The Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT) convened Project 1 Billion, an international congress of Ministers of Health for mental health and post-conflict recovery on December 3-4, 2004 in Rome, Italy. This historical meeting was first piloted in Sarajevo BIH two years earlier with seven Ministers of Health from Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cambodia, Indonesia, Peru, Rwanda and Uganda to draft the Global Mental Health Action Plan (GMHAP) in order to determine the feasibility of Project 1 Billion, as well as outline the vision and mission statement which included generating and disseminating the textbook entitled “Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery—A Companion Guide for Field and Clinical Care of Traumatized People Worldwide”. The World Health Organization (WHO) mental health representatives were invited to participate in both the Sarajevo and Rome meetings which had a direct impact on the 2013 WHO Mental Health Action Plan (MHAP) one decade later. HPRT views the 2004 GMHAP as a framework for effective interventions especially in manmade and natural disasters that require a multi-disciplinary response from the complex emergency phase to the recovery stage of healing the impacted society.
HPRT is approaching its tenth year of training professionals in Orvieto, Italy through the Department of Continuing Education at the Harvard Medical School. HPRT is honored that WHO has responded positively over the past decade and has promoted a MHAP which in partnership with HPRT’s GMHAP creates the excellent opportunity for policy change and culturally effective mental health projects worldwide.