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