Guyana Well-Being Conference 2022: Speakers
Dr. William Adu-Krow, MBChB, MPH, DrPH
Project Director, Guyana Well-Being Projects, Georgetown, Guyana.
Dr. Adu-Krow is the former Resident Representative of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). Having served in PAHO/WHO leadership positions internationally, he has a demonstrated history of working in governmental affairs and is skilled in non-profit organizations, program evaluation, strategic planning, and strategy development. He is a much-admired and trusted professional at both clinical and programmatic levels with a MBChB (Family Practice) from the University of Science and Technology, School of Medical Science, Ghana, as well as an MPH (Family Health) and a DrPH (Survey Research) from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Adu- Krow is the Project Director and the Co-Investigator of the Guyana Well-Being Study and the Co-Investigator/Faculty on the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Dr. Shainna Ali, PhD, MA, BA
Mental Health Counselor, Integrated Counseling Solutions, LLC, Florida, USA.
Dr. Ali is a Guyanese-American mental health counselor, educator, and advocate who is passionate about destigmatizing mental illness and helping individuals foster mental wellness. She is the creator of The Self-Love Workbook, The Self-Love Workbook for Teens, Luna Finds Love Everywhere: A Self-Love Book for Kids, The Self-Love Planner, and Designing Healthy Boundaries. Dr. Ali is the owner and operator of Integrated Counseling Solutions, LLC, a strengths-based clinical mental health, and consulting practice located in Central Florida. She has been honored with the Association for Specialists in Group Work’s Al Dye Award, the Pete Fischer Humanitarian Award, and the 30 under 30 award from the University of Central Florida and has been featured through outlets such as ABC, CBS, NPR Washington Post, Insider, and Bustle.
Ms. Camila Siebert Altavini, BSc
Clinical Psychologist, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil.
Ms. Altavini has been working as a clinical psychologist since 2011, having completed a Specialization in Psychoanalytic Theories from the University of Brasília in 2013. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine Psychiatry department. She also works as a Crisis Intervention teacher and as technical staff at the training center for psychology students at the University of Brasília. Additionally, Ms. Altavini works on the “Grupo Entrelinhas” project, which provides consultancy and advisory for the development of suicide prevention and postvention programs, as well as mental health promotion among students at the University of Brasília.
Dr. Larry Amsel, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University- New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Amsel is Associate Director of the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), where he applies Decision Science tasks in psychiatric research and explores the role of biological mechanisms and decision science to a range of outcomes, including suicidal behavior. Dr. Amsel, known as an outstanding teacher, also trains clinicians, especially pediatricians, throughout the USA in psychological assessment and treatment, having trained thousands of community clinicians in evidence-based treatments for PTSD and Complicated Grief. He is a Coinvestigator on the Guyana Well-Being Study and Co-Investigator on the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Mr. Irfan Akhtar, BSc
Clinical Psychologist, University of Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil.
Mr. Irfan Akhtar is the UNICEF Deputy Representative for Guyana and Suriname. He has over 20 years’ experience working with international organizations, including 10 years with UNICEF, and has worked in the Middle East, Asia and the Caribbean. Prior to Guyana and Suriname, he served in Lao PDR, DPR Korea, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and India. As the Deputy Representative, he leads the current country programme 2017-2021, which has four priority areas: safety-justice, lifelong learning, social inclusion-child rights monitoring and emergency preparedness and response. He is responsible for overall programme planning, partnerships, coordination, strategic direction, providing policy support, advocacy, monitoring, quality assurance and reporting.
Ms. La-Toya Arthur-Tucker, MSc
Lecturer, College of Behavioural Sciences, University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus, Guyana.
La-Toya Arthur-Tucker is an Educator and a doctoral candidate specializing in Forensic Psychology with an emphasis in Crisis Response. She is a Full-Time Lecturer at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus within the College of Behavioural Sciences and Research. She is an experienced lecturer for over six (6) years. She has taught locally and regionally. Ms. Arthur-Tucker holds a MSc. Counseling Psychology, Emphasis in Educational Psychology, and a BSc. (Hons) in Psychology, Minor in Social Work from the Northern Caribbean University Mandeville, Jamaica. Ms. Arthur-Tucker is also skilled at providing psychotherapeutic services to children, adolescents, and adults.
Mr. John Anderson, MBSS
Medical Officer, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Georgetown, Guyana.
Dr. Anderson is a physician devoted to social justice, especially improvement of the health and welfare of Guyana’s youth. He is Vice-Chairman of MOVE ON GUYANA, Inc., a Non-Governmental Organization which promotes a wide range of youth interests, including youth parity in governance, free education, empowerment in self-determination. As such, Dr. Anderson frequently convenes public forums throughout Guyana to engage young people, while working with national leaders to bring about change for the majority of the country’s population, which is its youth.
Ms. Ashley V Anthony, BS
Student, Yale University, Connecticut, USA.
Ashley Anthony is a Guyanese student currently pursuing her masters in Personalized Medicine and Applied Engineering at Yale. She did her undergraduate degree at Yale and graduated with degrees in Biomedical Engineering and in the History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health with distinction in the latter. She will be presenting her thesis which talks about the relationship between colonialism, western medicine, and mental health practices.
Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, MD, MPH, MP
Minister of Health, Ministry of Health, Guyana.
Member of Parliament, Guyana.
Since Hon. Dr. Anthony, MP, was appointed Minister of Health for Guyana in August 2020 he has consistently focused on improving mental health services, with a special focus on reducing the high rate of suicide within the country. Minister Anthony received his MD from the People’s Friendship University in Russia and his MPH from the Hebrew University, Israel. He has also previously served as the Executive Director of the Health Sector Development Unit, an elected member of the Guyana Medical Council and was previously the Guyana Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport. Additionally, he previously served as an Adjunct Professor of Public Health at the University of Guyana.
Prof. 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, including nurses, psychologists and social workers, to develop suicide prevention and intervention programs. He 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.
He has also recently joined the faculty at Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology at Reichman University in Herzliya, Israel. He is known for helping to build mental health capacity, especially suicide prevention activities, through research and by training health professionals.Professor Apter is a Consultant on the Guyana Well- Being Study.
Mrs. Jessica Anthony, BSc, MAS, Cert. Global Health
Research Project Coordinator, Guyana Well-Being Studies
Ms. Anthony is the Research Project Coordinator for the Guyana Well-Being studies. As part of her role as Research Project Coordinator, Ms.
Anthony helps coordinate study-related activities and assists in interviewer training. In addition to her duties as Research Project Coordinator,
Ms. Anthony also acts as an interviewer for the study, interviewing family members/friends who have lost a loved one to suicide, as well as
individuals who have attempted suicide.
Dr. Arulsamy has worked in the field of Psychiatry for over a decade. He leverages more than 25 years of academic and administrative experience as Vice Chancellor, Executive Dean, Dean, Vice Principal, and Professor. Most notably, he developed lspindex.com, an online platform which assesses life skills proficiency, as well as student and employee well-being/ mental health status. He currently serves as a Mental Health Consultant for the Childcare and Protection Agency within the Guyana Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, as well as the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Life Skills Education Institute Inc.
Prof. Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD
Leon Hess Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Professor Baccarelli has contributed to the development of international best practices for air pollution control, developed with multiple agencies worldwide. His findings served as the basis for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to enforce stricter guidelines for human exposure. He is known for his willingness to collaborate across all disciplines. In 2020, Professor Baccarelli was elected to be a Member of the National Academy of Medicine. His research investigates molecular mechanisms as pathways linking environmental exposures to human disease, including epigenomics, epitranscriptomics, extracellular vesicles and small non-coding RNAs, mitochondrial DNA, and the microbiome.
Dr. Vasha Bachan, MD, MLSc.
Technical Officer, Ministry of Health, Georgetown, Guyana.
Assistant Professor, Texila American University, Providence, Guyana.
Dr. Bachan is a technical officer at the Ministry of Health. Dr. Bachan manages the planning, development, implementation and monitoring of many national and regional public health projects, including those for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, in collaboration with the United Nations. Dr. Bachan also works as an Assistant Professor in Texila American University.
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 Professor at Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary, and she is a part-time Professor at Bjørknes University College, Oslo, Norway, and a 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, school mental health services, refugee mental health and quality of life.
Dr. Kamela Bemaul-Sukhu, MMed, MBBS
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Dr. Bemaul-Sukhu worked for almost 14 years in the Internal Medicine department before pursuing a fellowship in hematology, making her the first hematologist fellow in Guyana. In this role at GPHC, she has worked to improve hematological care for patients, including successfully completing the first hematological surgery within Guyana. In additional to her clinical experience, Dr. Bemaul-Sukhu is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Guyana, as well as a tutor for Internal Medicine residents and other medical students. She is also involved in many charitable organizations including SAVE A LIFE INC, a which she has served as the Incorporator, Director, and Secretary of since 2018, as well as the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, where she serves as a chairperson on the Elderly Visiting Committee.
Ms. Carlotta M Boodie, MA, BS
Counseling Psychologist, Guyana.
Ms. Boodie is a Counseling Psychologist who holds a Master’s Degree in psychology from the University of the Virgin Islands. Carlotta is a woman of faith who has survived intimate partner violence and works extensively with communities of faith in order to raise awareness and educate the leadership on the complexity of intimate partner violence and to equip them with the relevant tools for effective response to victims. Carlotta provides a comprehensive trauma-informed response for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other traumatic experiences. In recent years Carlotta has worked in Court Settings to provide trauma care for female and female identifying at risk youths, as well as defendants/survivors of sex-trafficking, mental health issues and drug abuse.
Ms. Carol Benn, M Ed
Senior Education Officer/National Coordinator PTAs at Ministry of Education, Guyana, Guyana.
