Guyana Well-Being Conference Schedule 2022
Please note that this program schedule is tentative and subject to change.
(17 November, 2022)
Selection of International Speakers
Alan Apter, MD
Professor, Tel Aviv University, Reichman University, Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Head, Feinberg Child Study Center, Department of Psychological Medicine, Schneider Children’s Medical Center, Israel.
Professor Apter is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, educator and world-renowned suicidologist, working internationally with psychiatrists and primary care providers to develop suicide prevention and intervention programs. Professor Apter has served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Yale School of Medicine, and Columbia University Medical Center. Professor Apter has recently joined the faculy at Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology at Reichman University in Hervliya, Israel. He is known for helping to build mental health capacity, especially suicide prevention activities, through research and training health professionals. Professor Apter is a Consultant on the Guyana Well- Being Study.
Judit Balazs, MD, PhD, DSc
Professor of Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary, Professor of Oslo New University College, Oslo, Norway
Professor Balazs is a Child Psychiatrist, who, in addition to her medical (MD) and research (Ph.D.) training, received a Doctor of Sciences from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She is a full Professor at Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary and she is a part-time Professor at Bjørknes University College, Oslo, Norway, and tutor at Semmelweis University, Budapest. Professor Balazs is the past-President of the Hungarian Psychiatric Association, Chair of the Child Psychiatry Section of the European Psychiatric Association, and Chair of the Suicide Network of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Her main research interests are neurodevelopmental disorders, adolescent suicide prevention, subthreshold mental disorders, and quality of life.
Ellen-ge Denton, PsyD
Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Rochester Medical Center, Dept of Psychiatry, Center for Suicide Prevention Studies, Rochester, NY, USA. Associate Professor, College of Staten Island, City University of New York (CUNY), Staten Island, New York, USA.
Dr. Denton is a Clinical Psychologist with extensive experience providing psychological consultation services in Guyana since 2014, especially to service providers of the orphanage population. She has a strong foundation in conducting training and mentoring that has contributed to building suicide prevention clinical research capacity in resource-limited settings. Dr. Denton is a Co-Investigator on the Guyana Well-Being Study and a Consultant to the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Kamini Doobay, MD
Emergency Room Physician, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Doobay, from Guyana, is the Founder and Organizer, NYC Coalition to Dismantle Racism in the Health System, with expertise in advocacy, anti-racism curriculum development, policy, development of institutional health equity, strategic planning, and coalition-building. Her ER experiences, necessarily attending to patients from all segments of society, as well as the role of the service system including hospital administration, police, city government, etc., continues to fuel Dr. Doobay’s determination to facilitate the dismantling of racism in health care.
Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, MD
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Professor Lewis-Fernández is the Director of the Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence and the Hispanic Treatment Program, and Co-Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic. His research focuses on developing clinical interventions and novel service-delivery approaches to help overcome disparities in persons with anxiety, depression, and other serious mental illnesses. Professor Lewis-Fernandez is known as an eloquent speaker on these topics and was recently selected by NIMH to provide a national (USA) public mental health lecture on the topic. He is president of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry and Immediate Past President of the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture. Professor Lewis-Fernández Chairs the DSM-5-TR Internalizing Disorders Review Committee and the Cultural Issues Review Committee, and Co-Chairs the Working Group on Culture-Related Features of ICD-11.
Madelyn Gould, PHD, MPH
Irving Phillips Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Professor Gould directs a unit within the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry focused on suicide research. Her research interests include the epidemiology of youth suicide, as well as the evaluation of youth suicide prevention interventions. Professor Gould has received continuous federal funding (e.g., NIMH, CDC, SAMHSA) for her research on suicide prevention for more than 30 years. She is recognized globally for her outstanding contributions to suicide prevention, including telephone crisis services, chat crisis services, continuity of care enhancements in EDs, and youth suicide screening programs. Most recently, she led the successful effort to establish a national (USA) Suicide Hotline, launched in 2021. Professor Gould is a Significant Contributor to the Guyana Well-Being Study.
Helen Herrman, MD, MBBS, BMedSc, FFPHM, FRANZCP, FAFPHM
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Orygen and the Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Australia.
