Bringing together the best in class psychological treatments

Digital learning to scale up effective, quality-assured psychological interventions.

What is EMPOWER?

EMPOWER will build health system capacity for the prevention and care of mental health problems, across the life course, globally. We will achieve our goal by deploying digital training, supervision and quality assurance tools to rapidly train and support frontline health workers to learn, master and deliver evidence-based psychosocial interventions, and to use the emerging data to evaluate the impact of the scaling up and generate new knowledge on the effective components of psychological interventions.

The Challenge

Over 1 billion people

worldwide are currently living with a mental health or substance abuse problem, and the pandemic is expected to greatly increase that number. The vast majority receive no care at all.

2030 $6 Trillion
2020 $2.5 Trillion

Mental disorders represent the largest cost driver in health care: $2.5 trillion in global costs, which is projected to reach $6 trillion by 2030.

Despite the abundance of evidence showing that psychosocial interventions can prevent and treat a wide range of mental health problems, there is virtually 0% coverage globally.

The current efforts to build the mental health workforce and address the escalating need rely on in-person training and expert supervision.

These old-fashioned methods are resource intensive and impossible to scale. We need a radically different approach to address this crisis, which emphasizes science, scalability, and equity.

The Opportunity

We’re positioned to have a massive impact on the delivery of mental health services globally because of several key enabling trends

Mental health is recognized as an urgent area of action in most countries & UN Sustainable Development Goals

Brief psychological treatments are effective

Non-specialist providers can deliver them with a high degree of fidelity

Peer-to-peer models for supervision are effective for quality assurance

Digital training is effective, and access to technology is increasing globally

The Solution

We’re positioned to have a massive impact on the delivery of mental health services globally because of several key enabling trends

Digital Learning

Digital training on how to deliver a range of psychosocial treatments

Provider competency assessment to ensure skills and knowledge to effectively deliver care

Digital Quality Assurance

Decision support to match patient assessments with treatment

Remote coaching can help to support learning and progress through digital training programs

Peer supervision is scalable and as effective as expert supervision

Quality assessments can be quantified through structured rating of recordings of therapy sessions

Digital System Integration

Patient-facing apps can supplement provider delivered interventions

Prediction models can be developed, using quality and outcome data, to refine interventions

Continuing quality assessments offer a pathway to career progression for front-line providers to become experts

Aggregate provider performance can be used to evaluate impact of scaling up

Research Assistant

Natali Carmio

Visiting Scientist, Harvard Medical School

Joshua Chauvin

Instructor in Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

John Naslund

The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health, Harvard Medical School

Vikram Patel

Kieon Samuel

CEO of the American Psychological Association

Arthur Evans

Chair of Advisory Board and Professor, University of Oxford

Chris Fairburn

Clinical, Edu & Hlth Psychology Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences

Peter Fonagy

Chairman, Surgo Foundation

Mala Gaonkar

Chief Executive Officer, Koa Health

Oliver Harrison

Co-founder, humanest

Thomas R. Insel

President, CEO, Linda Perryman Evans Presidential Chair, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

Andy Keller

Harvard School of Business

Tarun Khanna

Chief Strategy Officer, Well Being Trust

Ben Miller

NM Impact Ltd.

Natasha Muller

Professor of the Practice of Global Mental Health, Harvard Medical School

Shekhar Saxena

President and Founder, Give an Hour

Barbara Van Dahlen

Director of Mental Health, Wellcome Trust

Miranda Wolpert

Professor of Psychology, University of Oxford

David Clark

Professor of Clinical Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Pim Cuijpers

Director, Renée Crown Wellness Institute

Sona Dimidjian

Chair of Advisory Board and Professor, University of Oxford

Chris Fairburn

Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

Steven Hollon

Emeritus Professor of Mental Health Research University of Bath

Richard Velleman

Professor of Epidemiology and Psychiatry, Columbia University

Myrna Weissman

Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

John Weisz

Sangath, Developmental and behavioral specialist

Gauri Divan

Clinical, Edu & Hlth Psychology Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences

Peter Fonagy

LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning at Cambridge University

Paul Ramchandani

Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Anna Freud

Camilla Rosan

Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Oxford

Alan Stein

Professor of Psychology, Universiteit Stellenbosch

Mark Tomlinson

Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts Director, Child Development Unit, UMass Boston

Ed Tronick

Harvard Medical School, Associate Professor of Global Health

Aisha Yousafzai

Psychologist, Sangath

Urvita Bhatia

Professor of Global Psychiatry, George Washington University

Brandon Kohrt

Chief Strategy Officer, Dimagi

Neal Lesh

Associate Professor, London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Abhijit Nadkarni

Program Coordinator, Harvard Medical School

Juliana Restivo

Clinician Scientist, University of Toronto, Sinai Health System, Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute

Daisy R. Singla

Fogarty Fellow, Harvard School of Public Health

Anushka Patel