Mental Health Takes Center Court

“Fault!” That’s the call of a line referee when the tennis ball lands outside an opponent’s designated service box. This week, the cry came when Naomi Osaka, four-time Grand Slam champion and number two ranked female tennis player in the world, refused to participate in a mandatory post-match news conference

Congratulations, Dr. Poku!

Following graduation from Mount Holyoke College, Ohemaa Poku started as the Program Coordinator at our Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health in 2014. Over the past seven years, she’s been busy! She worked at Columbia for a stretch and then embarked on her graduate education in public health. Last week

Healthy Planet, Healthy People

Planet Earth. Home sweet home for almost eight billion people. This past Thursday we celebrated with our annual Earth Day, and our week was filled with related news and programs. The beautiful images and extraordinary stories about mother nature were fabulous. The many reminders of the existential threat of climate

Tracy’s Christmas Carol Challenge

My friend, Tracy, is a nice Jewish girl who loves Christmas carols. This is her favorite time of year to drive around because she has four Christmas carol stations on her car radio. It all started with her elementary school chorus experience and participating in the annual Christmas concerts. Charlie

Light

We lit the first candle of Hanukkah yesterday. White match head pressed against the rough side of the box. Swift strike. Flame ignites. Gentle touch. Wick burns. Candle glows. The light is mesmerizing. Hanukkah is in good company. Around this time of year, all over the world, people are also

Shanah Tovah!

This evening’s setting sun ushers in Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It marks the beginning of the High Holy Days for Jews around the world, which continue for 10 days and culminate on Yom Kippur. Today is my first Five on Friday following two weeks of vacation. As I

The Four Children of COVID-19

The Jewish holiday of Passover is less than four weeks away. It is looking like COVID-19 will impact the possibility of gathering multiple generations of family and friends who would typically squeeze together around the dining table for a banquet of traditional foods and the retelling of the Israelites’ exodus

Why I Love Ms. Pac-Man

I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted from the deluge of discussions this week about hand sanitizer and health care policy, travel bans and super delegates. No doubt that coronavirus and the US Democratic primaries are serious topics worthy of our attention and thoughtful consideration. But sometimes we

International Day of the Girl: Get Out Your Hiking Boots

Today is International Day of the Girl. Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that these two days sit side by side on the calendar. In the world of mental health, the data are overwhelmingly clear that gender matters. Gender equality is associated with better public

What is the Price of Freedom?

As the sun goes down this evening, millions of Jews around the world will celebrate the first night of Passover. The Passover Seder tells the story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. We are to tell the story as if we too were once slaves. It is a

When Friends Become Family and Family Become Friends

In 1980-81, I studied international affairs in Bologna, Italy at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). I had studied French since sixth grade, and thus, wanted to go to the Sorbonne in Paris. But I was a scholarship student at Hopkins, and the only option that I

Suicide and the Holidays

Suicide is more common around the holidays, right? Wrong. 1. It is a myth that suicide rates increase around the holidays. Perhaps because we hope that the holidays will be a time of enhanced joy and connection, it feels especially poignant when someone dies by suicide at this time of year.