Friday, February 24, 2012

Mental Health Leadership Collaborative Begins at Yale

Sang Hee Park, Yale MPH,
Class of 2013

At the beginning of this year, Yale began a new endeavor to further collaborations with universities around the globe. The GHLI led these efforts with the newly created Yale GHLI-Fudan Mental Health Program. Faculty from Yale’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health and a cohort of physicians and professors from several universities in China, accompanied by student ambassadors from Yale colleges and graduate schools gathered on the Yale campus as part of the initiative to improve the Chinese mental health care system.

Despite the long travel time and the time difference, the Chinese participants were engaged and active starting from day one. It’s easy to assume that considering the participant’s careers as lecturers rather than students and the achievements they have already made, that they would have less willingness to be “trained” by other people – but not so. Their aspirations to learn ways to better their system were evident during lectures, site visits and individual work sessions, engaging in endless thought-provoking questions and proactive discussions. Throughout the program, the director and staff of the program continuously brainstormed on how to make the remaining days even more effective.

By the end of the third week, the participants had formed professional and lasting relationships among themselves as well as with the professors at Yale and directors of the healthcare settings visited. A director from one site visit even drove over an hour to attend the farewell dinner in New Haven and give each participant a CD with photos from the visit as a gift.

Because this was the program’s first year, there was much excitement and a bit of nervousness during the preparations, and I was not too sure what to expect. But now, after a successful three weeks, I am excited to see how the participants will be able to utilize what they have learned to improve leadership and management skills and challenges they face in the Chinese mental health care system would unfold in the next years!

*Site Visits included: Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, Program for Recovery and Community Health, VA Connecticut Healthcare System West Haven Campus, Institute of Living, Connecticut Mental Health Center, and Connecticut Valley Hospital.

To read more about GHLI's partnerships in china, click here.