Dear members of the WACP,
Dear colleagues interested in Cultural Psychiatry,
This is the first of its kind: A newsletter of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry.
A lot happens within our community, we are thriving (1), and it is about time that we inform each other about what is going on. With this new initiative, a newsletter, we want to come closer to each other, and, to be better informed about our cherished field of cultural psychiatry.
We also want to increase our members, so please send this newsletter to at least one other colleague of yours who you think might be interested.
This is a pilot edition of our newsletter. It is a complete edition intended as a test/teaser, before publication really starts with our official first issue planned for January next year. We will ask our social media group to have a look at this newsletter and improve it if needed. Please feel free to send me any comment or any news you want to share with us or anything else you would like to add to this cultural psychiatric newsletter. Ideas are more than welcome (email@example.com).
Mario H Braakman, President WACP
Our website https://waculturalpsy.org/ needs an update. We allocated funds to redesign our main website and we let you know the launch date a.s.a.p.
After 32 years of active service as Editor-in-Chief of ‘our’ top-journal Transcultural Psychiatry, Laurence Kirmayer (till recently one of our board members) stepped down. He contributed immensely to ‘building the foundation for a culturally responsive psychiatry’. We are deeply grateful for his dedication. We wish his successor Dr. G. Eric Jarvis all the best in his new role.
Special Interest Groups (SIG’s)
We were happy that our past-president Roberto Lewis-Fernandez was willing tocoordinate and stimulate SIG-activities. SIG’s are our Special Interest Groups and we will introduce them to you in the next newsletters. We purchased a ZOOM- account in order to enable the SIG’s to organize webinars. In the recurring SIG-section of the newsletter you will find information, updates and plans for webinars etc. of our SIG’s.
Renato D. Alarcón
One of our prominent members and former WACP Officer and treasurer, Prof. Dr. Renato Alarcon, emeritus professor of Psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, will deliver
the prestigious Distinguished Psychiatrist Lecture by Presidential invitation during the next annual APA-meeting in New York, May 4-8, 2024.
There is much more to say but we don’t want to overload you with news in this pilot-issue.
We as WACP decided to introduce a new initiative: the International Conference. In between our large congresses, these are 3 years apart from each other, we thought it
would be a good idea to have an additional scientific gathering, smaller but as inspiring as the large congress.The first one was planned in Shanghai, China but very unfortunately, due to COVID, we had to cancel it. However, now we are heading towards the next international conference and it will be planned in the second part of 2024. It will happen in Paris, and the theme will be CULTURAL PSYCHIATRY & ART. Alberto Velasco and his SIG is very active in organizing this and he is planning online seminars in preparation for that event.
In our first official newsletter in January we will inform you about all the details. Please join us and also come to Paris for this very special conference. Alberto Velasco is cooperating with colleagues from two other organizations: GHU Paris psychiatry and neurosciences (GHU Paris) and France Latin America Coordination of Psychiatry (COFALP).
7th World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry
Our colleague and member of our Board of Directors, Dr Itsuo Asai (and his team) is very busy with the preparations of our next World Congress. We will pay much more attention to this big event in the near future. For now save the date: we will meet in Tokyo in the last week of September 2025. The Pacific Rim Psychiatrists (https://www.prcp.org/ will join us and we will organize the congress together.
Our Highlight: Iraqi Psychiatric Association
Each issue we focus on a special event, gathering, meeting or the like in our field. This time we asked our BoD-member Riyadh Al-Baldawi to comment on the 4th Iraqi Psychiatric Association International conference recently held in Baghdad, Iraq and supported by the WACP.
Here is my report on my participation at the 4th Iraqi Psychiatric Association International conference, representing the WAC, held in Baghdad – Iraq November 23rd to 24th of 2023.
I participated at the 4th Iraqi psychiatric Association International conference which was held in Baghdad – Iraq, November 23-24, 2023.
The WACP was actively involved in planning this conference. The WAC was one of the three international organizations participating at the conference, the other two being the Arab federation of Psychiatry and the Royal College Psch. UK.