Ms. Carol Ann Benn has a Master in Education (M Ed)- Education Management, Supervision and Planning; a Bachelor of Education (B Ed) (Primary) and a Certificate in Education (Primary) among other qualifications. Her mission as the Senior Education Officer of the Ministry of Education is to improve student learning and achievement. To accomplish this goal, she focuses on strengthening the parent-teacher relationship and building capacity for continuous school improvement and effectiveness.
Prof H.E. Mark Berman, JD
High Commissioner, Commission of Canada, Canada.
His Excellency Mark Kevin Berman is accredited as High Commissioner of Canada to The Co-operative Republic of Guyana, as well as being Ambassador of Canada to the Republic of Suriname and Ambassador of Canada to CARICOM. Mr. Berman is a lawyer by training, joined the Government of Canada in 1989 as a Staff Advisor to the Minister of the Environment, followed by various positions. In 2009, Mark joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now known as Global Affairs Canada) as Executive Director for Climate and Energy and was Canada’s representative on the Kyoto Protocol’s Compliance Committee. In 2012, he served as Executive Director for International Crime and Terrorism and in 2017 was appointed Director General for Consular Policy where he has most recently overseen the development of a new consular strategy.
Prof. Charles Branas, MS, PhD
Gelman Professor and Chair of Epidemiology and Director, Columbia Center for Injury Science and Prevention (CCISP), Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Professor Branas is Chair, Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Epidemiological Society. In addition to his pioneering research on healthcare access and place-based interventions targeting gun violence, Professor Branas has led many multi-national efforts aimed at developing health metrics, while simultaneously generating cohorts of scientists through his national and international teaching and training programs. Prof. Branas is the Columbia Co-Director (with Prof. Hoven and University of Guyana Director Dr. Reeta Gobin) of the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program, a Sister Center of CCISP.
Dr. Michaeline Bresnahan, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University- New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Bresnahan is a member of the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group, where her research expertise is focused on longitudinal studies, including multinational collaborative research with complex data requiring harmonization over time. She is the mother of an adult son with autism and has devoted many years researching the topic and advocating for him and others with this condition. She is a coinvestigator for iCARE (International Collaboration for Autism Registry Epidemiology), a multinational consortium including Australia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Israel, established to pursue questions in the epidemiology of autism that require a “big data” approach. She has also collaborated on many grants focusing on the psychiatric epidemiology of childhood trauma. Dr. Bresnahan has taught core courses in epidemiology and research methods and is Co-Investigator on the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program and the Guyana Well-Being Study.
Mr. Samuel Breau, MS, PhD
MPH Manager, Access to Quality Mental Health Care | Manager, Access to Quality Mental Health Services, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Canada.
A Loran scholar and member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders, Samuel is an accomplished collaborative and compassionate leader with strategic vision, who delivers on results and fosters environments focused on employee wellness. Samuel’s experiences lead him to understand the complexity of public health policy and the numerous opportunities created by the intersection of government, private industry, advocacy, media, and public opinion.
Dr. Yasmin Burnett, MD
Associate Professor, Clinical Medicine, St. George’s University, Grenada.
Dr. Yasmin Burnett is an associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at St. Georges University Grenada and former chair of Health Services Ross University School of Medicine. She is a pediatrician trained at the University of the West Indies.
Mr. Wil Campbell, MS, Med
PhD candidate, Grief and Trauma Counseling, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Mr. Campbell is a registered psychotherapist, Educator and Consultant. Mr. Campbell has a passion for promoting mental wellness and raising the standards of educational services in Guyana. He holds Master’s Degrees in Psychology and Educational Leadership and is a candidate for a PhD in Grief and Trauma Counseling. He teaches Educational Psychology at the University of Guyana and has designed and implemented behavior modification programs for several agencies, including the Guyana Prison Service.
Dr. Vladimir Carli, MD, PhD
Associate Professor in Psychiatry, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
Dr. Carli, an Adult Psychiatrist, is Co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research, Training and Methods Development in Suicide Prevention, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm. He has led or participated as a Co-Investigator on many multinational studies, including the Saving and Empower Young Lives in Europe (SEYLE) Study, a RCT for suicide prevention among 11,000+ adolescents in 10 countries. He has collaborated on many international studies, especially in the European Union and with the WHO, including working on development of the Suicide Section of the mhGAP intervention guide (mhGAP-IG). Dr. Carli is Chair of the Suicide Section of the World Psychiatric Association and a major contributor to the Suicide Section of the European Psychiatric Association.
Prof. Prabha Chandra, MD, FRCPE, FRCPsych, FAMS
Dean and Professor of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India.
Professor Chandra’s areas of interest are perinatal psychiatry, sexual and reproductive health issues in mental disorders, psychiatric aspects of HIV/AIDS among women and the training of health professionals in managing the emotional consequences of partner violence. Her contribution to women’s mental health and as former Head of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and
Neurosciences, Bangalore, add to her being known internationally for her research and advocacy for women’s physical and mental health.
Professor Chandra has more than 250 publications and has served as a Temporary Advisor to WHO and UNAIDS and as of November 2022 is the President of the International Association of Women’s Mental Health.
Dr. Qixuan Chen, PhD
Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Chen is a sampling expert with proficiency in the design and analysis of complex surveys focused on developing Bayesian model-based methods that include sample weights as covariates in the model. In collaborative research, she has served as lead statistician and Co-Investigator on multiple NIH, CDC, and Foundation grants, with relevance to environmental health sciences, psychiatry, mental health, substance abuse and child health. Dr. Chen is the recipient of numerous academic awards and is a Co-Investigator, sampling expert and Biostatistician on the Guyana Well-Being Study.
Dr. Bryan H Cheng, PhD
Research Director, Global Mental Health Lab, Columbia University, Teacher’s College, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Cheng is a teacher and mentor for doctoral and master’s level psychology students in clinical research and methodology, as well as in the practice of evidence-based treatments. His research focuses on psychometric properties of clinical instruments as well as the adaptation, training, and evaluation of psychotherapy protocols used by non-specialists in low-resource areas. He has collaborated with research, academic and humanitarian groups on treatment studies conducted around the world with various populations, such as depressed adults in Ethiopia and Uganda, depressed primary care patients in Lebanon, and depressed and traumatized refugees in Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Peru. He also serves as a co-chairperson of the ANH Academy Mental Health Working Group, an international collaborative focused on elevating the linkages between nutrition and mental health.
Dr. Keely Cheslack-Postava, PhD, MSPH
Assistant Professor of Clinical Epidemiology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University Irving Medical Center-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Cheslack-Postava is an epidemiologist-biostatistician in the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG) with extensive experience and expertise in environmental epidemiology and biostatistical analysis, incorporating biomarkers and social determinants of health in population studies. She also has extensive research expertise in the study of autism, psychopathology, and the intergenerational transmission of trauma. Dr. Cheslack-Postava is Chief Biostatistician for the Guyana Well-Being Study and a Faculty Member of the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Dr. Luis Felipe Codina, MD
Representative to Guyana, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Guyana.
Dr. Luis Felipe Codina has served as the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Representative to Guyana since 2020. Besides his medical degree and specialization in Pediatrics, Dr. Codina has also received a diploma in Health and Health Care Management, diploma in Maternal and Child Health and International Health, certificate in Medical Anthropology, and a Master’s degree in Drug Abuse. He also previously worked as an Assistant Professor in the department of Public Health, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia and as the National Director of Maternal and Child Health at the Ministry of Heath of Peru. Other positions he has held within PAHO include consultant in the areas of maternal, child and adolescent health in Nicaragua, Advisor for Health Services Organization and Development at the PWR/Haiti, the post of Advisor in Adolescent Health at the PWR/Venezuela, Advisor in Family and Community Health in Ecuador. He then served as the PAHO/WHO’s Deputy Country Representative to Brazil 2014-2017 and Country Representative to Haiti 2017-2020.
Mr. Daniel Craft, BA
Research Assistant, Neuro Cognitive Emotion Lab, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Mr. Antoine Craigwell, BA
Founder, President, CEO, DBGM, Inc., New York, NY, USA.
Mr. Craigwell is a Guyanese-born journalist and mental health advocate. As a journalist, he has contributed to multiple publications, including “Headcase – an Anthology of LGBTQ Writers and Artists on Mental Health and Wellness”, published by Oxford University Press, Feb 2019; and the NY State Governor’s Suicide Prevention Report “Considerations and Contexts for Treatment – the Whole Person”, April 2019. In addition to his work in journalism, Mr. Craigwell also serves as the co-chair of the NY State Office of Mental Health’s Multicultural Advisory Council and as a member of the Advisory Board on the 988-Suicide and Crisis Hotline Implementation in NY State, the NY State LGBT Network, and the NYCDOHMH Community Advisory Board on the City’s response to COVID-19. He was also recently appointed as a member of NYC Public Health Corps Advisory Council.
Prof. Emanuel Cummings, DVM, DipEd, MSc
Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Engagement, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Professor Cummings has extensive experience in university administration, having successfully pioneered the transformation of the College of Medical Sciences, University of Guyana, while serving as its Dean. He was a Fulbright Scholar, is a full Member of the British Physiological Society and the Health Systems Global Program, as well as an eminent medical researcher. His research focuses on nutritional management of diabetes, cancer, and eye care. Professor Cummings is widely recognized for his intelligent and enthusiastic leadership and willingness to “make things happen” that invariably enhances the academic standing and international collaborations with the University of Guyana. He is Co-Chair (with Professor Helen Herrman) of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Dr. Yael M Cycowicz, PhD
Associate Professor of Clinical Neurobiology in Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Cycowicz, is the Director of the Neuro-Cognitive and Emotion Lab (NCEL) which investigates attention, memory and emotional regulation mechanisms and processes, using different neuroimaging modalities (MEG, EEG, ERP, and fMRI). Currently, her research focuses on understanding the impact of trauma on mental health across the life span, its spread across generations, and its influence among family members.
