Global Health Topic(s): Biostatistics, Education and Training (Capacity Building), Epidemiology, Implementation Science, Mental Health, Substance Abuse
Country(ies): Cambodia, Viet Nam
My primary professional focus is on global mental health, in particular child global mental health in Southeast Asia. This work, which is funded and has been funded continuously for the past 20 years by the U.S. NIH and other agencies, involves both (a) primary research as well as (b) training capacity development. The work focuses on a number of related issues that we have identified as central for child global mental health development. For instance, although urbanization is a major factor impacting on many LMIC (low and middle income countries), there has been little research on its impact on mental health in LMIC, particularly child mental health. To increase our understanding in this area, we conducted the first nationally representative child mental health epidemiology survey in Vietnam (N=1,356), including a focus on urbanization, with longitudinal as well as cross-sectional studies. Other projects include a large scale (N=1,000), long-term (10 year) mental health monitoring survey in coastal central Vietnam, to assess the effects of increased typhoons occurring in this region (as part of global climate change) on mental health. We have conducted an NIH-funded longitudinal study of which I was PI, in Danang, HCMC, Los Angeles, and San Jose with colleagues from UCLA, UC-Davis, Vietnam National University, and the Danang Psychiatric Hospital, to determine how cultural factors influence the effects of stress and coping on the development of mental health symptoms in adolescents in the U.S. and Vietnam; to date we have over ten publications from this project, and are continuing to work on the very rich data produced by this project. As part of my work in Vietnam, I have been centrally involved in development of the first Ph.D. clinical psychology training program in Vietnam, which is the first research-focused mental health training program in the country, and the first evidence-based mental health program in the country.
In regards to teaching, I have taught a variety of graduate courses, including Psychopathology; Culture and Psychopathology; Multivariate Statistics; Research Synthesis / Meta-analysis; and a Pro-seminar on Interventions Research. I also have taught a number of undergraduate courses, including Culture and Psychopathology; Introduction to Clinical Psychology; Introduction to Statistical Analysis; Statistical Analysis.
In regards to my service activities at Vanderbilt University, I was the Director of Clinical Training (of our PhD in clinical psychology program) from 2016-2020), and was Co-Director of the Center for Psychotherapy Research and Policy from 1998 to 2009.
Professor Weiss’ research focuses on child psychopathology, in particular intervention for comorbid internalizing and externalizing problems, and cultural influences on the development and treatment of psychopathology. Particular interests include development of a model to describe factors influencing the sustainability of task-shifting mental health interventions (i.e., interventions implemented by non-mental health professionals, such as teachers or nurses) after external support is withdrawn. Much of this work currently focuses on Vietnam and Southeast Asia, where he and his colleagues (a) have conducted the first nationally representative child mental health epidemiology survey in Vietnam in order to determine the impact of urbanization factors on the development of child psychopathology, (b) a longitudinal study, including colleagues from UCLA, UC-Davis, Vietnam National University and the Danang Psychiatric Hospital to determine how cultural factors influence the effects of stress and coping on the development of mental health symptoms in adolescents; (c) developing and evaluating a multi-province, culturally appropriate intervention for opioid addiction; (d) implementing a national monitoring system for mass psychogenic illness to identify why this phenomenon occurs in Vietnam at approximately 10 times the rate as in the U.S.; (e) development and evaluation of school-based mental health intervention infrastructure. As part of his work in Vietnam, he has been centrally involved in development of the first Ph.D. clinical psychology training program in Vietnam.
Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill