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GMH Newsletter Featured Topics – January/February 2022

Remembering Dr. Paul Farmer

We were deeply saddened to learn about the death Paul Farmer earlier this week.  The outpouring of grief, love, and respect echoes our own feelings.  We have lost a fierce advocate for the development of global health initiatives that seek to serve the most vulnerable among us. To say that he will be missed feels inadequate, but succinctly captures our feelings today.

While we will continue to mourn his passing for some time, we will also celebrate Paul Farmer’s life and work.

Partners in Health (PIH) has done some truly transformational work in HIV and TB care, and also through their Global Mental Health programs.  Along with Dr. Farmer, our colleagues in mental health at PIH have sought to shine a clear light on the lack of mental health services and infrastructure in low-resource settings across the globe.  As we continue our work in global mental health, we can honor the legacy of Paul Farmer by emulating his stance as a fearless champion for global health both abroad and here at home.

Paul Farmer will be missed.  And his work will continue in the hands of all us who have been able to learn from him.

Global Mental Health Updates

Identifying promising approaches to address the health needs of Afghan refugees

In October of 2021 the Brookings Institution issued a report detailing the need for culturally relevant health care services to address the physical and mental health needs of Afghan refugees as they settle in communities around the world. They note that making health services available is not the only challenge.

For these services to be fully effective for Afghans settling in the United States, they must be provided in a way that is sensitive to differences in culture, language, and community dynamics—with interpreters an immediate need.

Read more about their analysis and promising approaches that they have identified.

Mental Health Care Leadership Champions

The unmet needs for care for mental health problems have always been large; they have only increased during the current pandemic. Mental Health Care Leadership Champions will help narrow this gap by training and mentoring forward-thinking leaders.

The Certificate of Specialization comprises three programs, taught by faculty from the Harvard School of Public Health, the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard Initiative and an international pool of experts, embracing both empirical evidence and real-world lessons.

Learn more about who should apply and get more information on the program structure.

Shamiri: A Simple, Scalable, and Stigma-Free Mental Health Intervention for Adolescents in Kenya

Shamiri means “thrive” in Kiswahili. The Shamiri intervention empowers youth by providing a free, school-based intervention in which recent high school graduates help students integrate three positive psychological principles (growth mindset, gratitude, and value affirmations) into their lives.

By using a strengths-based approach, youth can focus on character strengths and emotional wellbeing in a stigma-free way. Through multiple randomized controlled trials, the Shamiri intervention has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety among adolescents, as well as improve academic grades.

Learn more about Shamiri from a presentation at the Columbia University Seminar Series on Global Mental Health

GMH Spotlight

Celebrating Black History Month: Sharing Important Resources

Mental Health America is highlighting Black and African American contributions to the mental health movement because they are oftentimes overlooked. You can learn about these individuals and access more resources on meeting the mental health needs of Black communities here.

West Coast Global Mental Health Webinar Series

In 2020, the UW Global Mental Health team gathered a small group of faculty from institutions along the Pacific Coast to form a West Coast Global Mental Health Consortium. The explicit goal of the group is to build collaborative activities around shared priorities related to mental health equity in specific populations in West Coast communities as well as in the global settings where we partner. UW’s very own Dr. Roberto Orellana (Social Work) launched the series by sharing his work on life experiences of young Indigenous MSM in the Americas, including how members of these communities navigate identity, stigma, discrimination and power in the village and city contexts against the backdrop of intergenerational political trauma.

Please do keep an eye out for more details about our next speaker!

GMH Journal Club

The GMH Journal Club meets every Thursday from 4 – 5pm PST. Join us for the opportunity to discuss key topics in Global Mental Health, tips on professional development, and to share learnings with your peers.

Find us on Zoom!

GMH Funding Opportunities


UW BIRCH invites pilot study applications focused on research methodologies to help understand and ameliorate the confluence of challenges created by mental health and substance use disorders with HIV risk and infection. Read the full RFA and find the application template here.

Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be a current member of the UW faculty or a PI-eligible research scientist at UW. This mechanism is open to both early-career investigators as well as more senior researchers. All Applicants must become BIRCH members.

  • RFA Released: January 25, 2022
  • Applications Due: March 31, 2022 at 11:59pm PST
  • Notification of Award: April 20, 2022
  • Estimated Period of Performance: May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023

SPARC Awards

Through the SPARC RFA for pilot awards, UW BIRCH aims to support early-career researchers to conduct work that ‘sparks’ research in mental health and associated conditions in the context of HIV.

Successful awardees will be included in the SPARC Scholars program which includes monthly fellowships meetings, access to mentors across the UW BIRCH network, and opportunities to collaborate with other SPARC scholars. Read the full RFA here.

  • Award Amount: $30,000
  • Applications due: March 14, 2022
  • Notification of award: March 28, 2022