Janice Cooper, PhD, is currently the Country Representative for Health and Project Lead for the Carter Center Liberia Mental Health Program, where she oversees the Mental Health Services Implementation Program, works with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, organizes curriculum development, and manages evaluation efforts. She holds a Masters degree and a PhD from Harvard University, and a graduate and an undergraduate degree (Hons.) from Columbia University and Essex University respectively.
A native Liberian and health services researcher, Dr. Cooper is component lead for training and co-investigator on a Grand Challenges Canada grant under the auspices of Makerere University School of Public Health entitled, Mental Health beyond Facilities, a multi-country initiative. Dr. Cooper led the National Center for Children in Poverty, as its interim director and was lead author and principal investigator (PI) on a number of publications and studies. She was also Clinical Assistant Professor in Child Health, Policy and Management for the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Since joining the Carter Center in 2010, she has been the PI on studies ranging from assessing the accessibility of mental health drugs, to stigma, and a comparative study of mental health within community rehabilitation models. She is a founding member of Liberia Centers for Outcomes Research in Mental Health, LiCORMH, the nation’s first center designed to foster empirical research-informed practices and policies.
Dr. Cooper received the Calderone Research Prize for Junior Faculty at Columbia University and a certificate of distinction in teaching from Harvard University. She held numerous advisory board positions for professional organizations in the US and is widely published in child mental health research. In Liberia she is a member of the Technical Coordinating Committee for Mental Health and a core member of the Disability Alliance. In 2013 she was awarded a Goodwill Ambassador for the Disability Community on behalf of The Carter Center. An accomplished public speaker, Dr. Cooper’s presentations in the US were numerous. Internationally, she has presented in such diverse settings as the World CBR Congress in Agra, India and the Multi-country Project in Bologna, Italy. She is an adjunct associate professor at the University of Liberia and an adjunct assistant professor in Health Policy and Management at Emory University. In March 2012, Dr. Cooper provided the keynote presentation to the Mental Health Coalition of Sierra Leone in Freetown, Sierra Leone. In 2013, the Government of Sierra Leone invited the Carter Center to explore creating a program to develop service capacity in Liberia under Dr. Cooper’s leadership. She has authored or co-authored over 30 publications. Unclaimed Children Revisited, is her most read and cited publication. Among her recent publications include: Cooper, J. and Presley, R. (In Press). Children’s Mental Health Services and the Use of Allied Professionals: Liberia Case Study in S. Opaku (Ed.) Essentials of Global Mental Health. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press and, Patel, V., Belkin, G., Chockalingam, A., Cooper, J., Saxena, S., Unutzer, J. (2013). Integrating Mental Health Services into Priority Health Care Programs: Addressing a Grand Challenge in Global Mental Health. PLOS Medicine.