The conference was held more than 15 years later than the previous conference. During these years Iraq as a country faced a huge number of challenges following the sectoral war, the war against ISIS and many more. The conference could now be organized due to the past four years of relative political stability in the country, which has had a positive effect on social aspects in general and the country’s medical situation in particular.
The conference was supported by the government and in particular the health ministry. The Minister of Health personally, Dr. Saleh Al Hasnaui (Psychiatrist), participated in the opening ceremony and gave a welcoming speech to all participants. All medical faculties at Iraqi universities from different parts of Iraq were actively represented at the conference. Many colleagues from the Kurdistan region were actively involved and participated at the conference. This was very positive and key in keeping the association between Iraqi psychiatrists.
The conference was held at one of the biggest hotels in Baghdad, more than 200 participants attended the conference in person and some of colleagues virtually. The conference offered a good opportunity for Iraqi colleagues from different generations to interact and share experiences of working within and outside the country, as well as to exchange clinical experiences and research with the guests from other countries such as the UK, Canada, USA, Italy, Sweden and Australia.
Iraq as a country has a huge heritage of different civilizations and cultures as well as different ethnicities and religions, which makes this country very interesting in our field of cultural Psychiatry.
I was impressed by how well this conference was organized and the positive warm collegial atmosphere that was created. The organizers did all necessary to make the participants feel comfortable and welcome.
At the conference I was involved personally as a member of the organizing committee and international speaker in different activities during the planning phase of the conference. Our WACP logo was presented on all official documents at the conference. I tried to make contact with many distinguished decision makers within the Iraqi association and the Iraqi Ministry of Health. I informed them about the aims of our organization and invited colleagues to be active in our organization. During my speech I invited the participants to our future events in particular our upcoming WACP world congress in Japan and invited some colleagues to participate at different WACP SIG groups.
In general, I was very happy to participate at this conference in my birthplace Baghdad which is recovering rapidly from tougher periods of war and destruction.
The health care system generally and the psychiatric medical care still has a huge number of challenges to face. It has come to my understanding that the stigma around psychiatric disability still is one of the big issues our colleagues in Iraq face when dealing with patients and their families. Many patients usually seek traditional healers and other questionable sources of aid before visiting a psychiatrist. The stigma is more common in peripheral colleagues from two other organizations: GHU Paris psychiatry and neurosciences (GHU Paris) in drug- and alcohol problems in the bigger cities. I also learnt that as a result of many years of war there is a huge need for specialist centers to treat people suffering from severe or chronic PTSD. Another major issue to be addressed is the rising numbers of cases of depression, anxiety, OCD and other psychiatric problems. There are many thousands of people still displaced from their villages and towns after the internal war and in need of help and support. The internal migration and forced displacement is still one of the big challenges the country has to deal with. There is a rising awareness regarding early detection of children with neuropsychiatric disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD etc. The country is still in need of more professional competence to cover these kinds of problem areas and situations presented above.
Despite the difficulties the country faces today I found that there is a strong will amongst colleagues working within public or private health care to better the situation. My hope is that political stability by itself will solve many of them.
I hope that we as an international organization can pay more of our attention to developing countries by supporting our colleagues, inviting them to our conferences and events and thereby exchanging knowledge and perhaps offering new ideas.
Finally, I was very happy to visit my birth country once again after so many years and meet with enthusiastic colleagues from all over the World, willing to deepen their relations with each other and our WACP.
BoD member WACP
Proud to introduce to you
In each issue we would like to highlight a special person who devotes a lot of time to our association. Dedicated people who are essential for a flourishing association.
This time we like to introduce to you: Daina Crafa, our Editor-in-chief of our journal, WCPRR.
Daina Crafa (above to the left) presenting herself at the General Members Meeting during the 6th WCCP inRotterdam, the Netherlands.
