GMH Winter Institute | Teachers College Columbia University

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GMH Winter Institute: Mental Health and Evidence-Based Policy Research

January 9, 2017 - January 13, 2017

GMH Winter Institute: Mental Health and Evidence-Based Policy Research

In collaboration with Policy Research Group, University of Cambridge, U.K.

Location: Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY

Times: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM ET Each Day

Registration Fee: $1,750.00

25% Student Discount - Please contact for more infomation.

If you have any questions, please submit an inquiry by clicking on the button below. If you encounter problems with the inquiry form, please email us directly at

When clearly conceptualized, implemented, monitored and assessed, a mental health policy can co-ordinate essential services and activities to ensure that treatment and care is delivered to those in need, while at the same time preventing fragmentation and deficiencies in the health system (WHO, 2016). In line with strengthening multi-sectoral human resources in policy development and research, this course is targeted at researchers and professionals from health, mental health, education, policy-making and industry sectors.

The Winter Institute is a five-day training course for the development of skills relevant to generating research and translating evidence into policy, with a particular focus on mental health and well-being as the critical outcomes of interest for policy research. The course is heavily practice-based with activity/simulation sessions applying what has been learned in the classroom session, culminating in a final day of outcome presentations. Anchored in discussion of policies surrounding mental health, the course hones in on the evidence-based policy process, including the understanding and identification of policy levers, impact writing, visualization and message delivery. The Institute will be taught by leading experts in Global Mental Health and Evidence-Based Policy Research:

Kai Ruggeri, Ph.D, is an Affiliated Lecturer and Senior Researcher in the Department of Psychology, directing the Policy Research Group at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on how population behavior is influenced by policies, and how integrating evidence into policies will influence economic outcomes and population well-being

Lena Verdeli, Ph.D, MSc, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology and Director of the Global Mental Health Lab, Teachers College, Columbia University, who has been playing a leading role in adapting, training, testing, and disseminating IPT-G in low-resource regions. She and her close collaborators recently launched the manual for Group Interpersonal Therapy (IPT-G) as part of the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP).

John Allegrante, Ph.D., is the senior Professor of Health Education at Teachers College and has served as Chairman of the Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Deputy Provost of the College, and Associate Vice President for International Affairs. He has published extensively in health education, health promotion, clinical epidemiology and health services research, with a focus on chronic diseases and child and adolescent development. As a Fulbright U.S. Scholar and Fulbright Specialist in Public/Global Health, he has served as a member of the Advisory Board of Reykjavik University, where he now holds an appointment as a professor in the Department of Psychology, and as a policy adviser to Iceland's Ministry of Health and its Public Health Institute.

Katerina DeVito, MSc. is a doctoral student at Teachers College in the Health Education program, where she serves as the Fulbright Program Coordinator, guiding students through the Fulbright application process. She earned her bachelors at Cornell University, and a masters of science in epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research focuses on culturally tailored behavioral health interventions and mental health. Her current project is exploring the relationship between social support and adolescent mental health in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Through active learning strategies, activities and simulation sessions, trainees will gain knowledge on essential evidence-based policy process:

  1. Understanding the interaction of Policy and Science. This includes an introduction to primary policymaking bodies, process of covering policies with and without an evidence base, measurement and evaluation and assessing quality of evidence
  2. Evaluating Evidence in Policy, using Policy Research Group’s approach to evidence-based policy making. The aim of this approach is to produce a policy platform that is suitable for long-term use as a tool to monitor and adapt as key indicators change. By using this tool, we support researchers to be consistent and diligent even when faced with highly complex issues.
  3. Convincing Policy Makers, by learning essential skills of impact writing and visualization of findings.
  4. Adapting and applying evidence-based policy in their own work, in a final day group presentation, following simulation activities and roundtable.

* Program enrollment is limited to 35 participants.

* Certificate of Completion from Teachers College and University of Cambridge will be provided upon completion of the course.

Missions and Goals:

The mission of the Institute is to play a leading role in the training evidence-based policy research in mental health, integrating and sharing knowledge across disciplines and stakeholders towards a vision of better mental health systems for all. We plan to do so by conducting the proposed annual workshop and gradually develop a community of learners and advocates dedicated to the mission.

Learning Objectives

  • To holistically train participants in best practices of evidence-based policy research
  • To guide participants in conceptualising, adapting and applying evidence-based policy in their own work beyond the training program.


