Reflections: Black Pioneers in Mental Health

Today is February 2022’s last Friday. Before March comes barreling in like a lion, I’d like to acknowledge that February is Black History Month, with this year’s focus being “Black Health and Wellness.” The Black American community experiences profound systemic health inequalities, which is reflected in elevated rates of mental

Asian in America: Interconnected Histories and Distinct Experiences

Michelle Alyssa Go died last weekend after being pushed onto the subway tracks in Times Square. A 40-year-old Asian American woman, her life was tragically cut short. The portraits below, illustrated by Jonathan D. Chang, depict a few out of the many Asian American individuals who have been hurt, attacked,

What Martin Luther King, Jr. Knew But Never Said

On Monday, we pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. Stories and accolades will fill every form of media. Appropriately so. We will celebrate this legendary leader’s commitment to nonviolence and his extraordinary legacy of fighting for racial justice in the US Civil Rights movement. Renowned for his passionate and

World AIDS Day 2021

This past Wednesday, December 1st, was World AIDS Day. Dating back to 1988, World AIDS Day is “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.” The story

Remembering Colin Powell

When I hear the name Colin Powell, I think “hero.” His death at age 84 on this past Monday, October 18th, marked the passing of a man who did much for many. He was a hero for a myriad of reasons. He is best known for his public service as

Something Old, Something New

The ink is barely dry. Just yesterday, President Biden signed legislation establishing Juneteenth as a US federal holiday. Short for June 19th, Juneteenth is tomorrow. Because its debut as a federal holiday falls on Saturday, today was declared a holiday (occasionally government systems move quickly). Following Juneteenth, Sunday is Father’s

The First Lady of Mental Health

The young man in the photo below with US First Lady Rosalynn Carter is my dear friend and colleague, Dr. Harold Pincus. This photo hangs adjacent to his office door. Over the years, I have passed it too many times to count. It has prompted many stories about mental health

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

Mental Health and Work

When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and marched his troops south to establish the new Roman Empire, there was no going back. I dare say we have crossed our own Rubicon with the campaign to address mental health at work. Reaching the c-suite of companies around the globe, corporate leaders

The Confess Project

Hair. It’s a major strand in the braid of our pandemic stories. Women have gone gray. Men have gone from crew cut to ponytail. People are cutting and coloring their own hair (at their own peril). Some have feverishly tracked daily public health notices, jumping at the first available appointment


Okay. I admit it. I am one of those Americans who is irrationally beguiled by British royalty. So what better way to indulge my fascination than to watch The Crown this past year? I finished Season Four just before last week’s Golden Globes. This Netflix TV drama took home multiple

Words Matter

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about hope. I referenced multiple challenges in this world right now that are sparring with hope, including “riots in Chicago.” I hit submit. Within moments I had a message from a trusted colleague who pointed out my poor word choice. She had already