Global Mental Health Faculty

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Full-Time Global Mental Health Faculty

Allen Dyer, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, teaches in the Global Mental Health Seminar and has mentored Global Mental Health Track projects in Jordan, Palestine, India, and the Lesbos Refugee Camp in Greece. Earlier, Dr. Dyer served many years on the Duke University psychiatry faculty and as Chair of the Eastern Tennessee Department of Psychiatry. He came to Washington as Senior Health Advisor for International Medical Corps, a global humanitarian nonprofit organization providing medical relief programs worldwide, where he worked with health professionals and government ministries of health to develop education programs and policy, in Iraq and in disaster-affected communities in China, Haiti, Japan and elsewhere. Dr. Dyer has published extensively on medical ethics, palliative care, doctor-patient relationships, and global mental health. He has authored or edited seven books, including Ethics and Psychiatry: Toward Professional Definition, serves on the editorial board of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics. His  2013 memoir, One More Mountain to Climb, describes pivotal experiences that throughout his career have oriented him to his identity and commitments as a physician. Dr. Dyer has been the recipient of many fellowships and awards including the Kent Fellowship of the Danforth Foundation, the Institute of Human Values in Medicine Fellowship, and the Kellogg Foundation National Fellowship. In 2016, he will serve in Burundi as a Fullbright Fellowship Specialist.

James Griffith, M.D. is Leon M. Yochelson Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dr. Griffith teaches in the Global Mental Health Seminar and other seminars relevant to global mental health, such as the Hope Modules Stigma Seminars.  He mentors residents in the Global Mental Health Track. As a psychiatric educator, Dr. Griffith developed a psychiatry residency program at George Washington University that has been distinguished for its curriculum in cross-cultural psychiatry, global mental health, mental health policy, and psychosocial care for medically-ill patients. In his clinical research, Dr. Griffith has published extensively on family-centered treatment of psychosomatic disorders and chronic medical illnesses, including a book,The Body Speaks: Therapeutic Dialogues for Mind-Body Problems. A second book, Encountering the Sacred in Psychotherapy, articulated methods for engaging the spiritual and religious resources that people bring to clinical settings. His most recent book, Religion that Heals, Religion that Harms, addressed destructive uses of religion and ideology in clinical settings and received the 2011 Creative Scholarship Award from the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture. Currently, Dr. Griffith provides psychiatric treatment for immigrants, refugees, and survivors of political torture at Northern Virginia Family Services in Falls Church, VA. He has received the Human Rights Community Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area and the Margaret B. and Cyril A. Schulman Distinguished Service Award from the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, both for the training of mental health professionals and development of mental health services for survivors of political torture in the Washington metropolitan area. He has received the Distinguished Teacher Award from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He has been selected by the Washington Psychiatric Society as its 2003 Psychiatrist of the Year and for its 2014 Distinguished Service Award.

Eindra Khin Khin, M.D., is assistant professor of psychiatry and director of medical student education. Dr. Khin Khin teaches in our Global Mental Health Seminar. Dr. Khin Khin is a forensic psychiatrist who directs the GW Human Rights Clinic that teaches GW psychiatry residents and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital forensic psychiatry fellows how to conduct psychiatric evaluations for political asylees from other countries. Dr. Khin Khin is also a country expert on Myanmar where she has provided Burmese language psychiatric educational curricula for medical professionals and consultation to the drafting of mental health law.

Vanessa Torres-Llenza, M.D. is assistant professor of psychiatry and hospitalist on our George Washington Hospital psychosomatic medicine and emergency psychiatry service. Dr. Torres-Llenza teaches the Cultural Formulation Interview in the Global Mental Health Seminar and is co-director for the Community Mental Health Services for Immigrants and Refugees Seminar. She is the faculty supervisor for our immigrant and refugee clinic at Northern Virginia Family Services. Dr. Torres-Llenza was recipient of a 2013-2015 American Psychiatric Association/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Minority Research Award with which she conducted a community-based program on mental health awareness in Puerto Rico.

Amir Afkhami, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, has provided residency teaching on mental health policy and advocacy in low- and middle-income countries and has conducted scholarly projects involving mental health services and medical diplomacy in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. Since 2007, he has provided psychiatric consultation to northern Iraq to address mental health consequences of war trauma and genocide, as well as aiding the re-building of Iraqi psychiatry as a professional community. Dr. Afkhami is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and provides teaching for the U.S. Defense Department and State Department. Dr. Afkhami provides mentorship for psychiatry residents who elect scholarly projects in medical diplomacy or mental health policy analysis in low- and middle-income countries.


