The primary objective of the Culture, Brain, Development, and Mental Health program (CBDMH), which is co-directed by psychological anthropologist Doug Hollan of UCLA and cultural psychologist Steve López of USC, is to establish a strong research and research training program in cultural psychiatry, with an emphasis on integrating neuroscience and social science perspectives. The initiative is organized around ongoing, sustainable field sites in India, Nepal, Mexico, Singapore, and Los Angeles.

CBDMH, which was founded in 2010, is one of the programs supported by the Foundation for Psychocultural Research, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation based in Los Angeles. The FPR was founded in 1999 by Robert B. Lemelson, a documentary filmmaker and psychological anthropologist on the UCLA faculty. The FPR’s scientific advisory board includes internationally recognized leaders in the fields of anthropology, psychology, psychiatry, neurobiology, epidemiology, and public health on the faculty at UCLA and USC.

The mission of the FPR is to support and advance interdisciplinary and integrative research and training on interactions of culture, neuroscience, psychiatry, and psychology, with an emphasis on cultural processes as central. Our primary objective is to help articulate and support the creation of transformative paradigms that address issues of fundamental clinical and social concern.

A key objective of the foundation is to create, nurture, and sustain connections among anthropologists, research and clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, and neuroscientists who are interested in issues of fundamental social and clinical concern and train the next generation of scientists. This is implemented through research and research training programs like CBDMH, as well as a series of workshops, conferences, and publications that allow participants to think across disciplinary boundaries. Areas of topical focus since 1999 have ranged from the impact of psychologically traumatic experiences and other forms of human suffering, the wide diversity in the experience, expression, and regulation of emotion across cultures, the formative effects of early life experiences, and most recently global mental health and illness, particularly the significance of culture and context in psychosis and autism. The FPR is also a key supporter of the Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) programs at UCLA and Hampshire College.

Over the next decade the FPR is in a unique position to make central contributions to our understanding of the interactions between culture, biology, development, and mental health and illness, as well as to the ongoing debate regarding the conceptual integration of rapidly emerging neuroscientific knowledge (from relatively simplified lab scenarios) in our efforts to identify, treat, and prevent psychiatric disorders in social and cultural context.