Ms. McMillan Cuffy, MS
Mental Health Counselor, Mental Health Unit, Public Health Department, St. Kitts, St. Kitts and Nevis.
Ms. Cuffy is a Mental Health Counselor currently working at the Mental Health Unit, Public Health Department with the Nevis Island Administration. He was previously employed at Ross University School of Medicine. He has vast experience working diverse populations and specializes in the areas of trauma, PTSD and Disaster Psychology.
Dr. Kofi Dalrymple, MD
Chief Executive Officer, On Call Health, Chief Executive Officer, Guyana.
Dr. Kofi Dalrymple is a Guyanese engineer with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Guyana, master’s degree from the University of the West Indies, and PhD from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Kofi has a wealth of experience in innovation, environmental engineering, biotechnology, vaccine manufacturing, and process engineering. He’s a published author and the holder of a patent in the United States.
Kofi currently serves as the senior lecturer and head of the civil engineering department at the University of Guyana. He is also the co-founder of OnCall Health Inc, a company that uses technology to expand healthcare access in Guyana. Kofi is always seeking innovative solutions to solve societal challenges.
Natasha Ganesh D’Arcangelo, LMHC, QS, NCC, CCTP, CCFP
Qualified Supervisor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional, Florida/Oregon/Washington, USA.
Natasha is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the states of Florida, Oregon and Washington, a Florida Qualified Supervisor, a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP), a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional (CCFP) and a Compassion Fatigue Educator. She works with adolescents and adults in her role as a staff therapist for Headspace Health. She operates from a cultural humility perspective and is an ally of the LGTBQIA+ community, as well as an expert on trauma and anxiety. Her previous experience includes 15 years as an educator, community mental health work and private practice. She has presented on various topics including Destigmatizing Mental Health Care, Compassion Fatigue and Effective Techniques for Working with Teens.
Prof. Linda Degutis, DrPH, MSN
Lecturer, Yale University, Yale School of Public Health, Connecticut, USA.
Professor Degutis has taken critical leadership roles in trauma and injury prevention nationally and internationally. She the former director of National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC and a member of the Injury and Violence Prevention program at the World Health Organization. Through her role as the director of Defense Health Horizons at the Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences, she has provided consultation on suicide using pesticides to the Ministry of Health in Mumbai, India. She was also a Robert Wood sson Health Policy Fellow in the Office of the late Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), Past President of the Society for the Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (SAVIR), and Past President of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board of the College of Science and Health of DePaul University, and the Chair of the Board of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). Professor Degutis serves as GRITT’S Chair of the Scientific Oversight Committee (SOC).
Ms. Alison Drayton, MPA
Director, Representative, UNFPA Carribbean, Guyana.
Alison Drayton has served as the Director of the Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean since 2016. Prior to joining UNFPA she worked at UNDP for fifteen years in a series of functions both globally and in the Caribbean. As a Senior Advisor, Alison led the formulation of the 2016 Caribbean Human Development Report, which focused on multi-dimensional progress in the Caribbean. She also served in the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the UN, chairing the G77 on Sustainable Development, Administrative and Budgetary issues during Guyana’s chairmanship of the Group in 1999. Alison was in the NYU Masters Programme on Public Administration and holds a BA (Honours) in History and Politics from the University of London.
Dr. Ellen-ge Denton, PsyD
Associate Professor, College of Staten Island, City University of New York (CUNY), Staten Island, New York, NY, USA
Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Rochester Medical Center, Dept of Psychiatry, Center for Suicide Prevention Studies, Rochester, NY, 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 which 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.
Dr. Kamini Doobay, MD, MS
Emergency Room Physician, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Doobay, from Guyana, is the Founder and Organizer of the 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, including 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.
Ms. Ramona Doorgen, BS, MS (Cand.)
WHO/PAHO Focal point for Guyana for the Fifth Global Status Report Road Safety, Former National Data Coordinator for the Global Status Report for the past four editions, Guyana.
Ms. Doorgen is actively engaged in addressing road crashes in Guyana. She has been crucial to the development of policies and interventions to prevent car accidents and deaths within Guyana. Ms. Doorgen is a mentee in the GRITT training program and a future Guyanese leader in trauma and injury prevention research.
Ms. Sharon Dyall, PhD, MA, MPM
Senior Guidance and Counselling Officer, Ministry of Education, Guyana
Ms. Dyall has a Master of Arts degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, focusing on Expressive Arts Therapy, Trauma Assessment Interventions, Child and Adolescent Development, Family Therapy Intervention, and Mindfulness practice. In addition to her Social
Work degree from the University of Guyana, she also holds a Master of Project Managers (MPM) certification. She also has a Diploma in Leadership and Management from City and Guilds London, an advanced degree program. She is currently a Doctoral student in Psychology,
specializing in Behavioral Health. Over her more than 15-year career, she has helped clients as a therapist at the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA), first as a Programs Officer in the organization’s Programs Department and then as a Senior Guidance
and Counselling Officer for the Ministry of Education. She also provides psychosocial support to kids, teens, grown-ups, and families so they
can develop positive self-images and live happier, more productive lives. Ms. Dyall led the Guyana Association of Professional Psychologists (GUYPSYCH), an organization to advance the field of psychology for the benefit of both people and society
Mrs. Shonell Smith-Enoe, BSocSc, MSc
Coordinator, Undergraduate Studies, Lecturer I, Department of Sociology, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Mrs. Smith-Enoe is a lecturer in the Departments of Social Work and Psychology at the University of Guyana. Her fields of specialization include social work, education, and psychology. She has worked extensively with individuals, families, and communities in that capacity. Her research interests include domestic and other forms of interpersonal violence, marriage and relationship counseling, mental health, life-span development with a focus on adolescence, middle adulthood, gender differences, and childhood psychological disorders. Her most recent focus involves partner violence, gender inequalities, and issues related to mental health.
JDr. Prudence Fisher, MSW, PhD
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatric Social Work (in Psychiatry), Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Fisher’s expertise is in the development, validation, and implementation of assessment methods for childhood and adolescent mental health conditions. She is widely acknowledged in the field as an expert in assessment, and she actively collaborates with investigators both within the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia and with numerous other institutions.
Dr. Dawn I Fox, PhD, ME, BSc, DipEd
Senior Lecturer, Department Head, Department of Chemistry, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.Head, Department Psychiatry, Voluntary Health Services (VHS), Chennai, India.
Dr. Fox, PhD DipEd, is a Senior Lecturer and the current Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Guyana. Her overarching research interest is in converting local materials into filters and sorbents for improving water quality. She has 20 years’ experience as a tertiary educator and is passionate about creating transformative learning experiences for students. Dr. Fox has several peer-reviewed journal and conference proceedings publications, one book chapter, and holds two patents. In 2018 she became the first Guyanese recipient of the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World – Elsevier Foundation Early Career Award for scholarship and research in the Physical Sciences.
Ms. Dionne Frank, MSW, PhD
Lecturer, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Guyana, Guyana.
Dr. Frank is Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Guyana. She works to expand the role of social workers throughout Guyana and the Caribbean. Dr. Frank is Vice President of the Association of Caribbean Social Work Educators, an Executive Member of the Caribbean Sociological Association, and an individual member of the International Association of Schools of Social Work.
Dr. Clemon George, MSc, PhD
Assistant Professor, SUNY Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY, USA.
Dr. Clemon George is a social epidemiologist with many years of research and teaching experience at the graduate and undergraduate levels at institutions in North America and the Caribbean. His research focuses on improving sexual health and reducing harm outcomes for youth, and other at-risk populations. He incorporates his research and experiences in his teaching and strives to ensure that his students are successful. Like his participatory approach to teaching, he fully engages communities in all aspects of his research. He has been involved in HIV research and advocacy for over 15 years.
Dr. Lupo Geronazzo-Alman, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry), Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Geronazzo-Alman is a member of the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), where he carries out research on the etiology and classification of psychopathologies, especially those associated with trauma, such as grief and PTSD. His research interests include identifying and characterizing early indicators of psychiatric vulnerability and their biological and behavioral correlates, including premorbid markers, most recently through applications of artificial intelligence. Dr. Geronazzo-Alman is a Resource Faculty Member of the Columbia University- University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Ms. Cilandell Glen, BSc (Social Work), MS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health)
Coordinator, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Adolescent Health Unit, Ministry of Health, Guyana.
Ms. Glen is a graduate of the United Kingdom’s University of Northampton. She has worked with various government and international agencies including UNICEF-Guyana, PAHO, the WHO, the UNFPA, and Peace Corps-Guyana to implement programs addressing various social and health needs of adolescents and young adults countrywide. Ms. Glen is a member of the Rotary Club of Georgetown Central and is the founder of Desert Flower Guyana, a grass-root NGO that seeks to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents, create awareness, and reduce the stigma of mental health in youth.
Dr Reeta Gobin
Dr. Gobin received her medical degree from the University of Guyana, then obtained a master’s degree and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Cambridge. Dr Gobin directed development of the MPH Program at the University of Guyana and together with Professor Douglas Heimburger of Vanderbilt University, has coordinated the program since its implementation in 2014. She is also the Principal Tutor of Community Field Assignments in the University of Guyana’s MBBS Program. Her research interests include chronic non-communicable diseases, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease, individual participant metaanalysis and genetic epidemiology, and has published on these critical topics. Dr. Gobin is the University of Guyana Principal Investigator and Co-Director (with Co- Director Ms. Kara Lord and Columbia University Director Professor Hoven and Co-Director Professor Charles Branas) of the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Ms. Ingrid Goodman, MSW, ABA
Community Mental Health Practitioner/Applied Behavior Analyst, Guyana.
