SSPC 2018 Annual Meeting

Conference Overview

The 2018 SSPC annual meeting will critically explore the implicit (or explicit) definitions of culture that are being used in current mental health research and practice. To what extent are process-based definitions of culture replacing or coexisting alongside more static group background-based definitions? Process-based definitions conceptualize culture as a dynamic process of meaning-making that is based on multiple influences from a person’s background, including gender identity, occupation, class, and sexual orientation, to name a few. The impact of these influences become more or less prominent at any given moment, in some settings and not others, and depending on what is “at stake” for the person at the time. This process-based conceptualization coexists with more traditional notions of culture that are rooted in a principal group identity, typically the person’s national or racial/ethnic background.

This meeting will explore various definitions of culture active in mental health work. For example, is culture conceptualized uniformly in key components of DSM-5, such as in the Cultural Formulation Interview and the Culture-Related Diagnostic Issues sections of each disorder? How does serious engagement with process-based definitions affect our established practices, such as the usual medical identification of the patient on the basis of age, gender, and race/ethnicity (e.g. “23-year-old black female”)? How does the global spread ofmental health interventions potentially perpetuate simplistic notions of culture, to the potential detriment of programs? What role does the family play in creating/recreating these cultural influences? Does still make sense to speak of a person’s “culture” in the singular?

Learning Objectives

After attending this meeting, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify multiple definitions of culture from clinical, social science, and humanities fields and their implications for mental health research and practice.
  2. Discuss theories and concepts relevant to culture, including identity, power, explanatory models, equity, diversity, and meaning-making and their implications in the practice of cultural psychiatry and global mental health.
  3. Describe how various definitions of culture are used in diverse aspects of mental health work, including clinical care, training, advocacy, and research.
  4. Integrate the multiple conceptualizations of culture into the practice of cultural psychiatry and global mental health.
Day 1 (Thursday, April 19, 2018)
7:30 – 8:30 Registration and Breakfast    
8:30 – 8:45 Welcome Remarks & Housekeeping Details    
8:45 – 10:15 Plenary Lecture

What does culture mean? Insights from Anthropology

Byron Good, 

Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good


Laurence Kirmayer

10:15 –10:45 Break      
10:45 – 11:30 Charles Hughes Award Lecture: Observational measurement of family functioning for a low-resource setting: Adaptation and feasibility in a Kenyan sample Ali Giusto    
11:30 – 12:15 John Spiegel Award Lecture: Are the arguments against global mental health and its perceived cultural insensitivity true? Monika Karazja    
12:15 – 1:15 Lunch      
1:15 – 2:45 Concurrent Sessions      
  Symposium 1: Culture and Ecological Context in Global Mental Health: Comparative Studies from Mexico, Haiti, Italy, and the United States Moderator: Janis Jenkins    
  How culture and other contextual factors influenced the development and success of a mobile mental health clinic in rural Haiti David Grelotti    
  Adolescent mental health in a Mexican border city: Experience, cultural meaning, and sociopolitical context Olga Olivas Hernández    
  Culture and psychiatry in Catholic exorcism Thomas J. Csordas     
  Workshop 1: An ACT Approach to Discovering the Meaning of Culture Kenneth Fung    
  Workshop 2: Publishing in Cultural Psychiatry Laurence Kirmayer 

Roberto Lewis-Fernández 

Atwood Gaines 

Neil Aggarwal

  Paper Session 1: War, Conflict, and Mental Health Moderator: James Griffith    
  The impact of war-induced migration on cultural identity formation in adolescence: A family perspective Marjorie Rabiau    
  Mental health and psychosocial problems among conflict-affected adults in northern Bougainville: A rapid qualitative assessment Shoshanna Fine    
  Culture, violence and resistance in the Middle East: Experiences of women through an internet platform “Uprising of Women in the Arab World” Nathalie Baba    
2:45 – 3:15 Break    
3:15 – 4:45 Concurrent Sessions      
  Symposium 2: Cultural Affordances: An Eco-psycho-social Framework for Rethinking Culture in Psychiatry Moderator: 

