Dr. Galea, Associate Professor & ACCESS Lab Director

Jerome Galea, PhD, MSW, LCSW

Neuropsychiatric disorders account for more than 10% of the global disease burden. Yet, most persons requiring mental health care—an estimated 50% of persons in high-income countries and 85% in low- and middle-income countries—go without services.

A significant barrier to mental health service access is an extremely limited worldwide mental health workforce; in low-income settings, there is less than 1 psychiatrist per 100,000 persons.

My research and the primary objective of the ACCESS Lab is to expand access to mental health services by using implementation science to scale existing, evidence-based interventions, primarily for depression and anxiety, the most prevalent mental disorders. My specific focus is on “low-intensity” mental health interventions delivered by laypeople with no previous mental health training or experience and are consequently much less expensive than more traditional approaches requiring highly skilled personnel. Accordingly, all the research I conduct is community-engaged because it is solely concerned with improving access to existing mental health interventions for persons most in need.

Within this context, my Global Mental Health research at USF can be categorized into four main areas: 1. Projects focused on scaling access to mental health services by “mounting” low-intensity mental health interventions onto other, existing disease prevention and care platforms (e.g., for HIV and tuberculosis); 2. Projects directly integrating low-intensity mental health interventions into community-based, non-healthcare settings targeting under-served populations; 3. Projects that improve access to and the delivery of mental health interventions; and, 4. Projects that are not primarily mental-health focused, but for which I lead a mental health component for a grant with a different disease focus (e.g., tobacco cessation, isolation mitigation for elders with HIV).

Prior to USF, I resided in Lima, Peru, for 16 years. As such, many of my grants and projects continue to be developed and implemented with collaborators at the Peru branch at the international nonprofit organization Partners In Health which works closely with Harvard Medical School, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine where I hold an appointment as Lecturer. I also am an active member and collaborator in several international societies and organizations, including: The National Association of Social Workers; The Society for Social Work Research; The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease for which I am Co-Chair of the TB and Mental Health working group; The International AIDS Society; and select mental health working groups within the World Health Organization. Other scholarly activities include Editorial Advisory Board member for the Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health and Academic Editor for PLOS ONE.