Ms. Goodman is a seasoned psychotherapist who works from inside the community. She is a human rights advocator, culturally responsive strategist, and coach with more than 30 years’ experience as a servant leader. For the past decade, Ms. Goodman has taken a radical social work approach when tackling all forms of community violence at the grassroots level in her native country, Guyana, including designing and implementing innovative programs to reduce family and interpersonal violence. In addition to her other accomplishments, Ms. Goodman is also Guyana’s first International Field Educator.
Prof. 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. 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.
Ms. Rachel Goldblum, Research Assistant, Neuro Cognitive Emotion Lab, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Ms. Goldblum is Research Assistant at Neuro Cognitive Emotion Lab (Director: Yael Cycowicz) at the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Mr. Gergö Hadlaczky, PhD
Adjunct Lecturer, Karolinska institute, Sweden.
Dr. Hadlaczky works partly as an adjunct researcher at the National Swedish Center for Suicide Research and Prevention (NASP) at Karolinska Institutet and partly as the head of the Center for Suicide Research and Prevention in Stockholms Region, an R&D Unit within Stockholm Healthcare Services. His research is primarily on the topic of suicide with an emphasis on Public Health. He attempts to identify pathways to suicide, opportunities for prevention and evaluating the effectiveness of public health-based interventions. He’s also interested in the field of decision-making, particularly how to it relates to suicidal behavior.
Ms. Coya Halley, MA
Lecturer I, Department of Sociology, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Ms. Coya Halley is a lecturer in the department of sociology at the University of Guyana. She described social workers as “gifted with the ability and the knowledge to intervene in critical aspects of persons’ lives to ensure that they are given that opportunity to achieve their true potential.” She is passionate about advocating for mental health, equality and social justice. She is a noted advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic abuse.
Ms. Chelsey Halley-Crawford, MSW
Lecturer I, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Ms. Halley is a lecturer at the University of Guyana. She is also the Coordinator for the Division of Social Sciences. She is an advocate for victims of domestic violence and hosted an Anti-Violence fair in 2018, which sought to educate young males regarding violence against women.
Dr. Lauren Azalea Hanna, MD
Psychiatrist, Northwell Center for Global Health, New York, USA.
Mr. Collin R Haynes, MPH, MBA, BSc
International Public Health and Healthcare Information Technology (IT) consultant, Maryland, USA.
Collin Haynes is an International Public Health and Healthcare Information Technology (IT) consultant. He is involved in the training, advising and program support to the implementation of electronic medical records systems (EMR/EHR) for private and government healthcare systems.
Prior to a career in healthcare information technology, he was involved in planning, implementing and monitoring & evaluation of public health programs in the areas of HIV/AIDS, migrant health, disaster risk reduction and non -communicable diseases in the United
Dr. Paulette Henry, BSc (Social Work), MSc, EdD, DSW, Cert. in Gender Studies
Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Dr. Paulette Henry’s professional career spans education and professional social work practice and culminated in higher educational leadership as she assumed several administrative positions within the University of Guyana. During the period 2015-2018, Dr. Henry guided the establishment of the Institute for Gender Studies(IGS) and the Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning (CoETaL at the University of Guyana. She has led the development of national professional standards for social work practice in Guyana. Her areas of expertise center on well-being, organizational development, child protection systems and leadership. Dr. Henry’s research and publications are reflective of her overarching concerns with human well-being. Most recent publications include murder-suicide, gender based violence, gender justice, and collaborative leadership.
Prof. Helen Herrman, AO, 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 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 served 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 youth and 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.
Margaret Hazlewood, PhD
Former PAHO/ECC consultant, Guyana.
Dr. Margaret Hazlewood has served as the Training Methods Specialist for the Special Program for Health Analysis; Technical Adviser for the International Classification of Diseases, at the PAHO/WHO Barbados Office. She has led the project in Montserrat the Assessment of the Mental Health System in Montserrat using the WHO Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) Project as a PAHO/ECC consultant.
Nadia Hollingsworth, MEd
Vice Principal, Queen’s College, Guyana at Ministry of Education, Guyana.
Ms. Nadia Hollingsworth has been a teacher for more than two decades before joining the Ministry of Education. She received her Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from University of Guyana. She is not only Vice Principal of Queens College but also National PTA Coordinator, where her primarily role is to work with teachers and parents to maximum student achievements across all levels of the education system. “As a woman in education, my advice to other women is that they must agree to disagree and move on to the next level. Never allow pettiness to get in the way of your success. Strive for excellence always.”
Prof. 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 and 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. Kara Lord) of the Fogarty International Center funded Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program. These two projects constitute the current Guyana Well-Being Projects, 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 services.
Ms. Yi-ju Hsu, MA
Administrative Director, Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), New York, NY, USA.
Ms. Hsu received a MA in Research and Experimental Psychology from New York University in 2013 and then joined the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG). She currently manages personnel activities, oversees all IRB related activities, facilitates communication with institutional human resources, develops and monitors contracts and project budgets and drafts Progress Reports.
Mrs. Mosa A. Hutson, MPH, BSc
Consultant tutor, PAHO virtual campus, Guyana.
Mosa Hutson- Prince is a Guyanese scholar who acquired her degree in psychology after 6 years of successful studies in Cuba. She has served her country for 5 years through placement with the Ministry of Health where she gained 2 years’ experience in managing mental health affairs and also practiced in various clinical settings. She has also attained experience in Public Health through her Masters studies with the University of Guyana and through her internship attachment with PAHO Guyana in the area of health system and services. She is currently a consultant tutor and editor of documents for various mental health courses with the PAHO virtual campus.
Mr. Nazim Hussein, National Coordinating Director, The Caribbean Voice (TCV), Guyana.
Mr. Hussain is the National Coordinating Director of the Caribbean voice. He uses this platform to advocate against violence, as well as suicide. One of his main advocacies is the decriminalization of suicide, since he believes it’s a barrier to treatment for so many Guyanese men and women. He works closely with the Ministries of Public Health and Public Security in order to improve mental health and reduce violence in Guyana.
Pandita Dhanrajie Haimraj, Hindu Priestess, Guyana.
Pandita Haimraj is the only female Hindu priest in Guyana who performs all the rituals pertaining to the Hinduism faith, including weddings, funerals, sanskaars. She is a strong advocate for individuals with disabilities, through her work with Caring for People with Disabilities. She is also a strong advocate for the education of children, particularly young girls, through her work with Wings on Words Programmes.
Dr. Janice C. Imhoff, MD, BSc
Physician, Clinical Psychologist, Georgetown, Guyana.
Dr. Imhoff was born in Georgetown, Guyana where she currently resides. Other than being a Physician and Clinical Psychologist, she is also an author, a playwright, and a filmmaker. She has published three non-fiction books: Our Words Will be There (Profiles of Female Cancer Survivors in Guyana), Conversations: pieces of the truth (Demystifying Female Reproduction and Sexuality), and Chros Yuself: Using Creolese to Explain Mental Health). Her first film was Kriiyoliiz which chronicles the journey of a young woman to reclaim her Mother-Tongue Language, Kriiyoliiz. Dr. Imhoff is currently working on a documentary: Mister Bickerton! Eat Your Hat! This is about Guyanese Linguist Professor Ian E. Robertson’s journey in search of Berbice Dutch Creole.
Dr. Afzal Javed, MD
President, World Psychiatric Association, Geneva, Switzerland and Consultant Psychiatrist, United Kingdom and Pakistan.
Dr. Javed is a British-Pakistani Psychiatrist, Professor and author, elected President of World Psychiatric Association (WPA) in 2020 for three years. He is a renowned Consultant Psychiatrist, who specializes in Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Schizophrenia. During his career, Dr. Javed has served on the boards of numerous organizations including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, United Kingdom, the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation of which he is Past President and the World Psychiatric Association (WPA).
Ms. Leanne Kendall
Lecturer at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus, Guyana.
Ms. Leann Kendall is a Lecturer at the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus, Guyana. She is a graduate of education, sociology and psychology with skills and experience in providing psychosocial support and the teaching of sociology, psychology, and research. She has been employed as a lecturer at the University of Guyana for the past ten years and has been coordinating the Psychology Programme for the past four years. She is currently the Assistant Dean of the College of Behavioural Sciences and Research and pleased to be a founding member of the Guyana Association of Professional Psychologists. Some of her research interests include the impact of social media on emotions of university students, mental health, motivation, life satisfaction and the well-being of university students. She is Co-Director of training for the GRITT project.
Mr. Godfrey Kagaayi
Country Executive Committee Representative for Uganda, GMHPN, Uganda.
Mr. Kagaayi is an advocate for young people affected by mental health issues. He is also an active member of the HBGI Lived Experience Council, where he co-leads the evaluation workstream. He is also the founding Director of Twogere; a leading mental health charity with hundreds of committed young advocates starting mental health conversations everywhere in Uganda.
Ms. Raiza T. Khan, MSc
Founder and Counselling Psychologist, Anira Counselling and Psychological Services, Guyana.
Ms. Khan is a Counselling Psychologist with a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. She has her own private practice, Anira Counselling and Psychological Services where she works with children, youth, and adults in both individual and couples therapy. She spends much of her time working with NGOs and youth, including being a cofounder and the Consulting Psychologist of EQUAL Guyana, an LGBTQ Organization aimed at empowering members of their community.
Dr. Ali Lateef, MD
MPH Candidate, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Dr. Lateef is a current MPH student in the mental and behavioral health specialization at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. He has three years of experience working on mental health and psychosocial support programs in emergency and humanitarian settings targeting migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons. He has worked as a psychiatrist in training in Libya for a year and a half in the only psychiatric public hospital in the western region. His areas of research interest are mental health in LMICs and humanitarian settings, and global mental health and services for migrants and refugees.
