Sarah Meyer


  • Program Year
  • 2006-07
  • Country of Current Residence
  • U.S.A.
  • City/Town of Current Residence
  • Baltimore
  • Current Position
  • Assistant Professor, Associate Director
  • Organization
  • AfriChild Centre, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
  • Profession(s)
  • Public Health Consultant, Professor

  • Sector(s)
  • Education, Forced migration, Human rights
  • Language(s)
  • English, Hebrew
  • Interest(s) / Expertise
  • children's rights, human rights, mental health, refugees
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Whether teaching Afghani refugees English or visiting asylum-seekers in detention centers in Australia, Sarah’s work has focused on the rights of refugees and issues affecting displaced persons, drawing on inspiration from her grandparents’ experiences as refugees from Germany and Poland. As one of her referees wrote, Sarah has a “strong desire and a true capacity to draw together the concentration of academic research with the needfulness of pragmatic community development”.

In January 2015, she moved to Kampala, Uganda, to begin her role as Assistant Professor, Program on Forced Migration and Health, Columbia University and Associate Director, AfriChild Centre, a research centre focused on research and policy to improve children’s well-being, in Kampala, Uganda. In this capacity, she is working on a national study of violence against children in Uganda and supporting the establishment of a mentorship and training scheme for young East African researchers.

After the Sauvé Program, she interned at the Brookings Institution’s Internal Displacement Project in Washington D.C. and worked as an Education Officer at American Jewish World Service  a grant-making and service NGO working in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In the course of her PhD studies, she focused on mental health and human rights, as well as completing her thesis on Migration and Mental Health on the Thai-Burma border.

During her PhD, she worked on a number of international research projects, including leading qualitative research for a study with the International Rescue Committee, of children’s well-being in refugee settings in Thailand, and managing qualitative and quantitative data collection on trafficking from Burma to Thailand for a US State Department funded research project

As an Assistant Professor in the Program on Forced Migration and Health, Columbia University, she is  a Co-Investigator for a study of child protection in refugee camps in Rwanda and Uganda in partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. In her ongoing work as a public health consultant, focused on mental health and psychosocial issues in humanitarian settings, she conducted a global review of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ mental health and psychosocial support for refugees, and completed a review of the Interagency Standing Committee Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies.

Sarah received a BA(Hons) in Politics from Monash University, and as a Rhodes Scholar, she received an MPhil in Development Studies from Oxford University, where she won the Gilbert Murray Trust 2005 International Studies Committee Junior Award for her research into the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva.  In 2014, she completed a PhD in International Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She has published in peer-reviewed journals on mental health and labor migration in Cambodia, Burmese refugee children’s well-being in Thailand, and utilization of health services in refugee camps globally. She has presented research at academic conferences in Kolkata, Salzburg, Lisbon and Oxford.

As a Fellow

Sarah focused on refugees, conflict and humanitarian aid. She worked at the Montreal Institute for Genocide Studies, presented research at Concordia University, the University of Montreal and York University in Toronto, and represented the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ NGO Consultations in Geneva. She travelled around Australia to research off-shore processing of refugees, and co-authored the advocacy report on Australian refugee policy, ‘A Price Too High: The cost of Australia’s approach to Asylum Seekers’ for Oxfam and A Just Australia.