Participants who complete this program will have:

  • Tangible understanding of policy and processes involved
  • Ability to classify evidence in terms of policy readiness
  • Develop skills related to writing for impact in policy briefs
  • Basic understanding of visualisation of scientific insights
  • Sense of roundtable experience in complex topics

Lena Verdeli, Ph.D., M.Sc., Teachers College, Columbia University
Director of Clinical Training and Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology; Director of the Global Mental Health Lab, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Lena Verdeli has been teaching graduate psychology students, psychiatry residents and fellows on research and practice of empirically-supported treatments at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Verdeli’s research focuses on prevention and treatment of mood disorders in adolescents and adults and has received numerous federal and foundation grants for her work. She played a key role in the adaptation, training, and evaluation of psychotherapy protocols used by non-specialists in low-resource areas and has collaborated with academic and humanitarian groups in the US and abroad in treatment studies with depressed adults in southern Uganda and war-affected adolescents in IDP camps in northern Uganda; distressed primary care patients in Goa, India; depressed and anxious persons in Haiti; and traumatized internally displaced women in Bogota, Colombia. She has served as a Technical Advisor for the WHO, Division of Mental Health and Substance Use; Chair of the Research Working group for the Family Committee at the UN; Advisory Board member of the American Foundation for Suicide Research and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance; and Member of the Mental Health Advisory Board of the Millennium Villages Project of the Earth Institute.

Kai Ruggeri, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Columbia University
Senior Researcher & Affiliated Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge; Director of Studies, Corpus Christi College; Director of the Policy Research Group, University of Cambridge

Dr. Kai Ruggeri is an Affiliated Lecturer and Senior Researcher in the Department of Psychology, directing the Policy Research Group. He specializes in methods, research design and quantitative analysis across a variety of projects, typically related to health and health policy, with an emphasis on economics, education, and psychometrics. His research focuses on looking at how population behavior is influenced by policies, and how integrating evidence into policies may influence economic outcomes and population well-being. He has served as a metrics specialist in the Judge Business School Executive Education programme, an Affiliate of the Centre for Science and Policy and an Associate of The Psychometrics Centre. He is also the acting Executive Director of the Well-being Institute. His current research includes work with the Health Foundation, Cogentia UK, the Economic and Social Research Council, Jaguar-LandRover, Arup UK, and the Behavioural Insights Team. His background is in quantitative research with an emphasis on evidence-based policy, mainly in global health. Kai is Director of Studies in Psychology and Behavioural Sciences at Corpus Christi College. He is also founding Director of the Junior Researcher Programme - a global research initiative for young psychologists. In the Department, he primarily lectures in statistics and research design.

John Allegrante, Ph.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Senior Professor of Health Education, Teachers College; Adjunct Professor, Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; Teachers College Fulbright Program Advisor and Campus Representative; Fulbright Ambassador

Dr. John Allegrante is an applied behavioral scientist whose research focuses on health behavior, behavioral self-management, and health outcomes in chronic disease. He has had over 25 years of continuous funding from NIH to develop and evaluate novel behavioral intervention approaches to improve self-management and health outcomes in people with chronic disease. He has produced an extensive bibliography of published papers in health education and health promotion and in clinical epidemiology and health services research, a substantial corpus of which has illuminated a transdisciplinary understanding of how to facilitate adherence to and maintenance of behavioral change. Dr. Allegrante has also been in the vanguard of innovation in professional preparation and workforce development in public health education, leading efforts to establish a unified system of accreditation for professional preparation programs in the United States and to develop global consensus on domains of core competencies in global health promotion that are now being implemented across the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. As a Fulbright Specialist in Public/Global Health from 2005 to 2010 and as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar in 2007, Allegrante launched a collaboration with Icelandic behavioral and social scientists to develop what is now an ongoing program of multidisciplinary research currently supported by a grant from the European Research Council to investigate risks and protective factors in child and adolescent development.

Global Mental Health Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University: The Global Mental Health (GMH) Lab, founded in the Fall of 2008, provides graduate students and learners of all backgrounds with opportunities to develop and contribute to GMH research and practice under the mentorship of Dr. Verdeli and her collaborators. The mission of the Lab is to play a key role in the efforts to reduce the burden of mental illness and increase wellbeing in resource-poor areas around the world, through training and mentorship, research and practice, policy and advocacy. To that end, we conduct innovative and rigorous research focusing on assessment, field-testing and implementation research, training and sustainable capacity building in evidence-based, locally valid psychotherapy in under-resourced settings. Further, we service the international mental health community by providing consultation to international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as Ministries of Health of a number of countries. At the present, we are in the process of completing a manual for global dissemination of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Groups (IPT-G) by the WHO.

Website Link:

Policy Research Group at University of Cambridge: The Policy Research Group (PRG), headed by Dr. Kai Ruggeri, has at the core of its mission evidence-based policy research that aims to influence better population outcomes, in terms of well-being and economic responsibility. Beyond running regular training courses on evidence-based policy, PRG’s diverse research generates relevant evidence for decision-making in interdisciplinary fields of psychology, governmental policy-making and industries. Beginning in 2016, in partnership with the Junior Researcher Program, produces an annual report – Insights for Impact – highlighting where contemporary psychological research translates into policy impact. As this endeavor demonstrates, PRG’s ultimate aim is to generate relevant evidence on policy that engages a wide audience on the potential for applications across diverse populations.

Website Link:

The Institute is a 5 full day training (9-5pm), with coffee breaks at 11am and 2pm and lunch from 1230-1pm. Program includes six classroom sessions, four accompanying afternoon activities (Day 1-4), a one-day simulation and roundtable (Day 4) and a final day of presentations (Day 5).

