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I am very excited to have started my Global Mental Health Internship at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center. I have joined a group of 11 really interesting interns from all over the world. During my first week, I heard from a panel of graduates from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. It was really interesting to hear about their different career paths and their reasons for getting a Masters in Public Health, specifically focusing on the impact of mental health globally.

We also got to hear from Dr. Kathy Pike, the Executive Director and Scientific Co-Director of the Global Mental Health Program. Dr. Pike discussed the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), a measurement tool that incorporated the prevalence of a disease or a risk factor and the relative harm or burden it causes. The GBD quantifies the true burden of mental illnesses so that change can be made in health care systems and disparities can be reduced. I am really interested in this idea, and after her talk, I was able to speak to Dr. Pike about the opportunity to work with her to research the GBD for a series of different mental illnesses. We discussed the creation of a graph that would represent the significant gap that is seen between the burden of a specific illness and the funding/resources available to treat and educate people about that illness.

Overall, it has been a great first week. I am looking to be working with my research mentor, Dr. Reuben Robbins on his work conducting neurocognitive assessments for HIV+ adolescents. I will learn more about that in the coming weeks!