Dr. Lachmie Lall, MD Doctor Of Medicine, Director of Non-Communicable Diseases; Ministry of Health, Guyana
Dr. Lachmie Lall received her medical degree University Celia Sanchez manduley. She served as a Medical Doctor at the Georgetown Hospital Corporation from 2015 to 2017, after which she joined the Ministry of Health as Doctor-in-Charge for the Pakera District Hospital. Since 2021, Dr. Lall becomes Director of Non-Communicable Disease and has devoted to the promotion of mental health in Guyana.
Ms. Alecia Lyesight, MA Study Coordinator, World Trade Center Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Ms. Alecia Lyseight received her Master of Arts degree in Psychology (with a concentration of Clinical Neuroscience) from New York University. She is currently the Study Coordinator of the World Trade Center Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma (MPIs: Cycowicz, Rodriguez-Moreno, & Cheslack-Postava).
Dr. Joseph H. Lee, DrPH, MPH
Professor of Epidemiology and Neuroscience (in Neurology and the Sergievsky Center), Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Professor Lee is a genetic epidemiologist with extensive research experience in conducting integrative genomic studies. He has carried out or is currently involved with genetic studies of aging, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and AD-related traits, Downs syndrome, environmental factors, and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Lee’s research is focused on unique high-risk cohorts in different parts of the world, including Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Finland, New York City, etc. Dr. Lee is Co-Investigator on both the Guyana Well-Being Study and the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Dr. Marya Levintova, PhD
Program Director, Division for International Training and Research, Fogarty International Center, NIH, Washington, DC, USA.
Dr. Levintova is responsible for institutional grants at the Fogarty International Center, which funds the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program. She provides oversight and management of a funding announcements team and provides guidance and oversight on scientific matters relating to program development, program management, research training, and science program planning. Dr. Levintova is also an Adjunct Professor in the Psychology Department, Montgomery College, Maryland.
Prof. 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.
Kara Lord, BSc (Psychology), MSc, Dip Ed
Deputy Dean, Department of Foundation and Education, Faculty of Education and Humanities, University of Guyana, Guyana.
Ms. Lord is a psychologist, specializing in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She recognized the need for greater awareness about social issues in her discipline and has actively worked to make the field more useful to the nation’s health. Ms. Lord brought professional psychologists together in Guyana, which led to the establishment of the Guyana Society of Professional Psychologists (GuyPsych). Her main research interests are focused on matters regarding job satisfaction, organizational commitment, retention, work organization, motivation, and dynamics of the online learning environment. Ms. Lord is the Co-Director (with University of Guyana’s Director Dr. Reeta Gobin and Columbia University’s Director Professor Hoven and Co-Director Professor Charles Branas) of the Columbia University- University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
H.E. Sarah-Ann Lynch, MALD, MS Ambassador of the United States of America to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Guyana.
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 2, 2019 and sworn in on January 7, 2019 as Ambassador to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. She previously served as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator and Acting Assistant Administrator in USAID’s Latin America and Caribbean Bureau. Ambassador Lynch served with USAID from 1993 to 2018, and was posted overseas in Bangladesh, Peru, Afghanistan and Iraq where she was the USAID Mission Director in Baghdad. In Washington, she served in the regional bureaus of the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, and the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs. She has received numerous awards during her career, including USAID’s Distinguished Honor Award in 2010 and the Presidential Rank Award in 2018.
H.E. Jane Miller, MSc British High Commissioner to Guyana and non-resident Ambassador to the Republic of Suriname, Guyana.
Jane Miller, Order of the British Empire, became the British High Commissioner to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and Her Majesty’s Non-Resident Ambassador to the Republic of Suriname in July 2021. A passionate international development professional with over 25 years living in Africa, Ms. Jane Miller OBE was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to Africa and work toward ending Female Genital Mutilation.
Dr. Andrea Horvath Marquez, MD, MPH, PhD
Chief, Global Mental Health Dissemination and Implementation Program, CGMHR, Mental Health Disparities Research, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Public health psychiatrist with over 27 years of national and international experience in research program administration, mental health research, teaching, consultation-liaison psychiatry, and mental health policy development at global centers of medical excellence in the US (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Columbia University), and Brazil (the University of São Paulo and Brazil’s National Unified Health System / PAHO). As Medical Officer at NIMH, she led the Global Mental Health Team and developed research programs on Global Mental Health Dissemination and Implementation (D&I), Suicide Prevention, and Integration of Mental Health Care at the NIMH’s Center for Global Mental Health Research. She also manages a portfolio of international grants in D&I science and serves as the liaison to other agencies in the federal government and domestic and international stakeholders on global mental health.
Mr. Alexander Martin, MS, BA
Medical Student at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, New York, USA.
Alexander Martin is a Guyanese-American medical student living in Queens, NY. Mr. Martin is currently in his final year of medical school and applying for medical residency as a doctor in the United States. He currently has an interest in neurobiology of depression, mental health screening, and stigma reduction as well as community and global health. Alexander frequently visits Guyana and has an interest in helping Guyana as it continues to develop its own unique and robust mental health system that Guyanese people rely on.
Dr. Paloma Martin, PhD
Professor and Vice Chancellor, XI, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Professor Martin has an extensive career focused on helping to invigorate and transform the University of Guyana to the highest academic level possible. Before being appointed Vice Chancellor, the first woman to serve in this position, she served with distinction as Director of the Centre of Communication Studies; Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences; Deputy Vice Chancellor of Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement; and Chair of the Transitional Management Team. Professor Martin has published extensively in social and behavioral change, communication strategy, and education policy and practice.
Prof. Silvia S. Martins, MD, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
In the Department of Epidemiology, Professor Martins is the founding Director of the Substance Use Epidemiology Unit, Director of Columbia’s Policy and Health Initiatives on Opioids and other Substances (PHIOS) and Co-Director of the NIDA funded T32 Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Program. She has coauthored >220 peer-reviewed publications, most of them led by her current or former mentees. Her research focuses on prescription opioid and heroin overdoses, as well as cannabis, other substances and psychiatric disorders in adults and children in the US and Brazil. Professor Martins has received several awards for her research and mentoring, including the 2021 Columbia University Mentor of the Year Award. She is a Faculty Member of the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Dr. Lear Matthews, PhD Social Welfare, MA Sociology, MSW
Professor Emeritus, State University of New York, Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Dr. Matthews has written extensively on the adjustment of immigrants and the Diaspora. His most recently published book, English-Speaking Caribbean Immigrants: Transnational Identities, examines how immigrants adapt to life in North America while sustaining homeland connections. His work is viewed as “down to earth” applied scholarship that links academia, culture and community service. He is a contributing writer of the University of Guyana Press’ book published in 2018 and a member of the Editorial Board of Guyana Cultural Association. He co- created the video: “Dis Time Nah Lang Time,” providing the diaspora with connections to the home country, through oral traditions, with nostalgic and therapeutic value, fortifying the resonance of who we are.
Larkin S. McReynolds, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Clinical Epidemiology (In Psychiatry), Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. McReynolds is a member of the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), where she is involved in the identification of youths’ mental health and substance use behaviors, particularly among those involved with the juvenile justice system. She is responsible for overseeing all Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology MPH students’ Masters’ theses. Dr. McReynolds is currently leading a national (USA) investigation of the psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of college students. She is a Co-Investigator on the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Ms. Salma Memon, MPH
Medical Student (MS1) at St. George’s University, School of Medicine, Grenada.
Salma is a first-year student at St. George’s University, School of Medicine. She obtained her MPH with an emphasis in Global Health in 2020 from Loma Linda University, School of Public Health, and her B.S. in Human Biology in 2018 from the University of California, Merced. She is an active member of both the Medical Science Research Institute partaking in research under the mentorship of Dr. Ramdass and Dr. Montalbano, as well as a member of Iota Epsilon Alpha, a medical honors society. Prior to coming to SGU, she worked in a county organized health plan utilizing lean six sigma methodology to ensure efficiency across organizational processes.
Dr. Thelma J. Mielenz, PT, PhD, MS, OCS
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Mielenz is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. As a behavioral consequential epidemiologist, her research focuses on: 1) clinical and community linkages, 2) optimizing interventions, 3) driving mobility and 4) outcomes instruments. She is a Co-PI for the New York site of the Longitudinal Research on Older Adult Drivers study. She co-directs the Education Core of Columbia’s CDC CCISP Injury Center. In addition, she is the Director of episummer@columbia, the summer institute in the Department of Epidemiology. Dr. Mielenz is the Training Co-Director, along with Ms. Leann Kendall, Department of Psychology, University of Guyana (UG) of the Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Dr. Zenia Lopez Mompel, MD Program Director, Master of Medicine in Psychiatry, Georgetown Public Hospital, Guyana.
Dr. Lopez Mompel has been an outstanding Psychiatrist for 15 years. Dr. Lopez worked for 10 years in Cuba before migrating to Guyana where she has shown extreme diligence and professionalism. She functions as the Program Director for the Master of Medicine in Psychiatry at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. Dr. Lopez is the adjunct assistant professor in Psychiatry for University of Guyana, Texila American University, Greenheart Medical University and Rajiv Ghandi Medical University.
Dr. Timothy Morgan, MD
Head of the Mental Health Unit, Ministry of Health, Georgetown, Guyana.
Dr. Morgan received a scholarship from Cuba and graduated with his Medical Degree (M.D.) in 2013 as the Best Graduating Student. He received a postgraduate scholarship from China, the only Guyanese recipient to have ever received such an honor and graduated with his Master’s degree in Psychiatry (MSc.) in 2020. He also has the distinction of being one of the few foreign graduated mental health professionals in China, to publish a Chinese mental health research as First Author in an international psychiatry journal. In Guyana, he also worked as a psychiatrist alongside the nationally renowned Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr. Bhiro Harry at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation Psychiatry Department. Dr. Timothy Morgan was also part of a team of local Guyanese experts responsible for the creation of the modern Mental Health Protection and Promotion Bill 2022, which replaced the archaic Mental Hospital Ordinance of 1930.
