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RESEARCH CENTERS AND PROJECTS

 

Research by faculty affiliated with the Institute for Global Mental Health covers a wide range of issues and intervention methods.

Palo Alto University has a longstanding relationship with the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) in Cambodia. This relationship was established by the late Dr. Nigel Field, who was profoundly committed in his research and teaching to helping the people of Cambodia. Following Dr. Field’s passing in 2013, his work has been carried on by PAU alumnus Edward Palmer, PhD and others.

 

TPO Cambodia is a nongovernmental organization (NGO) that has provided mental health care and support to tens of thousands of Cambodians since it was established in 1995. Originally, a branch of the Netherlands-based NGO “TPO International” it became an  independent local NGO, “TPO Cambodia” in 2000 and is now run by Cambodians for Cambodians. It’s mission is to alleviate the psychological and mental health problems of Cambodians in the wake of decades of war and upheaval.

Photo courtesy of TPO Cambodia.

Principal Investigator: Ricardo Muñoz, Ph.D.

A study by i4Health demonstrates that Massive Open Online Interventions (MOOIs) have the potential to provide people worldwide with evidence-based behavioral interventions.

Principal Investigator: Lisa M. Brown, Ph.D, ABPP

  • Exploring mental health needs and evidence-based interventions and treatments among underserved populations such as refugees, homeless, older adults, nursing home residents, and ethnic minorities.

  • Developing and implementing programs for people who have experienced traumatic events, such as disaster, terrorism, suicide, forced relocation, violence, etc.

  • Investigating the determinants of resilience and risk in response to life stressors and traumatic events.

  • Using social marketing and community participatory research strategies to facilitate engagement in healthcare and social services.

  • Refining and evaluating public health initiatives and interventions to enhance disaster planning, response, and recovery.

Principal Investigator: Alinne Barrera, Ph.D.

The long term goal of this research is to reduce mental health disparities among women, particularly Spanish-speaking populations and perinatal women around the world. Dr. Barrera initiated the study at the University of California, San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital with funding from an NIMH Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2007-2009) to design and test a web-adapted intervention program to prevent postpartum depression (PPD). The result was the Mothers and Babies Course/Curso Mamás y Bebés (Muñoz et al., 2001).

 

Dr. Barrera's work  was initially focused on learning whether a fully automated, online version of the intervention would be of interest to pregnant women in the target populations, and examining the efficacy of the web-adapted intervention in reducing the risk of postpartum depression.

Principal Investigators: Eduardo Bunge, Ph.D. (Palo Alto), Betty Gomez, Ph.D. (Buenos Aires)

Dr. Bunge, professor at Palo Alto University (PAU), and Dr. Gomez,, director of the Fundación AIGLÉ (Aiglee Foundation) of Buenos Aires, are working together to bring the Global Advancement of Counseling Excellence  program to Latin America. With an initial focus in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Dr. Bunge has been collaborating with an Argentinean non-profit organization, the Fundación Equipo de Terapia Cognitiva Infanto Juvenil  (Foundation of Cognitive Therapy for Children and Adolescent) which aims to develop and disseminate evidence-based practices with youth all around South America. Its current projects involve a study on user satisfaction with mental health services, the validation of the Spanish version of the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire, and the development of an online mental health disorder screening instrument.

Principal Investigator: Sita Patel, Ph.D.

Dr. Sita Patel's work uses a mixed method approach to study acculturation stress, psychological, social, and academic adjustment, and access to treatment for mental illness among immigrant and minority populations. Her current projects include a study of stressors among newcomer adolescent immigrants from more than 40 countries of origin (e.g., neighborhood environment, discrimination, family conflict, war trauma); an evaluation study of California policies related to limited English proficiency adults in mental health care; and a community partnership focusing on refugee mental health and access to treatment

Lead Author: Jennifer Keller, PhD.

A Stanford School of Medicine study has found that an education program in Nairobi, Kenya produced lasting improvements in teenage boys’ and young men’s attitudes toward women. Lead author of the study is Jennifer Keller, Ph.D., a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and a Research Professor at Palo Alto University.

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