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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Deepa Rao
JSIS 478
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies from quarter to quarter.

Class description

This course is designed for advanced undergraduate students and graduate students interested in pursuing work at the crossroads of the Health Sciences (e.g. Medicine, Nursing, Social Work, Public Health) and the Social Sciences (e.g. Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology). The course will examine the socio-cultural and political forces that impact the assessment, manifestation, and impact of mental illnesses on individuals in this region. Students will take a critical view of diagnostic systems and examine the scientific research suggesting culturally specific, systematic differences in presentation of mental illness worldwide. We will examine methodological questions, such as the use of Kleinman’s “explanatory models of illness” paradigm as a tool in cross-cultural psychiatric research. We will also review clinical and treatment practices when working with people with mental illnesses from low resource settings. Specifically, students will explore topics around task sharing, culturally-specific communication styles, idioms of social relatedness, emotional expression, familial structure, stigma, and power dynamics, as these can impact clinical assessment and interventions. Course readings will be supplemented with audio-visual materials, didactic sessions, active discussion, and student presentations.

Student learning goals

• Describe socio-political-cultural influences on global mental health research and practice

• Discuss traditional and alternative conceptualizations of mental illness

• Discuss treatment approaches for mental health issues in non-Western countries

• Synthesize the literature on a specific topic in global mental health

In addition to the above learning objectives, graduate students will: • Analyze advantages and disadvantages of intervention approaches to issues in global mental health

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Class Participation 15% Class Presentation 10% 6 of 8 Reaction Papers: 30% Research Project Detailed Outline: 10% Final Research Paper: 35%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 01/25/2013