Dr. George J. Musa, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Epidemiology (in Psychiatry), Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA, Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Musa is a Medical Geographer and the Deputy Director of the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute. He has had a leading role on GPEG research projects throughout the world. His research focuses on place and its relationship to individual and community health, with a specific interest in suicide surveillance. Dr. Musa is Multiple Principal Investigator (MPI) of the Guyana Well-Being Study and the Guyana Well-Being Child Studies (both with Prof. Hoven) and is a Co-Investigator on the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Dr. Warren Ng, MD Professor of Psychiatry at CUIMC Medical Director Outpatient Behavioral Health, Director of Clinical Services in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Dr. Ng is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist with an interest in HIV, public psychiatry, and family issues. He is the Medical Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health and the Director of clinical services for the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. His is also the NYP Behavioral Health Service Line Clinical Innovation Officer. He is the President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and has been past president of the New York Council on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He served on the Assembly and the Council on Children, Adolescents, and Families at the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
Ms. Cassandra Novalien Petit-Homme, BSN-RN, MLS Training and Networking Coordinator, Midway Specialty Care Center, Florida, USA.
Ms. Cassandra Novalien Petit-Homme is the Training and Networking Coordinator of Midway Specialty Center, Florida. In her former capacity at the Department of Health she was devoted to efforts on HIV prevention, intervention, and other related public health issues. She is passionate about community engagement with marginalized and minority populations, as well as women’s sexual health.
Dr. Terriann Nicholson, MD, MA, BA
Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York, NY, USA.
Terriann Nicholson is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). She matriculated medical school at Howard University College of Medicine in 2015 and completed psychiatry residency training at New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center in 2019. Following residency training, Terriann Nicholson joined a T32 Postdoctoral research fellowship in Global Mental Health and her research focused on adapting and implementing evidence-based suicide prevention interventions, for both acute and subacute suicidality, in low resource setting. Following fellowship Terriann joined the clinical staff in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) at CUMC and now serves as the Associate Director.
Dr. Rosalind P October, PhD, MSW, BSW, AS
Former VP Behavioral Programs; Former Assistant Professor, SUNY/Empire State College, New York, USA.
Dr. Rosalind “Rose” October has been in the helping profession for 30 years. For 11.5 years, Rose was an Assistant Professor in the School of Human Services at State University of New York/Empire State College in Brooklyn where she taught and mentored adult learners. Prior, she held directorship positions in substance use treatment agencies that involved the criminal justice system. In addition, she has published articles and books’ chapters that address substance use, migration, and other social work-related topics. Furthermore, for many years, she was a Visiting Lecturer of the Social Work Unit at the University of Guyana and has trained social workers and probation officers of the Ministry of Human Services in Guyana.
Dr. Jenese October, MD Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Georgetown Public Hospital, Guyana.
Dr. Jenese October is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and a Co-Investigator on the Guyana Well-Being studies, as well as GRITT trainee. She obtained her post graduate degree from the University of Medical Sciences of Havana. Her clinical work entails providing service to the vulnerable pediatric population who present to the public hospital and ongoing research focuses on neurodevelopmental disorders and suicide behavior in the pediatric population. She is. As an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Guyana and Core Faculty of the local Master of Medicine in Psychiatry postgraduate program; she is very passionate in molding future mental health professionals.
Dr. Renato Oliveira E Souza, MD, MSc
Unit Chief, Mental Health and Substance Use, PAHO/WHO, Washington, DC, USA.
As Mental Health and Substance Use Chief, Dr. Oliveira e Souza is active in Guyana, helping the Ministry of Health to address mental health and substance use issues more effectively. PAHO, with responsibilities for assisting all countries in the Americas, has previously provided extensive support for smoking reduction and HIV programs in Guyana and Dr. Oliveira e Souza is now assisting with efforts to combat COVID-19 and other pressing public health problems, including identification of methods to reduce suicide.
Mr. Anil Persaud, BSc (Social Work)
Managing Director, EQUAL Guyana; Research Officer, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Georgetown, Guyana.
Anil Persaud has dedicated his entire adult life to working in the areas of LGBTQ+ rights and wider protections of fundamental human rights for all Guyanese. Mr. Persaud is the co-founder and Managing Director of EQUAL Guyana, an LGBTQ+ rights organization in Guyana. Mr. Persaud has successfully executed numerous projects in collaboration with international partners such as the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, CariFLAGS, and the COC PRIDE, as well as local, regional, and international organizations, in order to develop LGBTQ+ rights strategies. Most recently, Persaud has been appointed as a Research Officer in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, where he supports the coordination of the National Mechanism for Reporting and Follow-up (NMRF) on human rights, and the National Stakeholder Forum (NSF), and forms part of the core team responsible for composing Guyana’s human rights state party reports.
Dr. Sigrid Piening, PhD Senior Researcher (PhD)/Social Worker, Autism Team Northern-Netherlands, Jonx Department of Youth Mental Health and Autism, Lentis Psychiatric Institute, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Dr. Piening is a senior researcher and social worker at the Jonx Department of Youth Mental Health and Autism at the Lentis Psychiatric Institute in the Netherlands. Dr. Piening’s research focuses on issues related Autism, including. topics related to epigenetics, screening, gender, behavior, and sensory processing. Dr. Piening has also published work on Marshall-Smith syndrome and Malan Syndrome.
Dr. Mike Pietrus, PsyD Director of Counseling Services, School of the Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Dr. Mike Pietrus is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Director of Counseling Services at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His professional interests include student mental health, creativity, and motivation as well as social justice and multicultural issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology, while his areas of clinical focus include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, ADHD, Aspergers, gifted psychology, developmental concerns, grief/loss, music/art therapy, and trauma.
Vindhya V. Persaud, MBBS, MP
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Member of Parliament, Guyana.
Hon. Dr. Persaud, MP, is the Minister of Human Services and Social Security and President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha. She received her medical degree from the University of Guyana, School of Medicine, and has practiced at Georgetown Public Hospital Department of Surgery and St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital Department of Surgery and Emergency Medicine. Dr. Persaud has also been actively involved in the press as an editor, writer, host, and director for various forms of media.
Dr. Georgios Petrides, MD
Co-director, ECT services, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, New York, USA.
Dr. Petrides co-directs ECT services at Zucker Hillside Hospital. Under his leadership, ECT services expanded from delivering <5000 treatments in 2014 to ~7800 ECT treatments pre-COVID (2019). He co-directs a 5-day certificate course on ECT. This is the only course in the US offering an AMA category 4 certificate on ECT. To date more than 200 practitioners from all over the US and many foreign countries have taken this course. Additionally, Dr. Petrides is an organizing member of the Committee for the creation of The World Federation of ECT Societies and is chair of the Task force for ECT practice guidelines for the World Federation of Societies for Biological Psychiatry. He is President of the Executive Board of the International Society for ECT and Neurostimulation.
Dr. Joyce Pressley, MD
Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management at the Columbia University Medical Center, Director, Outreach Core, Columbia Center for Injury Science and Prevention, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Pressley is an expert on injury and trauma prevention research and education and the head of the Columbia Center for Injury Science and Prevention. Her center’s seminars are key educational materials for the GRITT training project. She is particularly interested in interventions to ameliorate trauma and injury, as well as reduce health disparities, the framework of which she proposed in her Socioeconomic Model of Functional Decline. Additionally, Dr. Pressley is Chair of the TRB Occupant Protection Committee, a member of the Impairment in Transportation Committee of the National Academies and a member of the Academic Advisory Council of Partners for Automated Vehicle Education.
Dr. Meenawattie Rajkumar, MD
Medical Superintendent, National Psychiatric Hospital, Berbice, Guyana.
Dr. Rajkumar was born and raised in the County of Essequibo. From 2013-2017, she served as the GMO of Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. After completing her residency in Psychiatry in Havana, Cuba, Dr. Rajkumar decided to pursue a career in forensic psychology. In 2020, she enrolled at the Sherlock Institute of Forensic Science, pursuing a post graduate diploma in Criminology and Victimology, as well as a Master’s Certificate in Hospital leadership through the Schulich School of Business at York University. In addition to her leadership in Guyanese forensic psychology, Dr Rajkumar has devoted herself to the improvement of services at the National Psychiatric Hospital in Berbice, where she now occupies the position of the Medical Superintendent.
Dr. Maria E Ramos-Nino, PhD Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pharmacology, St. George’s University, Grenada.
Maria E Ramos-Nino currently works at the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pharmacology, St. George’s University. Her current research interests include 1) Inflammation and its association with chronic diseases, 2) Off-label use of drugs prescribed in chronic diseases, 3) infection disease vectors and their potential reservoir, and 4) wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) to monitor community spread of pathogens, and health factors.
Hon. Charles S. Ransom, BVC Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Guyana.
Hon. Charles S. Ramson received his BVC in Law from Nottingham Trent University, LEC in Law from University of the West Indies, and Master of Science in Oil and Gas Enterprise Management form University of Aberdeen. Appointed by President Irfaan Ali in August 2022, Hon. Charles S. Ramson is currently Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and Member of Parliament.
Dr. Prakash VAK Ramdass, MBBS, MPH
Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada.
Dr. Prakash Ramdass is the track director for epidemiology in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at St. George’s University School of Medicine. He lectures clinical epidemiology and biostatistics to year two medical students, and public health research methods to MPH students. He received his MBBS from the University of Guyana School of Medicine, and his MPH in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University School of Public Health. His research interests include irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, and women’s health.