Day 1 Introduction to Policy and Public Mental Health

Day 2 Understanding the interplay of Evidence and Policy; Best Practices of Evaluating Evidence in Evidence-Based Policy Research

Day 3 Convincing Policymakers: Writing for Impact and Visualization

Day 4 Simulation and Roundtable on Mental Health Policymaking

Day 5 Full Day | Presentations

This full day of presentations will start off with short group presentations by the participating class applying what they learnt over the last four days on evidence-based policy research to their topic of choice. Dr. Allegrante will present his research on substance use prevention in adolescents in Iceland with funding support from the European Research Council, as a significant contribution to how good mental health research can translate to evidence-based policy and systemic interventions. His doctoral student, Katerina De Vito, will be speaking in tandem about her proposed research study in Iceland with the support of a Fulbright award. The Institute rounds up with complementary and synthesizing keynote presentations by Dr. Verdeli and Dr. Ruggeri.

* These sessions may be modified to suit the makeup of enrolled participants. 



Our location

Teachers College, Columbia University is located at 525 West 120th Street, between Amsterdam and Broadway. The closest subway stop is the 116th Street/Columbia University stop, accessed by the 1 train. After getting off the train, Teachers College is a couple of blocks towards North, which is about 5 minutes walking distance. 

Holiday Inn Midtown, 440 W. 57th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues
If you chose Holiday Inn, you could either take a cab ($15.00) or walk to the subway for about 10 minutes followed by a 25-30 minute subway ride. If you prefer this method, take the 1 subway line from the 59th Street/Columbus Circle stop to the 116th Street/Columbia University stop, then walk the short 4 blocks to Teachers College.

Hotel Beacon, 2130 Broadway at 75th Street NY, NY 10023
(212) 787-11100
You could either chose a $10.00 taxi cab ride, or, a 25-30 minutes subway ride to 116th Street and Broadway—Columbia University Stop. You then walk the short 4 blocks to Teachers College.

The Lucerne Hotel, 201 West 79th Street, NY, NY
(215) 875-1000
This involves about a $10.00 taxi cab ride to Teachers College, Columbia University located at 525 West 120th Street ; or, a short (25-30 minutes) subway ride to 116th Street and Broadway—Columbia University Stop.

Marrakech Hotel, 2688 Broadway and 103rd Street
This is approximately 20 minutes from Teachers College on the 1 subway line from the 103rd Street stop to the 116th Street/Columbia University stop. 

Hotel Belleclaire, 250 W. 77th Street and Broadway
This is approximately 20 minutes from Teachers College on the 1 subway line from the 79th Street stop to the 116th Street/Columbia University stop. 

Teachers College Guest Housing 517 West 121st Street New York, NY 10027

Additional, conveniently located accommodations
Union Theological Seminary (212) 280-1313*
West Side YMCA, (212) 875-4273
Harlem YMCA, (212) 281-4100 ext 210



There are two international airports in the New York City area: (1) JFK international airport; and, (2) Newark International Airport.

TAXI FROM JFK: JFK is located in Queens Borough of NYC. Teachers College, Columbia University is located in the Manhattan Borough of NYC. Taking a taxi would be the most convenient way to reach Manhattan from the JFK airport. It costs about $50 to reach any destination in Manhattan from the JFK, whether your hotel or Teachers College, Columbia University.

SUBWAY FROM JFK: Taking the subway from JFK is another option for reaching Manhattan where Teachers College, Columbia University is located. However, this option is much slower (e.g. up to 1 hour and 45 minutes) and rather inconvenient when carrying luggage (up and down several sets of stairs). You can take the airport shuttle to Howard Beach station to board A Train which takes you to 42nd Street/Times Square where you transfer to No. 1 subway train; you must be careful to select the UPTOWN # 1 train; you would get off at 116 Street Station, also known as the Columbia University Station.

TAXI FROM NEWARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Newark airport is located in the city of Newark, New Jersey. A taxi from Newark to Manhattan or to the college costs about $50.

TRAIN AND SUBWAY FROM NEWARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: You can also take a train to reach Manhattan from the Newark Airport. The train will take you from Newark to the Penn Station stop in Manhattan; once there, you can transfer to the No. 1 Subway train, heading uptown, allowing you to reach the 116 Street Station, also known as the Columbia University Station).


TAXI FROM LAGUARDIA: The closest domestic airport is the LaGuardia Airport. A taxi costs about $30-$35 or more to reach most hotels Manhattan, and about $30 to reach Teachers College, Columbia University by taxi.

SUBWAY FROM LAGUARDIA: You can also take bus No. M60 which takes you directly to the West Gate at 116th and Broadway. Teachers College, Columbia University is a short walk, being located at 525 West 120th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.


Amtrak provides train service along the Northeast Corridor. Explore rates at

Amtrak involves an approximately $20 taxi ride from 31st and 8th Avenue to 120th and Broadway (525 West 120th Street—between Broadway and Amsterdam). Or, a 20-30 minutes subway ride on the 1 train from 34th street to 116th street. Then walk North to 120th and Broadway.