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Center for Health, Culture and Society (CHCS)
Africa Discussion Group  
Center for Health, Culture, & Society Sam O. Okpaku MD, PhD Dear Colleagues, This is an update that includes highlights from the May 2014 APA meeting in New York City. I) APA Meeting: Book donations and HINARI: The APA plan for donating books to institutions and members from developing countries has been put on hold pending its reevaluation. Meanwhile, Mr. Ricardo Juarez, the associate director at the APA provided information on HINARI. This is an arrangement the APA and other major organizations has with WHO, that makes available to individuals from developing countries, access to free electronic publications, such as journals and books at a reduced rate through their institutions or hospitals. This is potentially a very valuable service as programs such as Medline are not universally available. HINARI can be accessed at http://extranet.who.int/hinari/en/journals.php II) Caucus on Global Mental Health and Psychiatry: Mr. Ricardo Juarez also mentioned the Caucus on Global Mental Health and Psychiatry. This is open to all members of the American Psychiatric Association. The first meeting was held during the annual meeting of the association in May 2014. Future meetings will be held during the annual meetings of the association. A caucus agenda and roster are attached. Anyone interested in joining the caucus should contact Mr. Juarez at rjuarez@psych.org. III) Obuntu: Obuntu is a Swahili word which means “I am because we are.” This word was used by Dr. Mary Kay Smith to highlight exciting work being done by her and her colleagues at the University of Toledo, Ohio. Her group has on-going projects in central Africa. Dr. Kay Smith mentioned a funded project based on the experiences from Africa. This project has potential application for the Affordable Care Act in the United States. In other words international aid has potential mutual benefits for donor and recipient countries. IV) The Global Health Service Partnership & Peace Corp. In a previous communication, we mentioned the S.E.E.D. program. Since then that program has partnered with the Peace Corp. This arrangement is a public-private collaboration that attempts to remedy educational training and service needs of developing countries by placement of health professionals and educators in institutions partner countries. In the first year (2012-2013) the partnership placed 36 health professionals in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda. There are pressing needs for psychiatrists to participate in this program. Information in the S.E.E.D. Global Health Services Program can be obtained by contacting www.SEEDGLOBAL HEALTH.org or the Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Goldsmith at JGOLDSMITH@SEEDGLOBALHEALTH.org. V) Faculty Exchange Programs: Two psychiatrists (a couple) described their work as exchange psychiatric faculty at the Moi University in Kenya. They emphasized their personal satisfaction with the program and regretted the abrupt termination of one of their assignments due to a terrorist attack in a Nairobi Shopping Mall. The threat of terrorism is a potential barrier to recruiting overseas volunteers to Africa. However, terrorism is now a worldwide problem and should not necessarily deter well-meaning individuals from foreign assignments provided they take the necessary precautions. (Brown university medical school is a member of the AMPATH consortium. This is a partnership between Moi university school of medicine, Moi teaching hospital and a consortium of us medical schools). VI) NIMH Global Mental Health Grants: Dr. Pamela Collins, the associate director for International Health and Diversity at NIMH mentioned the availability of grants for research in International Health. More information can be obtained by contacting her office on the NIMH website. VII) Unavailability of Psychotropic Medications and the housing of individuals with seizure disorders in public psychiatric institutions: A perennial question for low and middle income countries is the acute shortage of psychotropic and anticonvulsant medications. This has an impact for individuals with seizure disorders. Dr. Robert Kohn (Brown University) remarked on the practice in South America, Africa and other low and middle income countries where individuals with seizure disorders are housed in psychiatric hospitals. VIII) European Federation of Psychiatry Trainees (EFPT): This organization is interested in pursuing the goals of global mental health. Three articles by members of the organization are attached. The articles focus on brain migration and the benefits of short-term exchange programs. The website for the organization is efpt.eu. a) Training arranged? Not so difficult b) New directions in psychiatry- defining the way. c) A challenge of the 12st century: brain migration in psychiatry IX) Vanderbilt Institute in Research Development and Ethics (VIRDE): This is a 4 week course on grant writing and research ethics at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. The inaugural class was in 2013. The training is not open to outside entities. Participants are selected on the basis of ongoing collaborative work and in close contact with the local colleagues of the institutes’ faculty and staff. Finally, individuals interested in Global Mental Health especially with a special focus on Africa or have any questions may contact me at sam.okpaku@gmail.com. Very best wishes, Sam O. Okpaku M.D.,Ph.D. Executive Director Center for Health, Culture and Society 1233 17th Avenue South Nashville, TN 37212, USA Tel: +1 615 329 4182 Fax: +1 615 327 9399

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