Global Mental Health Program Clinical Faculty

Michael Morse, M.D., M.P.A., is director of global community mental health in the GW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and executive director for the Palestinian Medical Education Initiative (PMED), a non-governmental organization founded by Dr. Morse while he was a student at Harvard Medical School in 2007. PMED has been devoted to building the capacity of Palestinian medical training in West Bank and Gaza Palestine. In 2015 PMED secured funding through the German Regional Fund for the Middle East and North Africa (GIZ) for programs to integrate mental health services into primary care settings in Gaza and West Bank Palestine. PMED serves a central role in the “Global Mental Health Initiative in the Middle East,” as an academic consortium between our GW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the family therapy graduate program of the University of San Diego, and the global health program of the University of California-San Diego for training mental health professionals and strengthening mental health services in Middle Eastern countries. 

Peter Polatin, M.D., M.P.H., clinical associate professor of psychiatry, served as director of the Division of Global Mental Health until his retirement in 2015. Dr. Polatin continues to mentor projects in the Global Mental Health Track. Dr. Polatin brought to our department a distinguished career of scholarship and clinical service as health program manager and senior health adviser for the Danish Institute Against Torture, or DIGNITY, in Copenhagen, Denmark. With DIGNITY, he worked with partner NGOs to construct, implement, and evaluate psychosocial and medical interventions to assist in the identification, assessment, and treatment of survivors of torture in the developing world—Cambodia, Liberia, Sierra Leonne, Jordan, and currently, Myanmar. He also has been a core faculty member of the Harvard Program on Refugee Trauma. 

Lynne Gaby, M.D., clinical associate professor of psychiatry, developed training for psychiatry residents on the care of immigrants, refugees, and political torture-survivors while a full-time faculty member from 2000 to 2006. She continues to serve as a faculty supervisor in our immigrant and refugee clinic at Northern Virginia Family Services and supervises residents’ psychiatric evaluations of political asylees in the GW Human Rights Clinic. Dr. Gaby has received the Human Rights Community Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area and the Margaret B. and Cyril A. Schulman Distinguished Service Award from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, both for the training of mental health professionals and development of mental health services for survivors of political torture in the Washington metropolitan area.  She has provided over 200 psychiatric evaluations for political asylees and serves as an expert asylum network consultant for Physicians for Human Rights.

Eliot Sorel, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry, has developed through the Washington Psychiatric Society a “Career, Leadership, and Mentoring” Program that has assisted GW psychiatry residents with workshop and symposia presentations at international conferences of the World Psychiatric Association and the World Congress of Social Psychiatry. Dr. Sorel is editor of 21st Century Global Mental Health, a major textbook on global mental health and serves as President of the American Psychiatric Association Global Mental Health Caucus.

Catherine May, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry, has served on medical and psychiatric teams to Malawi, Haiti, South Africa, post-Katrina Gulf Coast, and refugee camps in Greece, while providing on-site supervision for GW Global Mental Track residents’ projects. As a dually-trained Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry specialist, Dr. May is a Washington leader for mental health responses to disasters. In recognition of her contributions, she has been awarded the Bruno Lima Award for Disaster Psychiatry from the American Psychiatric Association and the Margaret B. & Cyril A. Schulman Distinguished Service Award Distinguished Service Award from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Suzan Song, M.P.H., M.D., clinical associate professor of psychiatry, serves as a child psychiatrist and human rights advocate in program development, scholarship, and mentoring of our residents’ projects in the Global Mental Health Track. Dr. Song lives in San Francisco where she serves as medical director for Asian Americans for Community Involvement, an organization that provides mental health services for Asian communities in the Bay Area. Dr. Song’s research and publications have focused upon intergenerational trauma and resilience among children exposed to violence.  She has served as an international child mental health and protection consultant in multiple countries of Africa and the Middle East, including treatment programs for child soldiers in Sierra Leone and Burundi. She currently is principal investigator and senior technical adviser for a Grand Challenges Canada grant to study affects of violence on infant cognition in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also is a also consultant to UNICEF and International Medical Corps programs to mitigate violence and to assess psychosocial needs of youth in the Za’atari Syrian refugee camp in northern Jordan.

Carlos Sluzki, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry, mentors residents’ projects in the Global Mental Health Program. Dr. Sluzki has been one of our nation’s foremost family therapists.  Through his teaching and scholarship, Dr. Sluzki played a major role in the creation and development of systemic family therapy. Most recently, Dr. Sluzki was Professor of Global and Community Health and Professor in the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. He previously served as chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Berkshire Medical Center, a teaching hospital for the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine. He has served as editor-in-chief of four psychiatric journals, including Family Process and Journal of Orthopsychiatry. He has written or edited 12 books, two films for professional training, and more than 100 scientific journal articles and book chapters. He has been a consultant to the International Criminal Court at the Hague and an adviser to the World Health Organization. Dr. Sluzki has served as president, keynote speaker, member of organizing and scientific committees in many professional congresses in psychiatry, mental health, human rights, and family therapy in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Australia. Dr. Sluzki is one of our nation’s foremost experts on mental health issues involving both American families and those of immigrants and refugees who have come to this country.  He pioneered the design of recovery programs for Latin American refugees who had been tortured by their governments. He has particular expertise in the reconstitution of social networks after migration.