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Fall 2023 Mental Health: A Global Priority

The World Health Organization (WHO) affirms that “there is no health without mental health.” Individuals everywhere are discussing mental health now more than ever before. However, billions experience a lack of access to support resources and the quality of care needed. Communities across the world are facing a mental health crisis that demands action. How do we combat disparities when it comes to mental health literacy?

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The UC San Diego Global Health Program and Students for Global Health held our twentieth event in Quarterly Conversations in Global Health on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023, at the Great Hall of I-House! This quarter’s panel spoke on Mental Health.

Quarterly Conversations provides a forum for the Global Health community to come together to discuss relevant issues in the field from an interdisciplinary perspective and increase community interaction at UC San Diego.

Thank you to the community tables who participated in the event’s networking session: Students for Global Health, Global Health Reps, Partners in Health, Center for Global Mental Health, Active Minds, and CAPS at UCSD.

We would like to give our special appreciation to our event co-sponsors: UC San Diego Global Health Institute, UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences, UC San Diego Global Health Program, UC San Diego Center for Global Mental Health, UC San Diego Students for Global Health, and the UC San Diego International House.

Panel Recap

We were delighted to have Dr. Thomas Csordas, Director of UC San Diego’s Global Health Program, moderating the event as our Master of Ceremonies.

Dr. Janis H. Jenkins

Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Psychiatry, Director of the Center for Global Mental Health, UC San Diego

Dr. Janis Hunter Jenkins is a psychological/medical anthropologist with expertise on culture and mental health. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA and post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School. She has taught on the faculty at Harvard University, Case Western Reserve University, and UC San Diego. 

Within the Department of Anthropology, Professor Janis Jenkins is a member of the Psychological/Medical Anthropology subfield. As of Fall 2021, Dr. Jenkins is Vice-President/President-Elect for the Society of Psychological Anthropology sub-section of the American Anthropological Society. Her principal interests are cultural processes and structural institutions that shape mental health and illness worldwide. Her theoretical formulation entails conceptualizing mental illness as a fundamental human possibility, capacity, and process that affects all humans, to greater or lesser degrees, and for varying temporal periods. 

Dr. Jenkins works with families, adults, children and adolescents in studies of culturally diverse refugee, migrant, and immigrant populations.

Dr. Jyoti Mishra

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Co-Director of the UC Climate Change and Mental Health Initiative, Founder & Director of NEATLabs, UC San Diego

Dr. Jyoti Mishra is an Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego. Dr. Mishra is trained in computational, cognitive and translational neurosciences. In January 2023, Dr. Jyoti Mishra was appointed as the Co-director, UC Climate Change and Mental Health Initiative. 

She is the founder of the Neural Engineering & Translation Labs (NEATLabs) at UC San Diego. Active research foci include personalized mental health and implementing resilience in the context of climate change. Her team seeks to understand whether the symptoms of climate change-related trauma translate to changes in cognitive functioning – the mental processes involved in memory, learning, thinking and reasoning. This research has been featured in the TIME magazine, Washington Post, NPR, The Hill, World Economic Forum, Neuroscience News, among others.

Dr. Amanda Miller

Postdoctoral Researcher, NIAAA T32 Alcohol Research Training Program Postdoctoral Fellow, San Diego State University/UC San Diego

Dr. Amanda Miller has been conducting HIV and substance use research since 2010. She received her doctorate from University of California, San Diego, her masters from University of California, San Francisco and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the NIAAA Science in the Practitioner Model T32 at SDSU/UCSD. 

Dr. Miller’s research primarily focuses on the synergy between alcohol use, experiences of intimate partner violence and HIV. Her dissertation research examined how alcohol use and intimate partner violence impact HIV care and treatment outcomes in Uganda. Her postdoctoral research is focused on addressing perinatal alcohol use among pregnant and breastfeeding women who are at high risk of HIV infection of living with HIV in South Africa. 

She is also co-investigator on a study to assess the feasibility of integrating point of care syphilis testing into routine antenatal care in Uganda and has ongoing mental health research at the same study site aimed at characterizing drivers of poor mental health and substance use and identifying gaps in mental health literacy in this setting to inform adaptation of interventions to address these issues.

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