Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 650–658 | Cite as

Global Mental Health: Five Areas for Value-Driven Training Innovation

  • Brandon A. Kohrt
  • Carla B. Marienfeld
  • Catherine Panter-Brick
  • Alexander C. Tsai
  • Milton L. Wainberg
Empirical Report



In the field of global mental health, there is a need for identifying core values and competencies to guide training programs in professional practice as well as in academia. This paper presents the results of interdisciplinary discussions fostered during an annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture to develop recommendations for value-driven innovation in global mental health training.


Participants (n = 48), who registered for a dedicated workshop on global mental health training advertised in conference proceedings, included both established faculty and current students engaged in learning, practice, and research. They proffered recommendations in five areas of training curriculum: values, competencies, training experiences, resources, and evaluation.


Priority values included humility, ethical awareness of power differentials, collaborative action, and “deep accountability” when working in low-resource settings in low- and middle-income countries and high-income countries. Competencies included flexibility and tolerating ambiguity when working across diverse settings, the ability to systematically evaluate personal biases, historical and linguistic proficiency, and evaluation skills across a range of stakeholders. Training experiences included didactics, language training, self-awareness, and supervision in immersive activities related to professional or academic work. Resources included connections with diverse faculty such as social scientists and mentors in addition to medical practitioners, institutional commitment through protected time and funding, and sustainable collaborations with partners in low resource settings. Finally, evaluation skills built upon community-based participatory methods, 360-degree feedback from partners in low-resource settings, and observed structured clinical evaluations (OSCEs) with people of different cultural backgrounds.


Global mental health training, as envisioned in this workshop, exemplifies an ethos of working through power differentials across clinical, professional, and social contexts in order to form longstanding collaborations. If incorporated into the ACGME/ABPN Psychiatry Milestone Project, such recommendations will improve training gained through international experiences as well as the everyday training of mental health professionals, global health practitioners, and social scientists.


Curriculum development Cross-cultural psychiatry Global mental health Medical education Training innovation 



The authors are grateful to the participants of the 2015 Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture annual meeting workshop on training in global mental health (April 23–25, Providence, Rhode Island, USA). The authors thank Anvita Bhardwaj for her assistance with workshop transcription.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study met criteria for institutional review board exemption.


The authors acknowledge salary support for Dr. Kohrt through K01MH104310 and Dr. Tsai through K23M096620.


On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

40596_2016_504_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (53 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 52 kb)


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandon A. Kohrt
    • 1
  • Carla B. Marienfeld
    • 2
  • Catherine Panter-Brick
    • 3
  • Alexander C. Tsai
    • 4
  • Milton L. Wainberg
    • 5
  1. 1.Duke Global Health Institute, Duke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Yale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Center for Global Health, Massachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  5. 5.Global Mental Health Program, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA

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