Dr. Deborah Padgett to Teach Intensive Course at India’s Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health

January 3, 2019

From January 9th-14th, Professor Deborah K. Padgett will teach an intensive course on Anthropological Perspectives in Global Health at The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) in Chennai, India. NYU Silver and the School’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research are co-sponsoring the course with BALM, a mental health and social science research and teaching institution affiliated with The Banyan, a leading non-governmental organization in India that pioneered comprehensive mental health solutions for poor and homeless persons.

Dr. Padgett, who holds a PhD in anthropology and master’s degrees in anthropology and public health, adapted the five-day course from a semester-long version she teaches at NYU Silver’s Washington Square campus. “BALM is focused on building skilled human resources, impacting service provision, and evolving effective policy in the global south,” she explained “Providing students with an understanding of the role cultural, social, and structural factors play in health and illness, and exploring how to apply that perspective to global problems such as human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, mass violence, and mental disorders is consistent with those aims.”

Participants in the class will include both students enrolled in BALM’s Department of Social Work in Mental Healthcare as well as visiting students who are in Chennai for the Second International Mental Health and Inclusive Development Conference taking place there January 7th-8th. Dr. Padgett, who is the co-lead of the Grand Challenges for Social Work’s End Homelessness challenge, will be a featured presenter at the conference, addressing the Grand Challenges in an Indian context and speaking about homelessness and Housing First.

Dr. Padgett has an ongoing collaborative relationship with The Banyan and BALM that arose from her earlier ethnographic research on homeless “pavement dwellers” in Delhi, India. To inform her research, Dr. Padgett made multiple trips to India to build relationships with mental health providers and advocacy organizations helping homeless adults with serious mental illness. She subsequently partnered with The Banyan and BALM as well as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to organize the International Conference on Justice and the Rights of Homeless Persons with Psychosocial Needs held in Chennai in September 2016.  

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