Daina Crafa is a Tenured Assistant Professor in the Clinical, Neuro- & Developmental Psychology Department at VU Amsterdam. She combines multidisciplinary approaches to study how psychiatric patient groups respond during dynamic, real-time social interactions and how contexts may influence these responses. Her core interest is in social adaptability and challenges. She has a M.Sc. in Neuroscience (University of Osnabrock, Germany) and aM.Sc. in Transcultural Mental Health (Queen Mary University of London, UK). She completed her Ph.D. in Neuroscience (McGill University, Canada), where she worked closely with the Transcultural Psychiatry unit. Between completing her Ph.D. and starting her currentposition, she worked an Adjunct Professor at the Interacting Mind Centre at Aarhus University, Denmark. She is the new editor-in-chief for the WCPRR. Daina volunteered as an EditorialAssistant from the WCPRR starting in 2012. Daina also started the Student Section of the WACP and acted as its first section president. Daina is an Italian-American (dual citizen)who grew up in Florida. She enjoys exploring new places via kayak.
The World Cultural Psychiatric Research Review (WCPRR) is the official journal of the World Association for Cultural Psychiatry (WACP). It is a quarterly international peer-reviewed psychiatric journal that covers all branches of psychiatry with a particular emphasis on sociocultural context. The WCPRR promotes equity in academic publishing practices and provides cost-free, open access publishing to authors globally.
Preparations for the next issue are currently underway and we would love for you to be a part of it!
Have a look: https://www.worldculturalpsychiatry.org/
The President’s Choice
Each quarter I want to highlight intellectual advancements in our field of cultural psychiatry. This time, our pilot issue, I take the liberty to focus on publications that appeared in 2023. I could focus on a lot of publications since we have members as well as non-members who are very active in publishing great papers. However, this time, focusing on 2023, I was pleasantly amazed by the publication of three innovative scientific articles published by Ana Gómez-Carillo. Her main co-authors Laurence Kirmayer and one of the papers, published in the Lancet Psychiatry, was written with the help of a lot of colleagues of our association. All three publications are about the development of an alternative approach to counteract the present day neurobiological reductionism and it is coined the cultural-ecosocial systemic approach. It is an approach based on a multilevel explanation of a clinical case. There are an abundant number of attractive statements in these papers, like:
* … someone’s postcode can be a better predictor of health outcomes than the genetic code …’, Or
* . [understanding; MB] the brain as situated in the social world and as part of larger, self-reflexive systems or
*. the missing person in personalized medicine …•
Central concepts are: embodiment and enactment, compositional as well as causal hierarchies, circular rather than linear causation and self-explanation by the patient. This work is a clear and concrete example of how to apply complex systems dynamics within our field of psychiatry and putting the human brain in a sociocultural context in such a way that illness can no longer be reduced to a problem of an individual, it is a social problem as well. By using this model a useful
interacting clinical case can be formulated and widens the scope of the clinician as well as the perspective of the patient. These three papers are a culmination of interests that Laurence Kirmayer (but also others!) talked and wrote about for a few decades: neuroscience, culture, socioecological and anthropological systems and the self that culminated in a ecosocial model in which the dichotomy of Dilthey between “Erklären’ (explaining) and “Verstehen” (understanding) are finally integrated. Also the different levels in which a patient is entangled are combined into a synthesis that is worthwhile reading. The fact that the first author is NOT Kirmayer but a young gifted scholar is very promising for the future and sustainability of our subdiscipline called cultural psychiatry. It is even and foremost an example of what cultural psychiatry has to offer to psychiatry and medicine in general.
Gómez-Carrillo, A., Kirmayer, L. J., Aggarwal, N. K., Bhui, K S., Fung, K. P. L., Kohrt, B. A. _. & Lewis-Fernandez, R. (2023). Integrating neuroscience in psychiatry: a cultural-ecosocial systemic approach. The Lancet Psychiatry, 10(4), 296-304,
Gómez-Carrillo, A., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2023). A cultural-ecosocial systems view for psychiatry.
Frontiers in Psychiatry, 14, 486.
Gómez-Carrillo, A., Paquin, V., Dumas, G., & Kirmayer, L.. J. (2023). Restoring the missing person to personalized medicine and precision psychiatry. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 17.
7th WCCP: our 7th World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry last week of September 2025, Tokyo
(exact dates will follow soon)
Cultural psychiatry and Art second half of September 2024 Paris *
All-embracing information by Alberto Velasco on our next WACP international conference in Paris and the webinars.
Proud to introduce to you: Claire Kwagala, psychiatrist from Uganda.
Please send this newsletter to at least one other colleague of yours who is not (yet) a WACP and might be interested