Globalization in medical education often means a "brain drain" of desperately needed health professionals from low- to high-income countries. Despite the best intentions, partnerships that simply transport students to Western medical schools for training have shockingly low return rates. Ethiopia, for example, has sent hundreds of physicians abroad for specialty training over the past 30 years, the vast majority of whom have not returned. This represents a highly problematic net transfer of financial and human resources from the Ethiopian people to Western countries that have failed to develop their own adequate health human resource plans.
With this background in mind, in 2003 Addis Ababa University invited the University of Toronto to collaborate on the first Ethiopian psychiatric residency program to be run entirely in Ethiopia. Called the Toronto Addis Ababa Psychiatry Project (TAAPP), it was established on the principle of supplementing the ability of the small Addis Ababa University Department of Psychiatry to teach, provide clinical supervision, and to help develop educational capacity. Over the last 6 years the model has involved a large number of University of Toronto faculty and residents who have spent blocks of 1 month each in Addis Ababa.
This article describes the first three phases of TAAPP (I) Development of a model residency program; (II) Enhancing clinical, educational and leadership capacity; and (III) Sustainability, faculty development, and continuing education. Between 2003 and 2009, the number of psychiatrists in Ethiopia increased from 11 to 34; the Addis Ababa University Department of Psychiatry faculty increased members from three to nine. There are new departments of psychiatry established in four other university hospitals in Ethiopia outside the capital city. Mental health services are now being integrated within the national system of primary care.
An important issue that underscores such a partnership is the risk of simply exporting Western, America-centric psychiatric training versus creating culturally appropriate models of education.
"Fricchione et al.
 have suggested that the optimal approach to building capacity in global mental health care requires partnerships between professional resources in high-income countries and promising health-related institutions in low- and middle-income countries
. For example, the successful establishment of a psychiatry residency program at Addis Ababa University (AAU) with support from the University of Toronto (TAAPP) provides a model for training mental health specialists within the context of a developing country
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The lack of trained mental health professionals has been an important barrier to establishing mental health services in low income countries. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and implementation of child psychiatry training within a graduate program in mental health for non-physician clinicians in Ethiopia.
The existing needs for competent practitioners in child psychiatry were identified through discussions with psychiatrists working in Ethiopia as well as with relevant departments within the Federal Ministry of Health Ethiopia (FMOHE). As part of a curriculum for a two year Master of Science (MSC) in Mental Health program for non-physician clinicians, child psychiatry training was designed and implemented by Jimma University with the involvement of experts from Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia, and Ludwig-Maximillian's University, (LMU), Germany. Graduates gave feedback after completing the course. The World Health Organization's (WHO) Mental Health Gap Action Program (mhGAP) intervention guide (IG) adapted for Ethiopian context was used as the main training material.
A two-week child psychiatry course and a four week child psychiatry clinical internship were successfully implemented during the first and the second years of the MSC program respectively. During the two week psychiatry course, trainees learned to observe the behavior and to assess the mental status of children at different ages who had a variety of mental health conditions. Assessment of the trainees' clinical skills was done by the instructors at the end of the child psychiatry course as well as during the subsequent four week clinical internship. The trainees generally rated the course to be 'very good' to 'excellent'. Many of the graduates have become faculty at the various universities in Ethiopia.
Child psychiatry training for non-physician mental health specialist trainees was developed and successfully implemented through collaboration with other universities. The model of institutional collaboration in training mental health professionals in the context of limited resources provides a useful guide for other low income countries where there is scarcity of psychiatrists.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 02/2014; 8(1):6. DOI:10.1186/1753-2000-8-6
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Toronto Addis Ababa Psychiatry Project (TAAPP) is an international collaboration between University of Toronto and Addis Ababa University. University of Toronto psychiatric residents may participate in TAAPP as an elective. The authors explored the Canadian resident experience in a qualitative study of the project.
Eleven residents were interviewed using a semistructured questionnaire. Grounded theory was employed to organize participants' experiences and highlight emerging themes. The computer software NVivo7 was used to facilitate data analysis.
Participants described gaining competency as health advocates, collaborators, scholars, and teachers. They endorsed increased sensitivity to cross-cultural issues and greater awareness of global health issues, including practical and ethical ramifications of working at an intersection of cultures. Residents gained international perspective psychiatric practice.
The elective provided unique opportunities for acquiring clinical, teaching, collaborative, leadership and advocacy skills. It prompted participants to consider ethical and cross-cultural issues and allowed them to be mentored intensively by Ethiopian and Canadian teachers and peers.
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