Center for Innovation in


at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy


The Center for Innovation in Mental Health (CIMH) is an academic training and research center that promotes the reach and adoption of effective mental health interventions through research, evaluation, training, and policy. CIMH engages in local and global efforts to advance mental health service and research to improve access and quality of mental health care.

Why is mental health work important?

1 in every 5 people
has symptoms of a mental health disorder
5 to 1
return of investment on mental health care
Less than 40%
of people with depression have access to mental health care

Community-based interventions

in diverse, low-resource settings and economically disadvantaged communities locally, nationally, and globally, including Vietnam, Uganda, New York, and Los Angeles

Capacity building

through efforts such as training in evidence-based practices for community organizations and healthcare settings and developing toolkits and practice guidelines

Quality improvement strategies

such as dashboards, learning collaboratives, and training and supervision models

Implementation science research

based on evidence-informed innovations, such as task-shifting in mental health care

CIMH engages in community-based participatory research to guide program design and implementation. We have an extensive background in developing community engagement, capacity building, implementing, disseminating, scaling up, and evaluating evidence-based practices for mental health across multiple sectors for vulnerable communities globally.  

We implement and evaluate different models for integrating mental health care into a variety of settings, including primary care, HIV, maternal health, and schools, to offer more accessible gateways to mental health care.

CIMH focuses on research examining the links between common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and a range of economic outcomes. Our goal is to better understand the support needs of individuals at risk of mental health challenges to break the downward cycle of mental illness, poor physical health, and poverty. We develop and evaluate innovations based on evidence-based research across communities and best practices in the field.

We develop, implement, and evaluate mental health interventions aimed at improving a wide variety of outcomes, including economic, physical health, and other psychosocial measures for high-risk low-income populations locally and globally.

Bringing awareness and ending stigma surrounding mental health in Vietnam

Advancing systems collaboration for trauma-impacted communities

Improving community resilience in Harlem, New York City

Innovating mental health care for cancer patients

Providing increased mental health support for youths aged 13-21 in New York City

Integrating mental health task-sharing interventions into employment services

Project Dep Training

We train a community network of lay providers in Vietnam to provide mental health services in primary care settings.

MHPSS Knowledge Hub

We maintain a collaborative platform for sharing and maintaining psychosocial resources and research.

Cancer Epidemiology Education in Special Populations (CEESP)

As part of the CEESP Program, we provide support for students to conduct mentored research on the intersection between cancer care and mental health in global and U.S. minority settings.

MHPSS Intervention Database
Use this database to track available evidence from nearly 300 mental health and psychosocial support interventions implemented in low-and middle-income countries.
Access the database

Victoria Ngo


Victoria Ngo is an Associate Professor of Community Health and Social Sciences at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy (CUNY SPH), Director of the Center for Innovation in Mental Health at CUNY SPH, Director for Global Mental Health in the Center for Immigrant, Refugee, and Global Health, and an adjunct behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation.

Marina Weiss

Marina Weiss

post-doc fellow

Marina Weiss is a Postdoctoral Fellow at CIMH, where she leads training development and supports implementation of the Building Resilience in Youth, Harlem Strong and JobsPlus projects. Dr. Weiss is a clinical psychologist whose research focuses on describing and addressing mental health disparities in trauma-exposed populations, specifically through community-based, participatory research (CBPR) methods and the implementation of community-centered interventions such as mental health task-sharing.

Alessandra Cirillo

Project Manager

Alessandra Cirillo is the Project Manager for Jobs Plus at CIMH. She received her Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology from Boston University Sargent College and her Masters of Public Health with a certificate in Global Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. 

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