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Director’s Update: Pamela Collins New NIMH Associate Director for Special Populations

Pamela Collins New NIMH Associate Director for Special Populations

Pamela Collins, M.D., joined NIMH in July as Associate Director for Special Populations and Director of the Offices for Special Populations, Rural Mental Health Research, and Global Mental Health.  As an assistant professor in the departments of epidemiology and psychiatry at Columbia University, Dr. Collins conducted research on the mental health aspects of the AIDS epidemic and worked to ensure access to HIV prevention and care for people with severe mental illness as well as access to mental health care services for people with HIV domestically and internationally.  Under Dr. Collins, NIMH will increase its focus on disparities in mental health both inside and outside of the United States. 

In this country, her studies have addressed the HIV prevention needs of women with severe mental illness and the contribution of social stigma related to mental illness and ethnicity to women’s HIV risk.  Internationally, she has conducted training of healthcare providers in mental health, HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention, and counseling in Argentina, Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Africa.  Dr. Collins has served as a consultant to the Directorate of Mental Health in South Africa and as a member of its Task Team for Policy Guidelines on HIV/AIDS in Psychiatric Institutions. She has served on the Advisory Group for the Movement for Global Mental Health and is a member of the WHO Integrated Management of Adult and Adolescent Illness mental health working group.

Dr. Collins received her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College and an M.P.H. from Columbia University School of Public Health.  She retains her faculty appointments at Columbia, where she is an assistant professor of clinical epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health (MSPH), and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Dr. Collins directed the Interdepartmental Global Health Track and was co-director of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity at the MSPH.

The NIMH Office for Special Populations develops and coordinates research policies and programs to assure increased emphasis on the mental health needs of women and minority populations.  The Office of Rural Mental Health Research directs and coordinates research activities and information dissemination on conditions unique to those living in rural areas, including research on the delivery of mental health services in such areas.  The Office of Global Mental Health coordinates, participates in, and reports on international activities with respect to mental health research.