Dr. Moti Ramgopal, MD FACP FIDSA
Associate Professor of Medicine of Florida State University, Medical Director Midway Research Center, Founder of Midway Specialty Care Centers, Florida, USA.
With over 22 years of experience, Dr. Ramgopal is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. He serves as a Principal Investigator for clinical research and has conducted over 300 clinical trials at Midway Immunology and Research Center. Simultaneously, as a philanthropist, his organization has treated over several hundred uninsured HIV and Hepatitis C patients. Through Midway Specialty Care Center, Dr. Ramgopal and his team embrace the initiative of ending the HIV and HEPC Pandemics by 2030 in critical communities throughout Florida, and have opened their doors to Guyana, where new opportunities are available to the community.
Dr. Tayyab Rashid, PhD, CPsych Senior Lecturer Wellbeing Science, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, Australia.
Dr. Tayyab Rashid is Senior Lecturer at Centre for Wellbeing Science, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne and Faculty Affiliate, the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University. He is a board member of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and a member of the Leadership Council of the Academic Resilience Consortium. He is also the Co-chair of Campus Mental Health, Community of Practice (CoP) for the Canadian Association of Colleges and University Student Services (CACUSS). For more than 15 years, Dr. Rashid has worked with individuals experiencing severe trauma, including 9/11 families, survivors of Asian Tsunami of 2004, and Syrian refugee families, and with individuals experiencing complex mental health issues including severe depression, debilitating anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and suicidal behavior.
Ms. Melanie Reid, LCSW
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, Therapy on the Move, Jamaica, NY, US.
Ms. Reid is Guyanese born, resides in New York City, who is an activist for change. Ms. Reid has experience working with children, adolescents and adults. She has participated in projects that aid in the transformation of policies that improved the lives of New York City’s marginalized families. She has worked in various settings. Ms. Reid specializes in trauma informed therapy. Ms. Reid has been providing mental health support in marginalized communities for over two decades. Before she founded her own practice she worked with: Cornell University, the Office Mental Health in NYC, NYC Department Of Education, the Research Foundation of Mental Health, Brooklyn Community Service, and Sanctuary For Family. Ms. Reid has contributed to changes on both the micro and macro levels. She is an entrepreneur with the spirit of an activist, powered by the soul of a resilient and fully edified Guyanese.
Dr. Diana V Rodriguez-Moreno, PhD
Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Rodriguez-Moreno, a member of the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group, is a neuroscientist studying the neural substrates of cognitive processes using structural and functional imaging. Her early research involved both localization of low-level functions of the motor and sensory cortices for pre-surgical mapping in cancer patients and mechanisms of high-level processes related to language, math, and reasoning in healthy subjects. Her recent research focuses on adolescents’ risky behaviors.
Ms. Faith Ross, BSoc
Trainer and Behavior Modification Facilitator, Solutions Training Consultancy and Counseling Services, Georgetown, Guyana.
Faith Ross is a Social Worker and Candidate for a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She has worked as a remedial teacher for at risk youth for more than 5 years. She currently works with Solutions Training Consultancy and Counseling Services as a trainer and Behavior Modification Facilitator, conducting anger management therapy sessions for male and female offenders in Guyana’s Prison System. She also facilitates classroom management workshops and sessions for teachers. She volunteers at the Angoy’s Avenue Youth Friendly Space, providing recreational and educational programs for at Risk Youth.
Dr. Tawandra Rowell-Cunsolo, PhD
Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
Dr. Tawandra Rowell-Cunsolo’s research broadly examines the intersection of the criminal justice system and health outcomes. More specifically, her research examines ways in which incarceration affects the health of vulnerable communities, especially in the areas of HIV risk behaviors and substance use. Dr. Rowell-Cunsolo’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Columbia University. Her long-term goal is to develop sustainable evidence-based interventions that address the intersection of health and justice. She is currently the Principal Investigator of a National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded study that examines substance use trajectories and treatment adequacy among formerly incarcerated individuals residing in New York City.
Ms. Megan Ryan, MS
Field Director, Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Ms. Ryan is the Field Director of the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG) and oversees all of GPEG’s USA-based epidemiological investigations, ranging from studies of 9/11 directly-exposed children, the transmission of trauma in 9/11 exposed parent-child dyads, children of parents involved with the criminal justice system, effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACSs) on adolescents’ sleep, effects of COVID-19, etc. Ms. Ryan participates in the development of research protocols, the programming of interviews and directs the training of study interviewers.
Ms. Ryan works with Alicia Solomon and is a trainer with Alicia Solomon for the Guyana Well-Being study and a Resource Faculty Member of the Columbia University-University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Miss Breann Ritchie, Allyuh Sports Image, Guyana.
Miss Ritchie, 12 years old, has used her own mental health journey with abuse and trauma to inform platform/strategy for coping with that stress. She emphasizes the benefits of physical exercise/activity and sports in coping mechanisms for children in domestic abusive situations which is the cause of mental health conditions in young people, especially. She believes that young peoples’ “hope to cope” lies in sports, an aid to minimize depression, anxiety, panic etc. which has shown positive influence in her own family.
Dr. Olato Sam, PhD, MA
Secretary General, Guyana National Commission of UNESCO, Guyana.
Dr. Sam is currently performing the duties of the Secretary General of the Guyana National Commission of UNESCO. Additionally, he is a lecturer at the University of Guyana. He is the holder of a Ph.D. in the area of Education Policy and Planning from the University of the West Indies, Mona and a Masters Degree in International Education with a concentration in Latin America and the Caribbean from New York University. From 2011 to 2016 he served as the Chief Education Officer of Guyana. In 2017, he was reappointed to the Ministry of Education as the Education Specialist in the Office of the Minister of Education in 2020.
Sister Meshel V Williams Sampson, RN, RN, BSN, MSN, DIP ED
Nursing Tutor, New Amsterdam School of Nursing, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Sister Meshel Williams Sampson grew up in the Country area of Alness Village, Region 6. After graduating from high school, she was a teacher for one year. She then joined the Registered Nursing Program, University of Guyana, Midwifery program, and worked as a ward sister at various hospitals while attending the University of Guyana, to pursue her Bachelor of Science degree and Diploma in Education. She is currently a full-time Nursing Tutor (Educator) attached to the New Amsterdam school of nursing and part-time at the University of Guyana. As of September 2022, she marked 20- plus years of working in the nursing profession.
Dr. Sohag Sanghani, MD
Co-director, ECT services, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, New York, USA.
Dr. Sanghani co-directs ECT services at Zucker Hillside Hospital. Under his leadership, ECT services expanded from delivering <5000 treatments in 2014 to ~7800 ECT treatments pre-COVID (2019). He co-directs a 5-day certificate course on ECT. This is the only course in the US offering an AMA category 4 certificate on ECT. To date more than 200 practitioners from all over the US and many foreign countries have taken this course.
Mrs. Jana M Sarran, Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering, Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering
Lecturer, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Mrs. Jana Sarran is a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Technology at the University of Guyana. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Transportation Engineering at Carleton University in Canada. Her research interests include investigating the interaction of mixed vehicle technologies (i.e., Autonomous Vehicles and Human Driven Vehicles) and evaluating traffic safety and highway designs. Mrs. Sarran recently presented a section of her research paper at the 2022 International Symposium for Highway Geometric Design. She is also slated to present at the 2023 Annual Transportation Research Board conference in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Sean Sarran, Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering. Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering
Lecturer, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Mr. Sarran is a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering in the Faculty of Technology at the University of Guyana. Currently, he is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering (Transportation) at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Mr. Sarran is researching the effects of the mixing of autonomous and human-driven vehicles and the associated implications on safety at unsignalized intersections. Recently, he presented a research paper at the 2022 International Symposium for Highway Geometric Design relating to his research. Soon, he will present at the 2023 Annual Transportation Research Board conference in Washington, D.C.
Prof. 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 and 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.
Dr. Davendranand Sharma, MBBS (ind), DM (UWI)
Consultant Psychiatrist, Woodlands Hospital Inc., St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Georgetown, Guyana and Professor, Behavior Science, Texila American University, Georgetown, Guyana.
Dr. Sharma was professor and chair of Behavior Sciences and consultant to Ross University School of Medicine. Prior to returning to Guyana in 2019, he was a Psychiatrist at Ross University Counseling and Health Service. He has also served as a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) developing mental health plans for several Caribbean countries and providing training in disaster management in the Caribbean, Central, and South America. He is committed to public education in Guyana for improving knowledge about mental health and for promoting wellness.
Dr. Sujatha Sharma, MPhil, PhD
Managing Director, RAHAT Charitable and Medical Research Trust, Delhi, India.
Dr. Sujatha Sharma has an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and is a practicing clinical psychologist for about 35 years. She is the Managing Trustee of RAHAT Charitable & Medical Research Trust, an NGO in the field of mental health, and is the Co-Founder, Director of Mind Specialists (www.mindspecialists.com) a web based mental health portal. She has worked extensively with print, electronic, and social media for mental health education and promotion. Sharma has been a practitioner of Rajyoga Meditation and the lifestyle of the Brahmakumaris for more than 25 years. She has conducted several training programs integrating spirituality and mental health at their various campuses.
Dr. Penelope Siebert, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
Penelope has a special interest in the use of research that draws on theories and principles of participatory action research and the use of qualitative evaluation methodologies to inform the design and implementation of innovations aimed at improving health outcomes and addressing the wider determinants of health. She is also an experienced public health practitioner with significant experience of working at senior management level within the UK National Health Service in primary care, implementing and managing public health interventions and healthcare services aimed at reducing health inequalities.
Mr. Joel Simpson, LLB (Credit), UG LLM (Merit), UoN
Founder and Managing Director, SASOD Guyana, Guyana..
