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Laura Shields-Zeeman

2018–19 Dutch Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice; Head of Mental Health and Prevention, Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction

Laura Shields-Zeeman

Placement: University of California, San Francisco

Mentor: Laura Gottlieb, M.D., M.P.H. (Director, Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network and Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco)

Project: Addressing the Non-Medical Needs of People with Mental and Behavioral Health Issues in the U.S. and the Netherlands

Laura Shields-Zeeman, Ph.D., M.Sc., is the 2018–19 Dutch Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice. Head of Mental Health and Prevention at the Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction, she leads and contributes to a number of mental health service development and research projects in Europe and South Asia aiming to bridge the gap between research, policy and practice. Shields-Zeeman is currently a co-Principal Investigator on a U.S National Institute of Mental Health funded U-19 hub on mental health implementation research in South Asia (SPIRIT: Suicide Prevention and Implementation Research Initiative), and co-Principal Investigator on the RECOVER-E project, funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme, focused on community mental health services development and evaluation in 5 Central and Eastern European countries. She has published on a range of public health topics including mental health and human rights, maternal health, and the development and implementation of community-based health and social care interventions in low-resource settings. Shields-Zeeman has received grants from the U.S National Institute of Mental Health, the European Commission, Swiss Development Cooperation and Grand Challenges Canada. She holds a Masters’ in Public Health (cum laude) and Ph.D. from VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Project Abstract: Social determinants of mental health comprise social economic structures that can widen health inequalities and disparities, including income, education, and employment. On the other hand, if addressed and strengthened, these same determinants can have a positive impact on mental health outcomes. While a substantive evidence base documents the relationship and impact of social determinants on mental health problems, comparatively limited evidence exists on what actions health systems can take to address the social and economic needs of people with mental health problems. In an effort to bridge this gap, this project will focus on identifying and enhancing upstream intervention strategies to address social and economic needs among people living with mental health problems. It will also identify ways that these social needs can be taken up within the current health delivery system, and how addressing social and economic needs will benefit health care practitioners and health systems more broadly. A mixed-methods research design using both primary and secondary data will be employed to generate program and policy recommendations for policymakers, clinicians and program implementers in the United States and the Netherlands.

Career Activity Since Fellowship

  • Senior Healthcare implementation Specialist, Trimbos Institute (Dutch Institute for Mental Health and Addiction)

Current Position: 

  • Head of Department, Public Mental Health and Prevention, Trimbos Institute (Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction)
  • Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Interventions and Services Across the Life Course

Harkness-Related Publications:

L. Shields-Zeeman, C. Lewis, L. Gottlieb. Social and Mental Health Care Integration - The Leading Edge. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019.

D. Hessler, V. Bowyer, R. Gold, L. Shields-Zeeman, E. Cottrell, L. Gottlieb. Bringing Social Context into Diabetes Care: Intervening on Social Risks versus Providing Contextualized Care. Current Diabetes Reports. 2019.

M. Pantell, L. Shields-Zeeman. Maintaining Social Connections in the Setting of COVID-19 Social Distancing: A Call to Action. American Journal of Public Health. 2020.