Home Education Global Mental Health course being offered by Harvard Professors in Bangladesh

Global Mental Health course being offered by Harvard Professors in Bangladesh


Bangladesh, Jun15, 2015: Dr. Anne Becker and from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Elizabeth Nair, Work & Health Psychologists, formerly of National University of Singapore, Dr. Bandy Lee of Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Varuni Ganepola from Asian University for Women, and Dr. Neerja Chowdhary from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, are the diverse faculty instructing a psychology course titled Global Mental Health. Dr. Becker, who have never been in South Asia before, expressed her contentment at this wonderful opportunity to visit Bangladesh. She was very happy to have learned about some very different cultures and perspectives of some South Asian countries during her classes with the students of different countries.

The Global Mental Health course introduced students to the fundamentals of mental health, and offers an overview of diagnostic frameworks with which to understand mental health disorders and develop effective interventions. The course also explains gender expectations and their effect on personal wellbeing, the interface of religion and violence with mental health treatment and prevalence.

“Given the lack of spending on mental health care, the shortage of human capital to treat those with mental health conditions, and the enormous stigma that persists surrounding mental disorders, we believe the regions represented by AUW students can benefit greatly from a cadre of well-trained, educated women leaders who understand the importance of and work toward a robust mental health care infrastructure. Women are particularly suited to advocate for this cause due to the substantial prevalence of mental disorders and constrained access to mental health care, which often differentially impacts women; their central family role as caregivers to young, sick, and ageing dependents who suffer from mental illness, including dementia; and the local convention of women taking the lead as community health advocates.” ―Global Mental Health Course Description

Founded in 2008, Asian University for women is the first liberal arts institution in South Asia, and the only all-women international university in Bangladesh. Since its beginning AUW has offered different challenging and eccentric courses to its young leaders, with Global Mental Health being offered this summer.

Originally initiated by Saima Wazed Hossain (daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina), member of World Health Organization’s Expert Advisory Panel on Mental Health, the Global Mental Health course was designed by a committee chaired by Prof Arthur Kleinman. Dr. Kleinman is the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University and Professor of Medical Anthropology in Global Health and Social Medicine and Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School.

Undergraduate students from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Canada, Malaysia and Myanmar, who are studying liberal arts and sciences are enjoying the benefit of learning from this 5 weeks seminar series. Grants have been conferred by Ladd Family Foundation , Harvard University Asia Center and Harvard South Asia Institute.

By: Sumayea Binte Shafiul


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