We are delighted to announce that Dr. Pamela Y. Collins will join the University of Washington as Director of Global Mental Health, a joint program that will be co-led by the Departments of Global Health and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Collins was selected for this important, new position after an international search that considered candidates from multiple continents. She will have a joint appointment as professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (primary) and Global Health (joint). 

Dr. Collins comes to UW after nearly eight years of leadership at the National Institute of Mental Health, where she served as director of the Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health and the Office of Rural Mental Health Research. In these roles she was responsible for developing, articulating, and implementing the NIMH strategy and priorities for research and funding in global mental health, mental health disparities, and scientific workforce diversity and for coordinating and guiding NIMH’s efforts in women’s mental health research. During her tenure at NIMH, Dr. Collins led the development of 11 new funding initiatives for research or research training opportunities in mental health services research in low- and middle-income countries and mental health disparities research in the U.S. building a robust and growing portfolio in global mental health and creating a pathway to independence for young investigators, while also stimulating research in U.S. underserved populations. She and her team led the Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health (GCGMH) study, engaging more than 400 participants from 60 countries in a structured Delphi procedure to identify priorities for global mental health research and practice. Dr. Collins was one of the editors of the 2011 Lancet series on Global Mental Health, and led the 2013 PLoS Medicine Policy Forum series on global perspectives for integrating mental health in diverse platforms of care. She is a member of the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health. 

Dr. Collins has represented NIMH at numerous international and national governmental and non-governmental forums. She currently serves as the co-lead at NIMH on efforts to integrate mental health care into national AIDS care and treatment programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Under the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, she led the mental health initiative, Reducing the Incidence of Suicide in Indigenous Groups: Strengths United through Networks (RISING SUN), a project of the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council.  

Prior to her arrival at NIMH, while a faculty member at Columbia University, Dr. Collins’s research focused on the intersections of HIV prevention, care, and treatment and the mental health needs of women of color in the U.S., as well as diverse groups in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Collins was the founding director of the Global Health Track and co-director of the NIH-funded Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity at the Mailman School of Public Health. Until 2012 she retained faculty appointments at Columbia University in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she was an associate professor. 

Dr. Collins obtained her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She trained in psychiatry and completed a NIMH post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Collins studied cultural psychiatry and applied medical anthropology as a research fellow in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

At the University of Washington, Dr. Collins will join an interdisciplinary group of experienced scientists, clinicians, staff, and students both in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Global Health, and across the university who are conducting research and training in mental health with partners around the world. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Collins to UW. She will officially begin on January 1, 2018. We very much look forward to working closely with her to improve mental health globally.

Jürgen Unützer, MD, MPH
Professor and Chair
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Judith N. Wasserheit, MD, MPH
Professor and Chair
Department of Global Health


Read the National Institutes of Health's announcement here.