Mukund Nair ’22

Columbia World Health Organization Center for Global Mental Health, New York, NY

My firsthand experiences with the treatment gap in mental health care motivated me to pursue an internship with the Columbia WHO Center for Global Mental Health. The Global Mental Health Center aims to bring professionals working in different sub-specialties within global mental health together under one program and harness the diversity of experiences and expertise members have in their continued work. I was selected along with a cohort of undergraduates across the United States and abroad to take part in an internship with the center this summer. We were enlisted to perform certain support tasks for the center while also being paired with faculty mentors who involved us in their research work as well.

Giving a summary presentation on work at the Center.

I supported the center through three different auxiliary projects. First of these was redrafting gratitude letters for donors to the center. Donations were a large part of what enabled the center to work in varied projects globally, and the letters being sent to donors needed to be revised to reflect the important impact their support was enabling. I aimed to add more quantitative information in the letter to enable donors to see the tangible effects of their donations. After successfully completing the revision process, I transitioned to another project dealing with the Global Clinical Practice Network (GCPN), a network of 16,000+ mental health clinicians. The GCPN website has collated the research projects of network clinicians and I was on a team of three undergraduates tasked with working on the backend of the website to update citations and correct other minor issues. Parallelly, I worked on a grant search for the center. I worked with the internship director to identify a set of inclusion criteria for grants and combed through the NIH and other federal databases to identify specific funding sources the center could use toward mental health training initiatives.

Beyond these duties, I also worked with Dr. Claire Greene on her study gauging the feasibility of introducing a group therapy intervention aimed at serving migrant laborers in Ecuador and Panama. I helped develop a set of detailed standard operation protocols designed to streamline the study process for researchers on the ground.

My experiences this summer have encouraged me to pursue an MPH and a career in public health. More specifically, my time at Columbia has shown me how adaptable and useful skills relating to strategy, implementation, and management are. I feel very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to find a career that combines my passions of medicine, management, creating sustainable change, and working closely with communities. My sincere gratitude to the Class of 1966; without your support, I would not have had such an impactful, learning-filled experience this summer. My gratitude to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration as well. The support, and opportunities you have afforded me are invaluable. Thank you!