Miraj U. Desai, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the Program for Recovery and Community Health of the Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. At Yale, he is also a 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. He has been at Yale since 2011, completing his predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, prior to joining the faculty in 2015. His work focuses on the cultural, community, and social justice foundations of mental health.
Dr. Desai leads the Structural Health and Psychology (SHP, or “ship”) Lab. The SHP Lab investigates—through multiple methods and community engagement—the structural bases of health, equity, and inequity. This work also involves developing a novel basic and applied science—which his lab calls “structural psychology”—to aid in these efforts. Structural psychology spans the entire translational science spectrum, inclusive of basic, clinical, community, and population health research.
Dr. Desai’s scientific work on culture, community, race, and racism has been funded by a range of awards, including a K01 Award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities/NIH; a Pioneering Ideas Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; a KL2 Scholar Award from the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation/NIH (for research in partnership with local African American faith communities); and a NIMH Supplement for Minority Health and Mental Health Disparities Research (for research featuring Asian and Latinx communities). Dr. Desai’s book, Travel and Movement in Clinical Psychology: The World Outside the Clinic (Palgrave), with Foreword by Jeffrey Sachs, examines the relationship between mental health and various forms of structural oppression.
Dr. 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 a Minority Fellow of the APA and was named a 40 Under 40 Leader in Health by the National Minority Quality Forum. Dr. Desai is an avid practitioner of Zen and is proficient in Gujarati, French, and Hindi.