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Cultural Psychiatry: Integrating Ethnography and Neuroscience in Global Mental Health Research

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Co-PIs

Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, MD, FRCPC

James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Editor-in-Chief, Transcultural Psychiatry

More about Laurence Kirmayer...

kirmayer_0Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, is James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. He is Editor-in-Chief of Transcultural Psychiatry, the journal of the Section on Transcultural Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association, and directs the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit at the Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. He founded and directs the annual Summer Program and Advanced Study Institute in Cultural Psychiatry at McGill. He also founded and co-directs the CIHR-IAPH Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research. His past research includes studies on cultural consultation, pathways and barriers to mental health care for immigrants and refugees, somatization in primary care, cultural concepts of mental health and illness in Inuit communities, risk and protective factors for suicide among Inuit youth, and resilience among Indigenous peoples. His current projects include a multi-site study of culturally-based, family-centered mental health promotion for Aboriginal youth; development of a web-based multicultural mental health resource centre; and the use of the cultural formulation in cultural consultation.

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Douglas Hollan, PhD

Professor, Department of Anthropology, UCLA
Member, Board of Directors, Foundation for Psychocultural Research

More about Douglas Hollan...

hollan_mediumDouglas Hollan, PhD is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of California, Los Angeles; Instructor at the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute; and President of the Society for Psychological Anthropology. His research interests include psychological anthropology; cross-cultural psychiatry; person-centered ethnography; and the cross-cultural study of mind, consciousness, and mental disorder. He is the co-author ofContentment and Suffering: Culture and Experience in Toraja (1994) and The Thread of Life: Toraja Reflections on the Life Cycle. Dr. Hollan is currently conducting cross-cultural studies of dreams, consciousness, and cultural idioms of distress. He is a member of the FPR Board, and holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and in Psychoanalysis.

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Eran Zaidel, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychology, UCLA

More about Eran Zaidel...

Zaidel_view.phpEran Zaidel, PhD, is a Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at UCLA and Director of the Zaidel Lab, which focuses on on hemispheric specialization and interhemispheric interaction in the mind/brain. The lab works with normal participants and participants with acquired (hemispheric lesions, split-brain, etc.) and developmental (ADHD, dyslexia, and schizophrenia) deficits using a variety of techniques, ranging from behavior to neurophysiology to neuroanatomy. They also study hemispheric relations in a variety of domains, including attention, perception, problem solving, error-monitoring, emotions and social cognition. Recent projects include hemispheric relations in attention and emotions (impulsivity, depression, and anxiety) and modulation of brain activity using EEG-Biofeedback.

More info at zaidellab.org…

Affiliated Faculty

Lauren Ban, PhD

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia

More about Lauren Ban...

lauren_ban_0Lauren Ban, PhD, is currently a Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for International Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia. She has recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Transcultural Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital/McGill University and Cultural Psychology at Concordia University. Her PhD in social and cultural psychology explored folk perceptions of mental disorder among people with East Asian (primarily Chinese Singaporean) and Australian cultural backgrounds. Her work now looks at explanatory models of mental illness, resilience, recovery and psychological stigma from a cultural psychology perspective.

Jennifer Bartz, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, McGill University

More about Jennifer Bartz...

j.bartzJennifer Bartz is Assistant Professor in Social Psychology at McGill University. She is interested in the ability to engage in prosocial, communal behavior is vital to developing and maintaining close relationships. Her work investigates the factor-both individual difference and situational-that hinder or facilitate people’s ability to engage in such behaviors. Her research is grounded in personality and social psychology, but also draws upon clinical and neuroscience traditions. Specifically, she conducts research in both healthy and clinical (Autism, borderline personality disorder) populations, and uses a multi-method approach involving experiential, behavioral, and biological levels of analysis.

More info at bartz.socialpsychology.org…

Alain Brunet, PhD

Director, Psychosocial Research Division, Douglas Institute, McGill University

More about Alain Brunet...

a.brunetAlain Brunet, Director of the Psychosocial Research Division at the Douglas Institute and Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Victimology, President of Traumatic Stress, Canadian Psychological Association and the founder of i-trauma website. As a clinical psychologist, he has been investigating the impact of trauma exposure on individuals for over 15 years, with a special focus on characterizing the risk factors and developing effective treatments for PTSD, such as early intervention and reconsolidation of blockade.

More info at douglas.qc.ca/researcher…

Suparna Choudhury, PhD

Assistant Professor, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University

More about Suparna Choudhury...

s.choudhurySuparna Choudhury is an Assistant Professor at the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University and an Investigator at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. She did her doctoral research in cognitive neuroscience at University College London, postdoctoral research in transcultural psychiatry at McGill and most recently directed an interdisciplinary research program on critical neuroscience and the developing brain at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin. Her current work investigates the production and dissemination of biomedical knowledge – in particular cognitive neuroscience – that shapes the ways in which researchers, clinicians, patients and laypeople understand themselves, their mental health and their illness experiences. Dr Choudhury’s research focuses primarily on the cases of the adolescent brain, cultural neuroscience and personalized genomic medicine. Her research investigates (i) How biological knowledge with significant social and clinical impact is produced. This line of research has focused mainly on the models, methodologies and disciplinary intersections in developmental cognitive neuroscience labs that work on the “teenage brain”. (ii) How this knowledge circulates and how it is it taken up, applied or resisted. This looks at how brain research informs mental health policy trans-nationally, how the language of genomics and neuroscience is interpreted by patient communities and lay users, and how these sciences shape everyday practices outside scientific research from education to meditation (iii) Social and political contexts of cognitive neuroscience, and interdisciplinary approaches to brain research through the framework of critical neuroscience.

