Javier I. Escobar, MD, MSc

Global Health

Email: jaescoba@fiu.edu


Global Mental Health


Dr. Escobar is Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University and Professor at the Robert Stempel School of Public Health, Florida International University, Miami, Florida.

 His academic career in the United States spans five decades with appointments at the Universities of Minnesota, Tennessee, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Connecticut, and Rutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where he held positions as Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, for 14 years and later on, he created and led the office of global health serving as Associate Dean for Global Health for the Rutgers-RWJMS medical school for 15 years. In 2022, he became Professor Emeritus at Rutgers and moved to Florida.

Dr Escobar has been an advisor to the director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and member of the NIMH Director’s Advisory Council. He was a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee on psychiatric drugs, and more recently, member of the task force of the American Psychiatric Association that developed the DSM-5, the current official diagnostic nomenclature in north America. He was also a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s advisory committee for the Clinical Scholars Program and several other national and international research and academic work groups. He continuously participates as research grant reviewer for NIH.

Dr. Escobar has been an active clinician, educator, and researcher, always based in academic institutions. For more than four decades, he has participated actively in psychiatric research leading several NIH-funded projects as principal investigator. He is currently a key member of two international research teams doing state-of-the art research on severe mental disorders (depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia), focusing on special populations of Colombia and Argentina as part of NIH-funded projects targeting the genetics of chronic, severe, mental disorders jointly with investigators at Universidad de Antioquia, in Colombia as well as UCLA, UCSF and the University of Pennsylvania in the United States.

Dr. Escobar has contributed to the mentoring and training of new investigators in the field of mental health and for almost two decades he was the principal investigator of a highly successful NIH-funded research mentoring program for Latino investigators. Currently, he continues to participate in two research mentoring grants funded by NIH, one based in the United States mentoring Hispanic investigators, the other in Argentina, training new investigators in several Andean nations of South America.


Dr. Escobar has been the editor of several books and has published more than 300 scientific articles, of which a few selected publications are highlighted below:

Escobar JI (editor) “Global Mental Health: Latin American and Spanish-Speaking Populations”, Rutgers University Press, January 2020.

Escobar, J.I., Burnam, M.A., Karno, M. Forsythe, Golding, J. (1987), "Somatization in the Community" Archives of General Psychiatry, 44:713‑ 719.

Escobar, J.I., Canino, G., Rubio-Stipec, M., Bravo, M (1992), “Somatic Symptoms after a Natural Disaster:  A Prospective View" American Journal of Psychiatry, 149: 965-967.

Escobar J.I., Waitzkin H., Gara M., Holman A., Cohen-Silver R. (1998), “Abridged Somatization: A Study in Primary Care”, Psychosomatic Medicine 60: 466-472.

Minsky S, Vega, WA, Miskimen T, Gara, M., Escobar J.I. (2003), “Diagnostic Patterns in Latino, African American and European American Psychiatric Patients”, Arch Gen Psychiatry 60:637-644.

Kessler RC, Abelson J, Demler O, Escobar JI, Gibbons M, Guyer M, Howes M, Jin R, Vega W, Walters E, Wang P, Zaslavsky A, “Clinical Calibration of DSM-IV Diagnoses in the World Mental Health Version of the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 13: 122-139, 2005.

Allen LA, Woofolk RL, Escobar JI, Gara M, Hamer RM, “Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Somatization Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial” Archives of Internal Medicine (2006) 166:1512-1518.

Escobar JI, Gara MA, Diaz-Martinez A, Interian A, Warman M, Allen LA, Woolfolk RL, Jahn E, Rodgers D (2007), “Effectiveness of a Time-Limited, Cognitive Behavior Therapy-type Intervention Among Primary Care Patients with Medically Unexplained Symptoms”, Annals of Family Medicine, 5: 328-335.

Escobar J.I and Gureje O, “Influence of Cultural and Social Factors on the Epidemiology of Idiopathic Somatic Complaints and Syndromes”, Psychosomatic Medicine, 2007; 69:841-845.

Interian A and Escobar JI, “The Use of a Mentoring-Based Conference as a Research Career Stimulation Strategy”, Academic Medicine 2009; 84: 1389-1394.

Dimsdale JE, Creed F, Escobar JI et al, “Somatic Symptom Disorder: an important change in DSM”, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 75(3): 223-228, 2013,

Fears SC, Schur R, Sjouwerman R, Service SK, Araya C, Araya X, Bejarano J, Knowles E, Gomez-Makhinson J, Lopez MC, Aldana I, Teshiba T, Abaryan Z, Al-Sharif NB, Navarro L, Tishler T, Altshuler L, Bartzokis G, Escobar JI, et al, “Brain structure–function associations in multi-generational families genetically enriched for bipolar disorder”, Brain, A Journal of Neurology,  2015: Pages 1-16, Brain Advance Access, published May 5, 2015 doi:10.1093/brain/awv106

Peck G, Sarma D, Nemoyer R, Schwander S, Wilard S, Terregino C, Escobar JI, et al, “Successful Global Surgery Program Implementation Contribute to Achieving Organizational Strategic Plans in Global Health”, Journal of the American College of Surgeons 225 (4) e26, October 2017, DOI: 10.106/j.jamcollsurg.2017.07.590.

Freedman R, Brown S, Cannon TD, Druss B, Earls F, Escobar JI, et al, “Can a Framework Be Established for the Safe Use of Ketamine?”, American Journal of Psychiatry, published online, April 16, 2018.

Service SK, Vargas C, Castano Ramírez M, Port A, Moore TM, Munoz Umanes1 M, Agudelo Arango LG, Díaz-Zuluaga AM, Melo Espejo J,  López MC, Palacio JD, Sánchez Ruiz S, Valencia J, Teshiba TM, Espinoza A, 1 BA, Loohuis LO, De la Hoz Gomez J, Brodey Sabatti C, Escobar JI, Reus VE, Lopez Jaramillo C, Gur R, Bearden CR, Freimer, “Distinct and shared contributions of diagnosis and symptom domains to cognitive performance in a case-control study of severe mental illness in the Paisa population”, Lancet-Psychiatry, Volume 7, Issue 5, May 2020, Pages 411-419.

Escobar JI, Lopez Jaramillo C, Vega WA, Isolating Socioenvironmental Correlates of Race/Ethnicity: A Promising Strategy to Understand and Address Health Disparities, American Journal of Psychiatry, Published Online: 1 July 2023,  https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.20230341

Song J, Castano-Ramirez M, Okano J, Service S, de la Hoz J, Díaz-Zuluaga A, Vargas C, Gallego C, Arias A, Valderrama-Sánchez A, Teshiba T, Sabatti C, Gur R, Bearden C, Escobar JI et al, “Geospatial investigations in Colombia reveal variations in the distribution of mood and psychotic disorders”, Communications Medicine, February 24, 2024, volume 4, article number 26, (2024).