Christina Cruz


Assistant Professor


UNC Hospitals – Chapel Hill

Education and Training:

B.S., Economics, University of Pennsylvania
M.D., Harvard University
M.Ed., Prevention Science and Practice, Harvard University
Residency, Psychiatry, UNC-Chapel Hill
Fellowship, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, UNC-Chapel Hill

Summary Statement:

Dr. Cruz is interested in improving the mental health of children and adolescents globally in resource-limited settings by meeting them where they are – every day in their schools. Over the last six years while in training, her independent research program has focused on the creation and piloting of a task-shifting model of mental health care for children in Darjeeling, in the Indian Eastern Himalayas, an environment reflective of poorly resourced environments worldwide. In this model, the task of children’s mental health care shifts to classroom teachers. An ongoing, externally funded feasibility trial has demonstrated promising results. She is currently planning for the next step for the intervention, to conduct a waitlist-control RCT and evaluate its ability to improve the mental health of children with mental health struggles. Dr. Cruz is also discussing partnerships with Indian philanthropic groups to scale the intervention, including potentially to the schools of a city of 5 million in central India.

Dr. Cruz has begun to partner with the Johnston County Public Schools, with external grant applications in review, as she is interested in translating the success of the Darjeeling task-shifting intervention to local North Carolina contexts. She has worked in various capacities in domestic school-based mental health programs. With the Duke Integrated Pediatric Mental Health Initiative with the Durham Public Schools, she helped to evaluate the training provided to all school support staff. With the American Psychiatric Association Foundation, she is an expert member of their advisory committee to completely revise their national program, “Typical or Troubled?”

Christina Cruz