Campus & Community

Department of Social Medicine welcomes fellows

4 min read

The Department of Social Medicine (DSM) at Harvard Medical School welcomed five fellows to two of its fellowship programs this fall. The Freeman Foundation Chinese and Southeast Asian Fellowship Program, now in its sixth year of funding, has traditionally brought faculty members (including physicians, particularly psychiatrists and social scientists) from Asian universities to spend nine months in the DSM for research training in medical anthropology.

Last spring a new fellowship program was initiated in the DSM, the Fogarty International Center — International Clinical, Operational, and Health Services Research and Training Award (ICOHRTA). Much like the Freeman program, the ICOHRTA program was developed to address the tremendous problems of mental health and neuropsychiatric disorders challenging China and the region.

This year, given the related goals of the two fellowships, faculty members for the programs have developed a single curriculum for the two groups. All five fellows are jointly attending a series of seminars and academic events designed to encourage exchange and collaboration among the fellows as they develop research proposals and projects to be implemented upon return to their home countries. The curriculum also facilitates and encourages research, writing, and training that draws upon the extensive resources available throughout the University and the region’s medical community.

The 2002-03 Freeman and ICOHRTA Fellows

Xie Bin (Freeman Fellow) of China. A forensic psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry at Shanghai Second Medical University, Xie has a career-long involvement and interest in mental health policymaking and legislation. He drafted the recently enacted “Shanghai Municipal Mental Health Regulatons” and has been assigned to lead a national committee of experts charged with conducting research and further study to expedite the process, ongoing since 1998, of amending and adopting the Chinese National Mental Health Act. Through the fellowship this year, Xie is examining the pressing concerns of modern forensic psychiatry and mental health legislation in China, among them such controversial issues as confidentiality, consent, restraint and seclusion, and voluntary versus involuntary hospitalization.

Mahar Agusno (Freeman Fellow) of Indonesia. Agusno is senior lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at Gadjah Mada Medical School, and deputy director of the Mental In-patient Installation at Sardjito General Hospital. He is interested in cultural and social psychiatry and is developing a project proposal that aims to address the needs of children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of war, displacement, and/or violence.

Carla Raymondalexas Marchira (Freeman Fellow), of Indonesia. A senior resident in the Department of Psychiatry at Gadjah Mada Medical School, Marchira was formerly the head of a government-run community health center in Yogyakarta. She is working on a proposal for a study that would observe and assess the knowledge and quality of mental health workers in Indonesian community health centers. The goal of the study would be to facilitate much-needed change in the way mental health services are prioritized and delivered in Indonesian primary health care settings.

Irmansyah (ICOHRTA Fellow), of Indonesia. A research coordinator and staff member of the Department of Psychiatry in the faculty of medicine at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Irmansyah is also the chairman of the Section on Schizophrenia of the Indonesian Psychiatric Association. His goals for the fellowship year at Harvard include developing a “family empowerment program,” which would address and help reduce the affects of stigma and other social issues that greatly challenge both mental health patients and the field of psychiatry.

Xu Yong (ICOHRTA Fellow), of China. Xu is the head psychiatrist of the psychosomatic ward at Shanghai Mental Health Center. He also practices medical psychological counseling at both Zhongshan Hospital and Shanghai Mental Consultation Center. As a fellow in the Department of Social Medicine he has begun research that will help identify ways of improving the detection and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders. In particular, he is developing a project to be implemented upon his return to Shanghai that will bring to light the number and frequency of misdiagnoses of these disorders in China today. His ultimate goal is to identify practical methods of improving the rate of accurately diagnosing these disorders.