Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Practice: The Georgia Process and Model

  • Uriel Halbreich
  • Eka Chkonia
  • Nino Okribelashvili
  • Irina Karosanidze
  • Ketavan Goginashvili


The Republic of Georgia (Sakartvelo in Georgia) is a relatively small country of 69,700 square kilometers and only 3.8 million people. Being in the Southern Caucasus on the crossroads between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it has been experiencing a tumultuous history for over 3000 years. It was subject to many invasions by stronger neighbors and maintained independence only for short periods in between. It was annexed by Tsarist Russia in 1800 and became a Soviet Republic, part of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1921.

With the dissolution of the USSR, Georgia declared independence in 1991 and has been struggling for stability and sovereignty since then. A coup d’etat was already instigated in late December 1991. Separatist disputes over the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were initiated already in 1992–1993 and followed up to a full-blown Russo-Georgian War in August 2008. Hostilities resulted in civilian casualties, internally displaced refugees, and continuous tensions and distress.

Georgia is currently still a nation in transition. Its internal well-being affairs are being crystalized, and it is in a process of strengthening economic and political ties with the European Union.

Since, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), health, well-being, and mental health are multifaceted processes and situations, involving the individual’s physical and mental adaptation within her/his socioeconomic environment, the promotion of well-being necessitates an efficacious interdisciplinary collaboration in which each group of experts will contribute to community welfare.

Community services are of utmost importance, and family medicine practitioners are the first line of contact and clinical management. Psychiatrists are not always available, especially in the periphery. They tend to focus on the most severely affected patients in urban centers. Should this be reassessed? Georgia benefits from an active National Institute of Mental Health which promotes issues of psychiatry and addictions. Its goals are re-updated according to requirements and capabilities. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs established health policy administration which collects and monitors epidemiological data, interprets them, and recommends actions.

A consensus was achieved that together we will be stronger and more effective. An operational group was formed, perspectives on needs were assessed, and a plan of actions is being developed.


Mental health Well-being Health policy Community medicine Psychiatry Caucasus Republic of Georgia 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uriel Halbreich
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eka Chkonia
    • 3
  • Nino Okribelashvili
    • 4
  • Irina Karosanidze
    • 5
  • Ketavan Goginashvili
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Medicine and Biomedical SciencesUniversity at Buffalo, The state University of New York (SUNY-AB)BuffaloUSA
  2. 2.World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Section on Interdisciplinary CollaborationGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Tbilisi UniversityTbilisiGeorgia
  4. 4.Georgia Institute of Mental Health and Prevention of AddictionsTbilisiGeorgia
  5. 5.Georgia Family Medicine AssociationTbilisiGeorgia
  6. 6.Health Care DepartmentMinistry of Health and social Affairs of GeorgiaTbilisiGeorgia

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