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Graduate Assistantships: Mental Health Program

  • Working with the Liberian government, The Carter Center has helped to create a corps of over 180 locally trained and credentialed mental health clinicians now serving all 15 counties in the country. (Photo: The Carter Center)

Under the leadership of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a long-standing champion for the rights of people with mental illnesses, the Carter Center's Mental Health Program works to promote awareness about mental health issues, inform public policy, achieve equity for mental health care comparable to other health care, and reduce stigma and discrimination against those with mental illnesses.

The Mental Health Program seeks to recruit a graduate assistant who can support its activities in Global Behavioral Health (GBH), Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism (RCJF), and Public Policy initiatives.

Project Scope:

GBH team aims to ensure a sustainable, quality, and accessible behavioral health system in Liberia and explore the intersection of behavioral/mental health and other global health and development priorities. Within GBH, the graduate assistant will focus on:

A) Supporting operational research and analysis on the intersection of mental health and other health priority areas including neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and maternal mental health. Perinatal mental illness is a driving factor for maternal distress, worse birth outcomes, and poor neonatal and infant health outcomes including growth and nutrition. The graduate assistant would support the implementation and evaluation of Thinking Healthy Program, a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based maternal mental health intervention in Liberia. The graduate assistant would further help explore opportunities for strengthening or expanding areas of research or programming on mental health and maternal health, and MH/NTD integration in Haiti and Liberia.

B) Supporting program implementation in Liberia and research for expansion to other countries, including documentation of "proof of concept" for replication and scaling. The Carter Center’s decade long engagement in Liberia has led to a number of gains in the public mental health sector, including but not limited to 342 mental health clinicians serving all 15 counties in the country. The graduate assistant will support the program in the implementation of priority program activities (including efforts around delivery of psychotropic medications, training on substance abuse management, and deployment of a tele-mentoring platform for ongoing clinician supervision and continuing education) and help document the scope the program’s efforts in the country.

The Behavioral Health & Media/Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism (RCJF) Program provides awards to journalists from the United States and in partner countries to report on mental health issues and facilitates the training of both fellows and non-fellow journalists to effectively cover these issues. The graduate assistant will provide support to the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism and activities related to the Fellowship Training Meeting held annually every fall. For example, the graduate assistant will help with surveys, data collection and evaluation of fellows’ work and experience connected to the fellowship. In addition, the graduate assistant may provide support to the strengthening of mental health journalism activities and networks in Liberia.

The Public Policy initiative supports efforts to advance the expansion of school-based behavioral health in Georgia, the implementation and enforcement of laws that guarantee parity for insurance coverage of mental health and substance use conditions nationally, and the improvement of mental health services available for older adults. The graduate assistant will provide support to the team in the form of research, literature reviews, and policy analysis with an aim to strengthen and promote domestic behavioral health public policies.

Responsibilities Include:

- Draft reports, memos, presentations, and project materials (e.g., Communications efforts), literature reviews, and article summations on relevant topics related to programmatic research and implementation for internal and external audiences

-Contribute to the implementation of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks and evaluation of program activities

-Assist with data management, research data policies for access, review data storage options and dissemination of analysis, clean data, and identify opportunities for improved knowledge management and sharing

-Advance various other specific projects assigned as opportunities arise based on programmatic needs and the applicant’s interests

-Collaborate on proposals and applications for funding as they arise

Project Benchmarks:

-By the end of the first month, the graduate assistant will have an introduction to current measures and methods across the program and design a work plan for the academic year in close communication with staff that helps meet desired program and learning objectives.

-By the end of 3-4 months, the graduate assistant, in collaboration with staff, will have identified a possible programmatic, knowledge, or evaluation product to be developed out of MHP efforts and a strategy to produce the deliverable by the end of the assistantship.

-By the end of the 9-month period, the graduate assistant will have in-depth experience with global behavioral health, RCJF, and public policy pillars.

Project Deliverables:

-Project progress reports and status updates

-Quantitative and qualitative data analysis outputs

-Reflection piece from annual RCJF Fellowship meeting

-Literature summations, presentations, reviews, and manuscript drafting where relevant

-End of project presentation and summary report that includes recommendations for future programming and/or research


-Currently enrolled graduate or doctoral student

-Coursework/fieldwork in relevant topics and familiarity with program evaluation, quantitative and qualitative research methods, data analysis

-A 20-hour per week commitment for a period of 9-12 months

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Assistantship Deadlines

Apply for a Carter Center Graduate Assistantship

The 2021-22 graduate assistantship application opens on Feb. 5, 2021 and closes on April 8, 2021.

Program: 9-12 MONTHS
(August start)

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