My research work and projects have the following long-term goals: (a) to form the basis of a nationwide and internationally comparative information tracking system of the prevalence and distribution of mental disorders and service utilization; (b) to transition from descriptive epidemiology to analytical epidemiology of mental disorders; (c) to bridge the gap of empirical data essential for the development, implementation, and evaluation of mental health legislation, policy, and regulation; (d) to improve availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of mental health services; and (e) to reduce stigma as a significant barrier to seeking mental health treatment.


prevalence of mental health problems among filipino university studentS: A Multi-site, mixed-method research

The mental health of university students requires special attention. They are navigating through a transitional period between childhood and adulthood. University campuses are thus well positioned to promote and protect their mental wellbeing. This research will advance local knowledge of mental health, specific to our context. This project is the foundation of Diwa Mental Health: to estimate the point prevalence, risk factors and correlates of mental health related problems—specifically depression, anxiety, alcohol use problems, somatization and suicidality—among randomly selected 2,300 university students aged 18 to 35; and to determine mental health service utilization and accessibility in this group. (UP Balik-PhD Recruitment Program)

developing strategies to promote engagement in hiv care among high-risk populations in the philippines

Sexually transmitted infections, particularly HIV and AIDS, are a grave concern in the country. Yet many more need to take advantage of the available and free treatment. I want to gain a deeper understanding for the delayed entry into the care continuum and for the dropout when care has started. This research will conduct a survey of approximately 100 HIV-positive young MSM and transwomen to assess use of and multi-level barriers to HIV care, experiences with healthcare providers, use of medications, HIV status disclosure to partners, co-occurring health issues, and clinical HIV markers. It will also conduct about 30 in-depth interviews to explore experiences of navigating the health care system and strategies for improving engagement in HIV care programs. (Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research)

school-based mental health first aid manual for teachers

Teachers and other school personnel are well positioned to protect and promote the mental wellbeing of students. This project develops a user-friendly manual integrating Sikolohiyang Pilipino and community-based mental health. The project is funded by the Unilab Foundation.

gender, sexual orientation and depressive symptoms

Mental health problems can be linked to problematic measurements, including perceptions or attitudes towards gender and sexual orientation. This project takes a look at how these artifactual determinants might be linked to depressive symptoms. It is funded by the Philippine National Institutes of Health.

philippine mental health act: implementation challenges ahead

Implementation of policies and programs is a perennial challenge for the Philippines. The country is known to pass a number of laws that have limited impact due to inefficient and ineffective implementation. There is strong evidence to suggest that the newly signed mental health legislation will face similar challenges.