The last two decades have witnessed a growing acknowledgment of the importance of research on mental health in the global health context. The 1995 edited volume, World Mental Health [1], the 1996 publication of the Global Burden of Disease Study [2], and the 2001 World Health Report [3] powerfully utilized mental health data or underscored the role of research in achieving gains in mental health around the world. By 2007, the World Health Organization and the Global Forum for Health Research released their report on research capacity for mental health, demonstrating the dearth of mental health research from low- and middle-income countries, in particular, as well as the need to bridge the gap between research, practice, and policy [4]. That same year, the Lancet special issue on global mental health galvanized the global mental health community, outlining concrete actions to advance the field [5]. The series Call to Action underscored the importance of research as a means to expand the global evidence base and to make the case for mental health care delivery reform, especially in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) [5]. At the time, however, medical students and residents from high-, middle-, and low-income countries, alike, would have noted a dearth of funding to support research training focused on global mental health themes. Despite this, by 2009, new global health programs at universities were rapidly appearing in the USA and providing more opportunities for training in global health [6], but few had well-developed mental health components—either research or clinically focused. At the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a reevaluation of the institute’s role in global health research was also underway. By mid-2009, NIMH began reorganizing the Office for Special Populations and the Office of Global Mental Health to create the Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health (ORDGMH) in 2010. Consistent with the NIMH mission, the new office underscored (1) the critical need to mount an inclusive global effort to expand research—and the capacity to conduct research—on preventing and treating mental illness, (2) the centrality of eliminating disparities as part and parcel of this effort, and (3) the value of recognizing that local contexts around the globe share commonalities that can provide insights into equitably reducing the suffering associated with mental illness. An explicit goal of ORDGMH was to create a research career path in global mental health for US investigators, while also supporting research capacity building in low- and middle-income countries as a route to building high-quality collaborative research. To achieve this goal, ORDGMH expanded collaborations with the Fogarty International Center (FIC)—the NIH center tasked with supporting and facilitating global health research and research training—and, where indicated, developed new targeted initiatives for research capacity development in mental health. In this article, we briefly describe NIMH activities in support of global mental health research training and future directions for research training in global mental health.

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