0
Clinical and Research News
Cultural Beliefs Can Be Harnessed To Aid Outcome
Psychiatric News
Volume 41 Number 13 page 19-20

FIG1 Not long ago, David Henderson, M.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, treated a Japanese student from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for depression.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Shamsah Sonawalla M.D., chaired the symposium on ethnic and cultural aspects of mood and anxiety disorders. 

Joan Arehart-Treichel

Yet after he gave the student a prescription for an antidepressant, the student did not return for a follow-up visit. Concerned about the student, Henderson contacted the dean at MIT. The reason the student failed to come for the follow-up, it turned out, was that he had decided that he was not very depressed because he had been given only one prescription, not multiple ones, which would have been the case in Japan.

In other words, no matter how much psychiatrists know about cultural differences among patients, there is still more to learn, Henderson indicated in a symposium at APA's 2006 annual meeting in Toronto in May.

"It makes our lives as clinicians challenging, that's for sure," symposium discussant Gregory Fricchione, M.D., declared. Fricchione is director of the Division of International Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

To speed psychiatrists on their journey of learning more about cultural differences among patients, speakers presented some valuable insights gleaned either from their personal experiences or from studies that they had conducted. For example:

These "practical tips for harnessing an individual's cultural beliefs, support systems, et cetera, toward treatment" were some of the symposium highlights, co-chair Shamsah Sonawalla, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard University, told Psychiatric News.

"The most impressive notion [of the symposium]," Fricchione believes, "was that modern psychiatry in the United States must become more sophisticated in its evaluation and management of diverse populations that increasingly seek treatment in our centers. This is because, while there are certainly psychiatric conditions that all groups share, with common symptom clusters and treatment responses, there are also important differences that will impact on patient access, compliance, and response to treatment." ▪

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Shamsah Sonawalla M.D., chaired the symposium on ethnic and cultural aspects of mood and anxiety disorders. 

Joan Arehart-Treichel

Interactive Graphics

Video

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Related Articles
Articles