DHIS2 is designed to work in these settings and is available in many LMICs allowing for rapid dissemination of the tool. The mROBHIN project will create this registry for use in community health settings of Can Tho Vietnam, and Ibadan Nigeria building upon existing collaborative efforts to implement CoCM for perinatal common mental disorders in these settings. The V1.0 form of this registry will be tested for usability in these settings and modified as needed in preparation for a cluster randomized trial to be carried out in Viet Nam and Nigeria.


Rachel Rinehart

Congrats to Rachel Rinehart on her 2021-2022 GMH Fellowship Award!

Rachel is a second-year medical student at the University of Washington. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the UW School of Public Health. After graduation, she worked in mental health research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and traveled for eight months to examine mental health and health care systems in Africa and Asia through the Bonderman International Travel Fellowship. During her time abroad, she became connected with the healthcare community in Rwanda, particularly a country-wide program called the National Organization for Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in Rwanda (NOUSPR). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NOUSPR lost access to many members with severe mental illness who had previously participated in a peer support program. In collaboration with NOUSPR, Rachel will use funding from the Global Mental Health Fellowship to develop a mobile outreach program for people with mental illnesses. She plans to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a mobile peer support program to determine the potential for expansion to the rest of the organization’s members and other Rwandans with mental illnesses who previously did not have access due to geographical isolation.

Events and Opportunities

Wellcome Trust Request for Proposals on Workplace Mental Health

Wellcome is delighted to announce the launch of the Workplace Mental Health 2021 Request for Proposals.

Businesses all over the world are increasingly thinking about how they can most effectively support the mental health of their staff, even more so in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, despite growing interest and investment in workplace mental health, we still have so much to learn about what works.

In 2020, Wellcome asked ten global research teams to review the evidence behind a sample of promising approaches for preventing anxiety and depression in the workplace, focusing on younger workers. The research spanned a broad range of approaches ranging from employee autonomy to breaking up excessive sitting to financial wellbeing interventions. You can read a summary of the findings from this commission on their website.

Now they are looking to commission up to 20 research teams to review the evidence behind other individual promising approaches for preventing or addressing mental health problems in the workplace. This time they are broadening the scope to consider workers of all ages and wider mental health problems and they’re asking research teams to involve people with lived experience of mental health problems in the workplace throughout their projects.

Wellcome is particularly interested in approaches for supporting workers in low- and middle-income countries and it is their intention to commission at least five projects where the Lead is based in a low-income or middle-income country. They are also especially interested in research focused on supporting those who may be underrepresented and/or experiencing inequalities and discrimination in the workforce.

The commission will take place between October 2021 and March 2022 and the deadline for submitting an expression of interest is 12:00 BST on Monday 28 June