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Global MINDS Fellowship Program: Overview

Celebrating the next generation of global changemakers for mental health system innovation!

Our Approach

The Global MINDS Fellowship Program (GMFP) is a year-long opportunity for highly qualified applicants from low- and middle-income countries and Canada with diverse academic backgrounds and skills to collaborate in international transdisciplinary teams to create innovative and impactful solutions for the wicked problem of reducing the global burden of mental disorders and related issues (e.g., suicide).

The first and third GMFP (2017 and 2019) will be held in Kenya, with its cohort of Fellows focused on developing solutions for the East African context. The second GMFP (2018) will be held in London, Canada, and will be focused on incubating innovative solutions for marginalized populations and under-served communities (e.g. Indigenous Peoples) in Canada.

The GMFP approach is carried out through three stages:

1. Pre-Summer Institute Orientation

The Pre-Summer Institute Orientation prepares Fellows for the journey that they will soon embark on and welcomes them to the Global MINDS family. Through team-building activities, storytelling and an exploration of skills and competencies, students are introduced to the Guiding Principles of Global MINDS, to Faculty Mentors and to each other, while beginning to conceptualize and reflect on their unique and individual strengths and that make up the larger GMFP community.

2. Summer Institute

Over a two-week period, the Fellows collectively comprise of four high-performing teams. These teams are tasked to develop a “disruptive solution” for a complex mental health system challenge proposed by one of our Community Partners, totalling four complex challenges. Each team will receive coaching from two Faculty Mentors (one Kenyan and one Canadian), and will work alongside Community Partners and local stakeholders to address these challenges through a social innovation approach. Teams engage in an intensive curriculum of sense-making exercises (system mapping, stakeholder analysis), develop iterative complex challenge questions and briefs, determine personal and team impact statements, and design implementation, evaluation and sustainability strategies. Professional capacity building opportunities are integrated into the curriculum, including daily mindfulness and reflection sessions, cultural exchanges, larger group and team-building activities, and focused, interactive learning on topics such as public speaking and leadership development. The Summer Institute ends with a “Disruptive Solutions Final Pitch Event”, where teams pitch their final solution to received seed funding of up to $5000 CAD. Audience members include: judges, Community Partner representatives, Canadian and African faculty and staff, and the local country’s officials and community members.

3. Post-Summer Institute Activities

Following the Summer Institute, the solutions are rapidly tested, evaluated and disseminated over a period of up to 1 year by the teams with direct oversight from Western University and local faculty and in partnership with local stakeholders (e.g. government, NGOs). Virtual and on-site faculty support from the Faculty Mentors will be provided on an ongoing basis. Other faculty members from Global MINDS will be brought in as process or content experts as needed on projects. Throughout the year, Fellows also participate in Knowledge Exchange Activities (webinars, report submissions) and Professional Capacity Development Activities (reflection and teambuilding/leadership activities). Fellows also share their journey on the GMFP SnapShot Blog.

The inaugural year of the GMFP is currently underway, with the first Summer Institute having taken place in Machakos Town, Machakos County, Kenya (May 21 – June 3, 2017). Learn more about the 2017 Global MINDS Fellowship Program.

Our Fellows

Our Fellows are equally selected from Africa and Canada. As students, they excel academically, and demonstrate interest in mental health and positive social change. They are motivated by a genuine sense of compassion for others and a drive for using innovative approaches to tackling complex challenges.

Get to know our 2017 Fellows.

Learn more about our 2017 Fellows’ Summer Institute experience.

Our Faculty Mentors

Fellows are supported by faculty and researchers from Western University and the Africa Mental Health Foundation. Together, their expertise spans an array of diverse fields of knowledge (including mental health, social innovation, information and media studies, education, business, and population health), demonstrating our approach for transdisciplinary collaboration in tackling dynamic and emergent complex challenges.