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Miraj U. Desai, PhD


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Miraj U. Desai, PhD


Miraj U. Desai, PhD is an Instructor at the Program for Recovery and Community Health of the Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. At Yale, he is also a Resident Fellow of Pierson College, Affiliated Faculty in the Center on Climate Change and Health (Yale School of Public Health), and a Member of the South Asian Studies Council. His research currently focuses on cultural, community, anti-racist, and social justice perspectives on mental health.

His book, Travel and Movement in Clinical Psychology: The World Outside the Clinic (with Foreword by Jeffrey Sachs) examines the relationship between mental health and structural problems (e.g., racism, poverty, and climate change). Desai received the prestigious Yale Center for Clinical Investigation Scholar Award (NIH KL2) to conduct participatory research on depression, culture, and racism in partnership with local African American faith communities. He was previously awarded a NIMH Supplement for Minority Health and Mental Health Disparities Research for a study on culture, institutional bias, and mental health care vis-à-vis Latinx and Asian populations. Desai is a recipient of the Melba J.T. Vasquez Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions (American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program); the Distinguished Early Career Contributions in Qualitative Inquiry Award (APA Division of Quantitative and Qualitative Methods); and the Sidney Jourard Award (APA Society for Humanistic Psychology). He is also a Minority Fellow of the APA and a Charter Member of APA Div 32’s Task Force for Indigenous Psychology.

Desai completed his predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships at Yale (CMHC/VA). He is a graduate of Fordham University (MA, PhD), where he completed his doctoral thesis on parental care and social action for autism spectrum disorders in India in collaboration with Sangath, a Goa-based NGO and leader in global mental health. He also received clinical training at Columbia University and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. At Miami University (BA, summa cum laude with Honors), he was a Benjamin Harrison Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, and studied at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. Desai is an avid practitioner of Zen and is proficient in Gujarati, French, and Hindi.

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Yale School of Medicine/West Haven VA (2014)
  • Predoctoral Fellowship
    Yale School of Medicine (2012)
  • PhD
    Fordham University (2012)
  • MA
    Fordham University (2008)
  • BA
    Miami University (2005)

Departments & Organizations