Dr. Mark Sinyor is a Psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Sinyor is a steering group member of the International COVID-19 Suicide Research Collaboration, and the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s “Partnerships for Life” lead for the Americas. His research focuses on population-level strategies for suicide prevention with an emphasis on safe public messaging. He is author of the Canadian Psychiatric Association guidelines for responsible media reporting related to suicide.
Mr. Mark Sinyor, MSc., MD, FRCPC
Professor, University of Toronto, Canada
Psychiatrist, Sunnybrook Health Services Centre, Toronto, Canada.
Dr. Mark Sinyor is a Psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Sinyor is a steering group member of the International COVID-19 Suicide Research Collaboration, and the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s “Partnerships for Life” lead for the Americas. His research focuses on population-level strategies for suicide prevention with an emphasis on safe public messaging. He is author of the Canadian Psychiatric Association guidelines for responsible media reporting related to suicide.
Dr. Norbert Skokauskas, MD, PhD
Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.
Professor Skokauskas, a Child Psychiatrist, is active internationally, especially in LIMCs, advising, consulting and training to advance the development and expansion of mental health services for children and adolescents. In collaboration with WHO, he led development of the Intervention Guidelines for mhGAP (mhGAP-IG), which is utilized world-wide for mental health provider training. He is Chair of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Section of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) and is Editor of the “World Child and Adolescent Psychiatry” a regular publication of the WPA. Professor Skokauskas is a Consultant to the Guyana Well-Being Study and a Faculty Member of the Columbia University- University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Dr. Amber O’Neill Smith, BA, CD (ICTC), MS
PhD candidate, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Amber O’Neill Smith, is a doctoral candidate in the International Psychology program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology specializing in trauma and resiliency. With over three decades of serving mothers during pregnancy, birth and postpartum, she has focused her international research and public policy advocacy on perinatal mental health. Ms. O’Neill Smith’s dissertation examines the social determinants of perinatal well-being through a Filipino cultural perspective.
Ms. Alicia Solomon, BSc, MSW Candidate
National Coordinator for Suicide Prevention, Social Worker, Mental Health Unit, Ministry of Health, Guyana.
Ms. Solomon has been a Social Worker in the Guyana Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Unit for the past 6 years, actively involved in psychological evaluation of community members. Ms. Solomon assumed a leading role in suicide prevention in the Ministry of Health and was appointed as Clinical Coordinator for the Guyana Well-Being (GWB) Study. In the latter role, she is responsible for assigning and supervising staff who are conducting research interviews in the suicide attempter study and the study of those with a family member who died by suicide, addressing issues of clinical concern, and coordinating activities with the MOH psychiatrists and others involved with the GWB Study. In 2022 Ms. Solomon was appointed National Coordinator for Suicide Prevention, Ministry of Health, Mental health Unit.
Dr. Ryan P Strosser, PsyD
Weston, Florida, USA.
Dr. Strosser has worked in a variety of settings within the mental health field for over 15 years, including residential facilities, schools, outpatient clinics, university counseling centers, and now private practice since 2020. He is skilled at working with people from diverse backgrounds and utilizes an integrative therapeutic approach with evidence-based treatment modalities. Dr. Strosser traveled to Guyana several times in the last year and continues to adapt and utilize his expertise in psychology while learning about the unique culture of Guyana to support the Guyanese with their mental health.
Acting CEO- National Communications Network, Guyana.
Mr. Subhan is a highly respected Guyanese media personality with years of experience in media and the performing arts. He was the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Communications Network (NCN). From 2007-2015 Mr. Subhan served as the Director for the Government Information News Agency (GINA). In 2020 Mr. Subhan’s very personal and informative book: Coming Back: An Escape from Suicide, provided important insights into his battle with depression and spoke directly to his fellow Guyanese about how he overcame the challengesof mental health issues. He now graciously and eloquently speaks to interested audiences about his personal experiences, for many generating a new-found hope.
Dr. Connie Svob, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.
Dr. Svob is a Whitaker Scholar in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University, and a Research Scientist in psychiatry at the Research foundation for Mental Hygiene. She has extensive training, knowledge, and expertise in investigating the role of religion in society. She investigates higher-order cognitive processes and meaning-making systems as they relate to mental health outcomes such as depression, trauma, and suicidality. Dr. Svob is a Consultant to the Guyana Well-Being Study and a Resource Faculty Member at the Columbia University of Guyana Research in Injury and Trauma Training (GRITT) Program.
Ms. Charlene Sunkel, Founder/ CEO of the Global Mental Health Peer Network, South Africa.
Ms. Charlene Sunkel is the Founder/ CEO of the Global Mental Health Peer Network. She is a global mental health advocate with lived experience with schizophrenia. She joined a national mental health organization in South Africa as Program Manager for Advocacy & Development in 2014, and established the Global Mental Health Peer Network in 2018. She has published internationally on issues related to mental health and human rights, stigma and the needs of people with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries. Ms. Sunkel has been involved in provided technical assistance to national and international mental health related policies, reports and documents. She serves on a number of international boards and committees, and received a number of national and international awards for her work.
Prof. Sir. Graham Thornicroft, PhD, Msc Professor, Centre for Global Mental Health and Centre for Implementation Science, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, UK.
Professor Thornicort is a renowned expert in the field of global mental health. He has chaired the World Health Organisation Guideline Development Group for the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) Intervention Guide (1st, 2nd and 3rdeditions), a practical support for primary care staff to treat people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders in low and lower middle-income countries. He is a Board Trustee of United for Global Mental Health, a Board Member for Mental Health and Human Rights (F-GIP), and he chairs the Board of Implemental. His areas of research expertise include: reduction of stigma and discrimination, evaluation of mental health services, and global mental health.
Ms. Manvi Tiwari, BA Young People’s Action Team, YuWaah (Generation Unlimited India) at UNICEF, India.
Ms. Vanneza Tobon, Project Manager at Midway Specialty Care Center, Florida, USA.
Dr. Anil Tulsie, MD Doctor, Internal Medicine Team, West Demerara Regional Hospital, Georgetown, Guyana.
Ms. Medeba Uzzi, MSc, BSc, DipEd
General Chemist and Chemistry Educator, University of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana.
Ms. Medeba Uzzi is a General Chemist and Chemistry Educator, with 20 years of experience in Chemistry Education at the University of Guyana. Her teaching duties include Chemical Thermodynamics and Introductory level General Chemistry and Physical Chemistry. As an advocate for natural treatment options, her research efforts are focused on toxicant analyses in food and plant tissues, and natural alternatives for treatment of surface water. She is passionate about Chemistry Education and hopes to inspire Guyanese youth to develop an appreciation for Chemistry.
Dr. Inge van Balkom, MD, PhD
Director, Jonx, Dept. of (Youth) Mental Health and Autism, Lentis Psychiatric Institute, Groningen, Netherlands.
Dr. van Balkom is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, head of research and director of Jonx, department of (Youth) Mental Health and Autism of Lentis Psychiatric Institute. She is also senior researcher at Rob Giel Research Centre, department of psychiatry, of University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG). Her research and clinical work focus on behavioral issues in neurodevelopmental disorders, including suicidal behaviors. Since 2019 she has collaborated with the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University, New York. Here, Dr. van Balkom contributes to research primarily focused on addressing international suicide trends, especially among children and adolescents.
Dr. Andria Veeren, MD, MMED Psychiatry, Psychiatrist, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Georgetown, Guyana.
Dr. Andria Veeren is a passionate advocate for mental health who works above and beyond to help people who are struggling. For the past three years that Dr. Veeren served at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, she has been actively campaigning and promoting mental health through various media houses, volunteering, and being a part of the Clinical Faculty for Medical students. Upon her graduation from the Celia Sanchez Mandula Medical University in Granma, Cuba, she worked for four years in hospitals throughout Guyana before venturing into the field of Psychiatry.
Ms. Elisa Vigna, MSc, BSc
Research assistant, the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill Health (NASP), Karolinska institute, Sweden.
Elisa Vigna is a research assistant at the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP) at Karolinska Institute in Sweden. She has a background in Psychology and Public Health. Her main work activity is the data analysis of clinical studies conducted within the European research project POTION (Promoting social interaction through emotional body odors). She also contributes on research and data analysis about the impact of socioeconomic factors on suicide rates at national and international level.
Prof. Lakshmi Vijayakumar, MBBS, DPM, PhD, FRCP (Edin), FRCPsych (Hon)
Head, Department of Psychiatry, Voluntary Health Services (VHS), Chennai, India.
Professor Vijayakumar is an Honorary Adjunct Professor, University of Griffith, East Queensland, Australia. and founder of SNEHA, a pioneering suicide prevention organization in India. She is also Honorary Associate 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.
Prof. 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).
Professor 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. Professor 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. Professor 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.
Prof. Myrna Weissman, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Mailman School of Public health at Columbia University and Chief of the Division of Translational Epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Professor Weissman obtained her Ph.D. in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University. She was formerly Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine and Director of the Depression Research Unit. She was a Visiting Senior Scholar (1979-1980) at the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. Professor Weissman has been a consultant to many private and public agencies, including the World Health Organization, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. Her current research includes the study of the transmission of depression across generations, the detection of biomarkers of transmission and treatment response, and the implementation of psychotherapy in low-income countries and populations. She is also the inventor of Interpersonal Psychotherapy and is involved in its use globally.
Ms. Justine Wright, MPH
Justine Wright, MPH Research Assistant, Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group (GPEG), Columbia University-New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA.
Ms. Wright’s research 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 has received funding from the NIMH to support research among Guyanese in NYC and in Guyana regarding religion and well-being. She is in the process of beginning her fieldwork both in NYC and Guyana.