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GMH@Harvard: “How Did I Get Here?” Career Paths in Mental Health Series (Mental Health in Humanitarian Settings)
September 21, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
The purpose of the panel webinar series is to highlight and learn from the career paths of individuals who have been successful in diverse aspects of global mental health work. These seminars will seek to connect students and interested individuals to professionals in the field by understanding their career paths and how their passion and experiences led them to pursue a career in global mental health. It also serves to encourage individuals to find their own path in the global mental health community.
The structure will be a facilitated panel discussion of three-four individuals who will be asked questions about their experience and advice they have for students and early career professionals. There will also be time for audience questions and discussion.
The September seminar will include individuals who have experience or are currently working with a focus on mental health in humanitarian settings.
- Erin has been a clinical social worker since 2009, managing and coordinating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) programming in humanitarian settings spanning five different regions of the world. She has worked with the International Rescue Committee and Norwegian Refugee Council in Thailand, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Iraq. Erin has worked with the United National Population Fund (UNFPA) since 2016 when she created the GBV Capacity Building Initiative for psychosocial support and health providers in Syria through the GBV Sub-Cluster, cross-border operations in Turkey. Since then Erin worked as Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Specialist in Myanmar, Bangladesh, UNFPA’s Pacific Sub-Regional Office, and the Asia Pacific Regional Office. In her current role as GBV Case Management Specialist in UNFPA’s Humanitarian Office, Erin leads the development of GBV Case Management E-learning and GBV Case Management Capacity Building Initiatives in multiple countries under the umbrella of the inter-agency GBV Information Management System Steering Committee. She also supports UNFPA’s leadership on the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment Championship as it relates to access to information and quality assistance for survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse. Earlier in her career Erin worked with refugees and immigrants in higher education for several non-profit organizations in Boston. Erin is a Field Advisor at Boston College’s Graduate School of Social Work, Global Practice Program, and contributes to courses on gender, protection, mental health, refugees, and emergencies with several universities. She is also a member of the Jesuit Refugee Services’ MHPSS Advisory Committee.
- Valerie Waters: Valerie Waters is a practitioner and consultant in the field of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), focusing on trauma-informed approaches to humanitarian aid and human rights activities. She has authored policy on the integration of MHPSS into gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health programming for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), as well as guidelines on interviewing children and young people in truth-seeking efforts with the International Center for Transitional Justice. Ms. Waters spent five years overseeing the direct implementation of MHPSS programming with Action Contre la Faim and the Danish Refugee Council in Iraq, Myanmar, and Bangladesh, in addition to providing staff welfare support to Première Urgence International in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and northern Iraq. She is currently working as a Psychosocial Focal Point focused on staff wellbeing with Médecins Sans Frontières Canada, while also consulting on the development of MHPSS operational guidance with UNFPA. Ms. Waters holds a clinical master’s degree in International Disaster Psychology: Trauma and Global Mental Health from the University of Denver and is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) in the province of Ontario, Canada.
Nandini Agarwal is a public health professional working in the field of mental health. Her specialization is epidemiology and biostatistics and interests lie in gender-based violence and its varied implications. She has worked as a public health consultant in India, coordinating and running a program to provide primary care and mental health care for Transgender and Female Sex Worker communitites in Bangalore. She has also worked as a consultant for a mobile dentistry program based in Saudi Arabia to design and manage their operations. She graduated from Boston University School of Public Health and is currently working as a data analyst with the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center. In her current capacity she is the program evaluator of the newly implemented Community Certified Behavioral Health Clinic and assists in several other ongoing projects.