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Coping with the Pandemic Using Digital and Community Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the public’s mental health and well-being in a variety of ways, including grief and illness, isolation and loneliness, and job loss and financial instability. Columbia World Projects and collaborating organizations will host a discussion on strategies and tools to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, featuring panels that will present the work of two multidisciplinary teams from recent Columbia World Projects: Digital Mental Health Care for COVID-19 High-Risk Populations and Confronting COVID-19 Loss in Harlem. Speakers will share research findings, approaches, digital tools and methods to support communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and discuss strategies for ensuring effective interventions reach those most in need.


Opening and Welcome: Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, Executive Vice President for Columbia Global

Introductory Remarks: Dr. Ann Marie Sullivan, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health

Moderator: Mitch Stripling, Director of the Pandemic Response Institute

Panel 1: Confronting COVID-19 Loss in Harlem

Panelists: Dr. Henry Willis, Dr. Kathy Shear, Nicole Alston, Dr. Desmond Patton, Dr. Sandra Baker and Dr. Jonnie Green

COVID-19 fatalities in New York City were more than double for Black compared to White residents, compounding the existing burden of grief in the Black community. This project established a partnership with MPAC, a Harlem-based Non-Profit Civil Rights and Faith-Based organization. The project team from the Center for Prolonged Grief and SAFElab aimed to conduct focus groups to learn about grief in the Black community and to refashion a digital GriefCare tool to optimize its usefulness and make it available to bereaved individuals and their community-based supports.

Panel 2: Digital Mental Health Care for COVID-19 High-Risk Populations

Panelists: Drs. Doron Amsalem, Lisa Dixon, Yuval Neria, Roberto Lewis-Fernández, and Melanie Wall

The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed mental health services and systems, causing delays in service for people in need and disrupting treatment access. This multidisciplinary project aimed to address these challenges by creating, testing, and delivering new digital mental health care tools, and designing strategies that support increased access to treatment.


This Columbia World Projects event is in partnership with Center for Practice Innovations; Center for Prolonged Grief, Columbia University School of Social Work; Foundation for Mental Health; Mobilizing Preachers and Community, New York; New York State Office of Mental Health; New York State Psychiatric Institute; NYC Pandemic Response Institute; and SAFELab, Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania.

Event Contact Information:
Yamir Gomez Carrasco


May 02 2023


8:30 am - 12:00 pm


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Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)



The Forum at Columbia University
601 W. 125th St., New York, NY 10027


Columbia University
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