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Center of Expertise

Global and Community Health

The Center of Expertise exposes trainees to the broad range of research opportunities in Global and Community Health for the care of vulnerable and underserved populations. Through lectures, travel grants, and mentorship, trainees will have the chance to explore the breadth of global and community health career pathways in varied resource-poor settings. 


The Center brings together preeminent faculty from across Mass General Brigham Hospitals to familiarize trainees with the challenges of global and community health and to offer mentorship, career development help, and advice. Lisa Cosimi, MD, and Alex Tsai, MD, PhD, serve as faculty chairs. 

Lisa Cosimi, MD

Associate Physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Divisions of Global Health Equity and Infectious Diseases

Mentor areas: Quality improvement, program evaluation, implementation research, medical education

Willing to shadow: No

Lisa Cosimi, MD, earned a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University in 1992 and M.D. from the Weill Cornell Medical College in 1996. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine and Primary Care at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Infectious Disease training at the Mass General Brigham combined fellowship program, before joining Brigham and Women's Hospital as faculty in Infectious Diseases. She subsequently moved to Vietnam; she was based there from 2003-2007. While there, she trained and mentored HIV health care workers and was recruited by the U.S. CDC Global AIDS Program (GAP) Vietnam to lead the development of their HIV clinical programs and operational research efforts under the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). During this time, she became increasingly interested in the role that health system gaps play in the quality of care.

Dr. Cosimi’s current areas of research include developing and evaluating ways to strengthen medical education and health systems to improve healthcare quality in resource-limited settings. Her group, The Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam (HAIVN), brings together faculty, residents, and medical students throughout the Harvard Medical School community to partner with Vietnam’s Ministry of Health, Medical Universities and hospitals to reform and modernize health care worker education, and improve health system gaps and quality of health care throughout the country.

Alex Tsai, MD, PhD 

Associate Director of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Mentor areas: Global health research (clinical, health services, population health, qualitative)

Willing to shadow: Yes and no. His clinical work isn't really appropriate for shadowing. However, he does facilitate "shadowing" for trainees interested in conducting research at our study site in Mbarara, Uganda 

Alexander Tsai, MD, PhD, is a board-certified psychiatrist at Mass General, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

His research focuses on understanding how large-scale social pathogens such as stigma, discrimination, and structural violence affect the distribution of mental health outcomes, with the aim of improving health equity worldwide. A secondary focus of his research has been to discern how social policy can be used to address social determinants and shift the distribution of mental health outcomes so as to protect the most vulnerable. The findings from his research studies have been cited in U.S. Congressional legislation, briefs of amicus curiae filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, and policy statements by major medical and public health organizations.

Among his interdisciplinary editorial responsibilities, he serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, Social Science and Medicine - Mental Health (where he is founding co-editor in chief), and the British Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Tsai is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American College of Psychiatrists.

Prior to joining the faculty at Mass General, he completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in population health science through the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program at Harvard University, and his residency training in general adult psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco.

Research Grant

Each year, the Center of Expertise in Global and Community Health accepts proposals for research projects and provides up to five $3,000 stipends for awarded projects. The COE grants are intended to support the scholarship and continued academic growth of medical residents and fellows seeking career pathways in resource-poor settings both nationally and internationally. The grant promotes engagement of Mass General Brigham residents and fellows in meaningful global and community health activities, including clinical, education, and field research programs. The grant is meant to support a meaningful, well-structured educational experience nationally and internationally.

Learn more about the research grants, how to access the RFP, and see previously funded projects in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America on our GME SharePoint site (login required).

For additional information or to set up a planning discussion with faculty, email the Centers of Expertise.