Lydia Chwastiak appointed to endowed professorship to support care of underserved populations

Department news | October 31, 2023

Lydia Chwastiak, MD, MPH, has been named the inaugural holder of the Many Minds Collaborative Endowed Professorship in Behavioral Health to support her work with underserved populations. A generous donor established this endowed professorship to support faculty in our department.

Dr. Chwastiak’s research and clinical work over the past two decades has focused on improving care and outcomes for people with complex needs in low resource settings, such as low-barrier primary care clinics and community mental health centers in the US, and primary and secondary medical settings in low- and middle-income countries. Dr. Chwastiak is a professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral sciences, adjunct professor in the department of Global Health, co-director of the new WHO Collaborating Center at UW, and co-director of the Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (NW MHTTC). Since 2020, she has also directed the Integrated Care (research) core of the UW Behavioral Research in HIV (BIRCH) Center, an NIMH-funded developmental AIDS Research Center. Her current projects include the development of a peer-led mobile outreach team to engage people who are not consistently accessing low-barrier care, and a pilot study to provide walk-in counseling at walk-in primary care clinics based in Aurora Commons, a drop-in center in North Seattle that serves people experiencing homelessness.

Dr. Chwastiak is passionate about collaborations across disciplines and sectors to improve care for hard-to-reach populations. She is eager to apply lessons learned in her global mental health research to similar challenges at home (and vice versa) and believes that a “global-to-local” approach is an efficient and compelling strategy to address mental healthcare disparities. We look forward to her leadership in this important role.