Patel is among seven laureates who will each receive a $100,000 cash honorarium. The recipients will be formally honored Oct. 24 at the annual Canada Gairdner Awards gala in Toronto.

Patel has been instrumental in establishing the field of global mental health. He has dedicated his research to raising the global profile of mental health through epidemiological research that has demonstrated the burden of mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries as well as their impact on poverty, child growth and development, and risk for HIV infection, among other conditions. Patel’s work has demonstrated that mental health problems are universal forms of human suffering that fuel a vicious cycle with deprivation. The central theme of Patel’s work has been democratizing access to mental health care and making it a right for everyone, everywhere. Patel championed the concept of mental health care delivery by nonspecialists and lay health workers as a way to expand access to mental health services in underserved areas. His book “Where There Is No Psychiatrist: A Mental Health Care Manual” has become the definitive text for community health workers in developing countries. Patel’s research became the foundation for the design, delivery, and evaluation of psychosocial interventions provided by lay and community health workers, including the primary care treatment of depression, anxiety, and alcohol-use disorders, the community-based care of people with schizophrenia and autism, and the prevention and treatment of adolescent mental health problems through school-based interventions.

Much of Patel’s work has been done in partnership with Sangath, an Indian nongovernmental organization that he co-founded in 1996. Sangath, one of India’s leading community-based research organizations, received a 2008 MacArthur Foundation International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions and a 2016 World Health Organization Public Health Champion of India prize. Patel co-founded the Centre for Global Mental Health and the Mental Health Innovation Network at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Movement for Global Mental Health, the largest global network of individuals and organizations advocating for promoting services and human rights for people with mental health problems. In 2018, he co-founded the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard Initiative, which is developing a suite of innovative, interdisciplinary programs aimed at implementing and generating knowledge to transform mental health globally.