Dr. Pamela Collins

UW Global Mental Health Program

For Dr. Pamela Collins, the mind and its workings have always been the most compelling area of medicine. She went off to med school knowing she’d be a psychiatrist with a strong interest in cross-cultural issues.

She also had a strong global health interest. At the time, she didn’t necessarily know how those two would come together in a career.

Then, as a medical student, Collins went to Haiti on an AIDS-related project. It opened her eyes to the world of global health, which in the late ‘80s was focused almost exclusively on infectious disease.

“I had this challenge: I’m really interested in global mental health, but it didn’t exist as it does today,” Collins said. “But I wanted to figure out how to do it.”

It’s safe to say she did. Collins helped put mental health on the global agenda as an office director at the National Institute of Mental Health. After eight years at NIH, she arrived here in January to lead the UW Global Mental Health Program.

Just ahead of World Mental Health Day, Collins sat down to discuss her vision for the program and her passion for global mental health.

Read more here about her conversation with the UW Medicine Huddle.