More info at mcgill.ca…

Ian Gold, PhD

Canada Research Chair, Department of Philosophy, McGill University

More about Ian Gold...

i.goldIan Gold is Associate Professor of Philosophy & Psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal. He completed a PhD in Philosophy at Princeton University and did postdoctoral training at the Australian National University in Canberra. From 2000 to 2006 he was on the faculty of the School of Philosophy & Bioethics at Monash University in Melbourne and returned to McGill in 2006. His research focuses on the theory of delusion in psychiatric and neurological illness and on reductionism in psychiatry and neuroscience. He is the author of research articles in such journals as Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Mind and Language, Consciousness and Cognition, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry & Psychology, and Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. No Mind is an Island is a book co-written with Joel Gold, is due to appear in 2012.

More info at mcgill.ca…

Danielle Groleau, PhD

Assistant Professor, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec

More about Danielle Groleau...

d.groleauDanielle Groleau is Assistant Professor and Research Associate at the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital. Dr. Groleau is an anthropologist and received her PhD in Public Health from the Université de Montréal and postdoctoral training in Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University. She specializes in ethnographic and participatory research to study health behaviors that have implications for public health programming and health policy. Her current research interests include the study of psychocultural determinants of compliance after a heart attack among French Canadians; psychocultural determinants of low breastfeeding rates among disadvantaged French Canadians and cultural appropriateness of information on breast cancer risk for the Jewish community.

More info at mcgill.ca…

Brandon Kohrt, MD, PhD

Resident, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, George Washington University Medical Center

More about Brandon Kohrt...

brandon_kohrtBrandon Kohrt, MD, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and psychiatrist at The George Washington University. He conducts global mental health research focusing on populations affected by war-related trauma and chronic stressors of poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to healthcare and education. He has worked in Nepal for 16 years using a biocultural developmental perspective integrating epidemiology, cultural anthropology, ethnopsychology, and neuroendocrinology. With Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Nepal, he designed and evaluated psychosocial reintegration packages for child soldiers in Nepal. He currently works with The Carter Center Mental Health Liberia Program developing anti-stigma campaigns and family psychoeducation programs. He was a Laughlin Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists and a John Spiegel Fellow of the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture (SSPC). Dr. Kohrt has contributed to numerous documentary films including Returned: Child Soldiers of Nepal’s Maoist Army.

Duncan Pederson, MD, MPH

Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University

More about Duncan Pederson...

d.pedersonDuncan Pederson,  MD, MPH, studies how societies impact the mental health of their citizens. HIs work focuses on Latin America, where large numbers of urban poor, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples are exposed to social discrimination and political upheavals, poor environmental conditions, poverty, and income inequality. This results in substantial health conditions and a high prevalence of mental and social disorders. His research is currently centered primarily on the long-term impact of political violence wars amongst the indigenous populations of the Peruvian Highlands, primarily in relation to trauma-related disorders, collective suffering and local forms of distress.

More info at mcgill.ca…

Amir Raz, PhD, ABPH

Professor, Depatments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University

More about Amir Raz...

razAmir Raz, PhD, ABPH, holds the Canada Research Chair in the cognitive neuroscience of attention, and heads the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at McGill University and the Clinical Neuroscience and Applied Cognition Laboratory at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH). He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and a member of the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychology as well as the Montreal Neurological Institute. Dr. Raz is an interdisciplinary cognitive neuroscientist. He holds diplomate status with the American Board of Psychological Hypnosis. His active research interests span the neural and psychological substrates of attention, self-regulation, and effortful control. He is also conducting research into the cognitive neuroscience and culture, authorship processes, and atypical cognition.

More info at mcgill.ca…

Andrew Ryder, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Concordia University

More about Andrew Ryder...

ryderAndrew Ryder, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Concordia University (Montreal). His Culture, Health & Personality lab’s research involves the relation between individuals and their cultural context, and the implications of this relation for psychopathology. His recent work has explored differences between Chinese and Euro-Canadians in the presentation of depression, using cross-national and acculturation designs in student, community, and clinical samples. Once cultural differences are identified, the emphasis is on why these differences occurred; the potential role of the self-concept is central to these efforts.

More info at psychology.concordia.ca…

Ram P. Sapkota

Doctoral Student, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University

More about Ram P. Sapkota...

ram_sapkotaRam P. Sapkota is a Psychologist from Nepal. He is currently enrolled in a PhD program at the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University. He has worked in the field of psychosocial and mental health care for almost a decade in Nepal. His areas of interest include organized violence and its impact on mental health and wellbeing, culture and mental health, psychosocial interventions and psychosocial counselling.

Allan Young, PhD

Marjorie Pronfman Professor, Department of Anthropology, McGill University

More about Allan Young...

allan_youngAllan Young, PhD, is an anthropologist and the Marjorie Bronfman Professor in Social Studies in Medicine. His research focuses on the ethnography of psychiatric science, specifically the valorization of new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies and the institutionalization of standards of evidence; and the ethnography of psychogenic trauma as a clinical entity and as a subject of laboratory and epidemiological research. A current research interest is the origins of the social brain.

More info at mcgill.ca…