Professor Herrman, a world-renowned leader in global mental health, is immediate Past President of the World Psychiatric Association and Past President of the International Association of Women’s Mental Health, as well as the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists. She is a psychiatrist and public health practitioner and a former Research Fellow of the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. She is director of the WHO Collaborating Centre in mental health in Melbourne and was formerly seconded for one year as acting regional advisor in mental health at the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office in Manila. Professor Herrman has led research programs to address the mental health of marginalized groups, including homeless people, prisoners, and young women and men living in out-of-home care, and is currently an investigator with indigenous-led programs promoting family, community and health systems support for young parents with experience of complex trauma. Professor Herrman is Consultant to the Guyana Well-Being Study and is Co-Chair (with Professor Emanuel Cummings) of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Christina W. Hoven, DrPH, MPH
Professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Professor Hoven, a Child Psychiatric Epidemiologist, is Director of the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group, Columbia University Medical Center who has conducted research throughout the world. She is Principal Investigator/Director (with MPI Dr. George Musa) of the NIMH funded Guyana Well-Being Study and Director (with Columbia Co-Director Professor Charles Branas and University of Guyana Director Dr. Reeta Gobin and Co-Director Ms. Leann Kendall) of the Fogarty International Center funded Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program. These three projects constitute the current Guyana Well-Being Project, which, in continuing collaboration with Guyanese colleagues are expected to increase. Professor Hoven’s research, both nationally and internationally, primarily focuses on trauma, suicide, disasters and social justice, with all her research designed to impact public mental health policy and improve mental health services.
Norman Sartorius, MD, MA, DPM, PhD, FRCPsych
President, Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programs, Geneva, Switzerland.
Professor Sartorius, known as a “Living Legend”, is considered by most to be beyond description regarding his all-encompassing contribution to global mental health. His numerous accomplishments extend from being Director of the WHO’s Division of Mental Health, to being University Professor, author of more than 500 articles and many books, recipient of untold Honorary Degrees, President of every important psychiatric organization including the WPA, EPA, EAP, to being perhaps the most sought-after trainer in psychiatry, especially of young psychiatrists. Currently, he holds faculty appointments throughout the world, edits three professional journals, serves on numerous Boards and conducts much sought-after trainings. Professor Sartorius is a Consultant to the Guyana Well-Being Study.
Danuta Wasserman, MD, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry and Suicidology, Karolinska Institutet (KI), Stockholm, Sweden. Director and Founder of the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental lll-Health (NASP) at KI. Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research, Methods Development and Training in Suicide Prevention at KI. President-Elect of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA).
Dr. Wasserman is world renowned for her research and other efforts to prevent suicide. She was Principal Investigator of the European Union SEYLE Study (10 countries and 11,000+ students) that demonstrated the largest reduction of suicidal behaviors over 12 months. She has written more than 500 articles and many books and reports, especially for WHO. Dr. Wasserman is past President of the European Psychiatric Association, former President of the International Academy of Suicide Research and President-elect of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA). She is recognized for her leadership in raising awareness that suicide can and must be reduced and providing guidance for doing so. Dr. Wasserman is a Consultant to the Guyana Well-Being Study and a Member of the Training Advisory Committee of the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Lakshmi Vijayakumar, MBBS, DPM, PhD, FRCP (Edin), FRCPsych (Hon)
Head, Department Psychiatry, Voluntary Health Services (VHS), Chennai, India.
Professor Vijayakumar is a Honorary Adjunct Professor, University of Griffith, East Queensland, Australia. and founder of SNEHA, a pioneering suicide prevention organization in India. She is also Honorary Assoociate Professor, University of Melbourne. Professor Vijayakumar is a member of WHO’s Network for Suicide Research and Prevention and the International Academy of Suicide Research, as well as the former Vice President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Known for her commitment to the reduction of suicide, she is a frequent speaker and consultant on suicide prevention efforts nationally and internationally, especially in LMICs. Dr. Vijayakumar is a Consultant on the Guyana Well-Being Study.
Justine Wright, MPH
NIMH Research fellow, Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY
Ms. Wright is a recent recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) diversity supplement grant, and holds a Master of Public Health (Health Policy Management). She has participated in GPEG’s field research in NYC. Her research interest focuses on implementing culturally adaptive evidence-based interventions at the community level to improve lives and futures, both domestically and globally. She has a particular interest in understanding the role of religion in people’s lives. Specifically, Ms. Wright is applying her funding from the NIMH to support research among Guyanese in New York City and in Guyana regarding religion and well-being.