Americans in Switzerland: Meet Fulbright Specialist Adam Brown

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Clinical psychologist Adam Brown was selected as a Fulbright Specialist to work with the Emergency Department at the University Hospital in Bern. We caught up with him to learn more about his experience here and with the program.

Adam is an Associate Professor and the Sara Yates Exley Chair in Teaching Excellence in the Department of Psychology at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, as well as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. Specializing in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), his research focuses on surveying mental health and assessing neuropsychological outcomes associated with stress and trauma in a diverse range of populations, including police officers, burn victims, disaster relief and human rights workers, and combat veterans.

Adam came to Bern as a Fulbright Specialist after the Inselspital contacted U.S. Embassy Bern to request a researcher with expertise in psychiatric disorders, data acquisition and interpretation. He is working to survey the refugee and migrant population in Switzerland for unrecognized psychiatric disorders. Switzerland is home to the fourth most refugees per capita in Europe (around 8.5 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2015); due to the trauma of fleeing one’s country, refugees and migrants are particularly vulnerable to psychiatric disorders.  When undetected, these psychiatric disorders can impair quality of life, hinder integration, and increase health care costs.

From Adam:

Fulbright Specialist Adam Brown

“Switzerland has a strong research track record in mental health and emergency medicine and is an ideal country to partner with on issues of refugee mental health. I think all countries would benefit from sharing information on the kinds of mental health issues refugees present with in the emergency room, the development of best practices in hospitals, and partnerships to create strategies for early detection and treatment.

“My hope is that this Fulbright will help to facilitate long term partnerships between the U.S. and Switzerland to examine these issues. Through educational exchanges and scientific partnerships I think we can leverage our collective knowledge base to deliver the most effective mental health care for this community.

“I have been incredibly impressed with how open and motivated people are to collaborate and build programs of research. My colleagues here have also been so generous with their time and have done so much to help me get set up when I arrived.”

The Fulbright Specialist Program, part of the larger Fulbright Program, was established in 2001 by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The program pairs highly qualified U.S. academics and professionals with host institutions abroad to share their expertise, strengthen institutional linkages, hone their skills, gain international experience, and learn about other cultures while building capacity at their overseas host institutions. For more info, click here.

 This blog post is part of a series of profiles on Americans in Switzerland, in which U.S. Embassy Bern portrays the lives, travel, and work of Americans met in Switzerland. Stay tuned on social media via #AmericansInCH.