JUNE 27th Webinar


JUNE 27, 2018


Webinar Registration

Advances in digital technologies have created unprecedented opportunities to assess and improve health behavior and health outcomes. The majority of the world’s population subscribes to mobile phone services. Growing evidence indicates that increased access to these technologies is also evident in many traditionally underserved populations and in low- and middle-income countries. Given the widespread access to digital technology worldwide, health behavior change tools delivered on mobile platforms enable broader reach and scalability of evidence-based interventions. This webinar will highlight three research projects that leverage digital technology to support science-based mental health care in Latin America. This webinar is intended to promote an understanding of (1) the state of the science of digital health for mental health and (2) the challenges and opportunities when implementing digital health tools in Latin America. This webinar is intended for a broad audience, with a focus on researchers and healthcare providers who may be interested in adopting digital therapeutics for mental health. The projects highlighted in this webinar will serve as an example of the opportunity for applying digital therapeutics globally.


Headshot of Dr. Makeda Williams

Makeda Williams, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Chief, Global Mental Health Research Program
Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health, NIMH

Dr. Makeda Williams manages a portfolio of global mental health research grants and leads strategic planning and technical consultation for global mental health initiatives within the ORDGMH at NIMH. She collaborates within NIMH and across the NIH, the U.S. government and with external stakeholders to develop, support and build capacity for global mental health research. She also serves as Project Scientist for the Research Partnerships for Scaling Up Mental Health Interventions, an initiative that uses implementation research to expand the reach of evidence-based mental health interventions and to build and sustain in-country capacity and use of scientific evidence to develop mental health policies and programs. Dr. Williams will be the NIMH representative for the Fogarty International Center’s NIH IC Representatives Group.

Previously, she served as an International Program Officer in the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Center for Global Health where she managed global cancer research, capacity building and prevention programs. Dr. Williams participated in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) International Experience and Technical Assistance Program in 2007 at CDC Zambia, as well as the Center for Infectious Diseases Research in Zambia where she developed strategies and trained health care professionals on cervical cancer and HIV/STD prevention. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Emory University, M.P.H. in Maternal and Child Health from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, and Ph.D. in Health Education/Health Promotion from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and has received two NCI Director’s Awards for advancing cancer research in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as outstanding leadership for the NCI Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention.


Headshot of Dr. Lisa Marsch

Lisa A. Marsch, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CTBH)
Andrew G. Wallace Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth College

Dr. Lisa A. Marsch is the Director of the Dartmouth Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CTBH), a designated Center of Excellence supported by the NIH. The CTBH Center uses science to inform the development, evaluation, and sustainable implementation of technology-based tools that leverage web, mobile, sensing and/or social media approaches for behavior change targeting a wide array of populations and health behaviors. In addition to directing this national center, Dr. Marsch co-leads an international research and capacity-building project that leverages science-based digital therapeutics for mental health and substance use disorders to expand access to science-based behavioral health care in primary care systems in Latin America. Dr. Marsch publishes extensively and is a regular keynote speaker at national and international scientific meetings (including invited presentations at the White House, Congressional briefings, the World Bank, and for the U.S. Surgeon General). She has served as a consultant to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization. Dr. Marsch led the development of a recently-published seminal book from Oxford University Press on the state of the science of leveraging technologies in transforming behavioral health care. She currently serves on the National Advisory Council to the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the NIH.


Headshot of Dr. Paulo Menezes

Paulo Menezes, M.D., Ph.D.
University of São Paulo (Brazil)
Professor and Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine
Faculdade de Medicina

Dr. Paulo Menezes is a psychiatrist with more than 20 years of experience working in Psychiatric Epidemiology. Currently, he is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, and leader of the Research Group on Population Mental Health (NAP-SaMP) at the University of São Paulo. His research interest focuses on the design, conduct and analysis of community-based observational studies and randomized trials, especially in relation to depression and common mental disorders in primary care and during pregnancy; psychosis; and mental health in old age. His achievements in research include the development of two large population-based research programs on first-contact psychosis in Brazil investigating the incidence, risk factors and prognosis, and aspects related to neuroimaging, genetics and use of services.

Dr. Menezes is also the head of a research program on common mental disorders during pregnancy, adverse birth outcomes and post-partum depression among low-income women, and the main barriers for treatment. Additionally, he is the Principal Investigator (PI) for the NIMH funded U19 grant for the Latin America Technology and Innovation Network in Mental Health (LATIN-MH), a five year program aimed at developing and evaluating the effectiveness of a technological intervention using an app for smartphones in the treatment of depressive symptoms in individuals with diabetes and/or hypertension in primary care. The LATIN-MH involves University of São Paulo (Brazil), Universidad Peruana Caetano Heredia (Peru), Northwestern University (United States) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (United Kingdom). As part of his academic activities he teaches disciplines related to research methodology, particularly epidemiology, for medical and post-graduate students.


Headshot of Dr. John Piette

John Piette, Ph.D.
Professor of Global Public Health
University of Michigan School of Public Health

Dr. John Piette is a public health professional who currently serves as a Professor of Global Public Health and Internal Medicine; the Director of the University of Michigan Center for Managing Chronic Disease; and a U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Senior Research Career Scientist. His research focuses on developing and evaluating novel strategies for using patient-facing health technology to improve the accessibility and quality of care for patients with chronic illnesses. Much of this work focuses on the use of mHealth monitoring systems in socioeconomically vulnerable populations in Latin America. Dr. Piette has been the PI on multiple NIH, VA, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)-funded randomized trials of disease management services supported by mobile communication tools for patients and informal caregivers. Ongoing studies include an R21 pilot trial of mobile health support and community health workers to improve depression outcomes in Bogotá, Colombia. He also recently completed two NIH trials using mobile health support for self-management and caregiver assistance among patients with diabetes and with depression in safety-net health systems in the U.S., as well as two VA trials using artificial intelligence to improve the patient-centeredness of self-care assistance among people with back pain and opioid use.