Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Arts and Humanities

Supervisor name and surname:

Francisco Javier Ortega Guerrero

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Anthropology and Communication

Title of the research project:

The role of culture in Global Mental Health initiatives and public mental health in Latin America

Description of the research project:

Across the world psychiatry has increasingly become the preferred expert system for dealing with experiences of suffering and distress. The rise of the field of global mental health (GMH) contributed to this globalization. The emergence of GMH generated strong tensions around the status of local diagnosis and treatment practices, thus, reviving an old debate in psychiatry about the universality or cultural specificity of mental disorders and their treatment. The prohect examines how global biopsychiatry and local psychiatric epistemologies interact. It articulates the local and the global levels and reveals controversies as complex phenomena, depending both on the historical and political context and on the relations between socially situated actors. Controversies incorporate and are incorporated into local contexts and are put to specific uses.
The general objective of the project is to examine the extent to which global mental health initiatives appropriately address mental health challenges in Latin America, with a focus on the role of culture in mental health. To that end, it explores the historical roots, and the political and epistemological aspects present in the discussion about cultural diversity and mental health, and investigates experiences in public mental health that incorporate the cultural dimension. The integration cultural diversity in mental health can help describe and interpret the complexity of the issues involved in mental health care in global times.
Current fieldwork is being conducted in Brazil. We are exploring the challenges of developing GMH interventions within the Brazilian Universal Health System (SUS) with special focus on the role of culture in GMH initiatives and in public mental health care policies and practices in Brazil. Cultural determinants are actively neglected in the mental health field by local practitioners and policy-makers in the country. Cultural differences do not constitute a relevant level of engagement with service users. We intend to produce recommendations for innovations in mental health care that are clinically effective, culturally and socially appropriate, and adapted to the urban environment of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The project intends to extent the examination of these issues to other countries in Latin America, such as Chile, Argentina and Peru.

Highly desirable attributes of the ideal candidate

* Hold a Master degree, or equivalent, in:Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology and/or related areas.
* Language skills: English proficiency
* Other skills: experience in research in mental health.
Ethics: This project doesn’t involve ethical aspects

Workplace Location: Campus Catalunya, Tarragona

Gross anual salary:

27103.20 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Earliest expected start date:

14 February 2022

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 945413