Samuel Veissière

  Cultural affordances and epistemic biases Samuel Veissière    
  Cultural affordances and folk psychiatric knowledge Laurence Kirmayer    
  Cultural affordances and maternal expectations Ana Gómez-Carrillo    
  Workshop 3: Hope Modules:  Brief Psychotherapeutic Interventions to Counter Demoralization Among Refugees and Forcibly Displaced People James Griffith    
  Paper Session 2: Cross-Cultural Assessment, Adaptation, and Global Mental Health Moderator: Mitchell Weiss    
  Revised outline for Cultural Formulation based on experience with the Cultural Formulation Interview for DSM-5 Mitchell Weiss    
  Using cultural and contextual insights to inform implementation strategies: An example of family therapy in Kenya Bonnie Kaiser    
  Lessons from a cross-cultural China-Canada suicide prevention research project June Lam    
  Paper Session 3: Safety and Cultural Consultation Moderator: Neil Aggarwal    
  Are we talking as professionals or as mothers?   Mónica Ruíz-Casares    
  Cultural consultation in context: A comparison of intake and triage in Montreal, London and Paris George Eric Jarvis    
  Cultural safety in working with refugees and immigrants: The case of Farsi-speaking newcomers in Quebec Fahimeh Mianji    
4:45 – 5:45 Poster Session      
  The relationship of the concept of cultural competence and strategies of care for culturally diverse populations in the Brazilian public health system Luciana Carvalho    
  Indigenous research methods: A systematic review Alexandra Drawson    
  Mental illness among Bhutanese refugees in the United States: An overview Aditi Giri    
  Cross-institutional collaboration between Cambodia and the University of Colorado Isabella Guillemet    
  The ‘global’ engulfs the ‘local’: Voices from community mental health organisations in Kerala, India Sudarshan R. Kottai    
  “Who am I after all this and where should I say that I am from?” Defining a culture of displacement and its impact on refugee self-framing and well being Grace Kyoon-Achan    
  Loss and opportunity in acculturation: recovery as clarification of cultural identity, a case study Varsha Narasimhan    
  Assessment for experience of microaggressions and coping strategies in young adults of color in the Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston Brandon Newsome    
  Islamic faith and tradition shape ethical perspectives on refugee patients in Jordan: A phenomenological approach Eric Rafla-Yuan    
  Catatonia in a Yemeni refugee Jyotsna Ranga    
  Implemeting a new training program in social and cultural psychiatry in regional Australia Bipin Ravindran    
  Lost in interpretation: A case report of navigating a communication mistake with a Syrian refugee Diana Robinson    
  The complexity of culture: A case study of mental health services for LGBTQ* communities Jann Tomaro    
  Cultural factors in the life story perspective delaying and influencing patient treatment and outcomes Souraya Torbey    
  The academic success for international students who do not speak English as the first language Kuan-l Wu    
6:00–8:00 Reception      


Day 2 (Friday, April 29, 2018)
7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast  
8:30 – 10:00 Plenary Panel (Part 1) 

What does “culture” mean? Clinical, research, training, and policy perspectives

Cécile Rousseau 

Elizabeth Carpenter-Song Marjorie Kagawa Singer 

Paul Brodwin


Roberto Lewis-Fernández

10:30 – 11:15 Plenary (Part 2)

Breakout discussion (4 groups)

Shannon Suo (Clinical)

Hendry Ton (Training)

Bonnie Kaiser (Research)

Neil Aggarwal (Policy)

11:15 – 12:00 Plenary (Part 3)

Reporting back and discussion (all)

12:00 – 1:30 Lunch and Business Meeting  
1:30 – 3:00 Concurrent Sessions  
  Symposium 3: Cultures and the Opioid Epidemic in Central Appalachia Moderator: Larry Merkel


Joseph Westermeyer

  Representations of Appalachian cultures in the opiate epidemic Claire Snell-Rood
  Cultures of health care and the Appalachian opioid epidemic Larry Merkel
  Cultures of policy and the opioid epidemic in Central Appalachia Diana Robinson
  Works-in-Progress: A Grant-Writing Workshop Moderator: Alan Teo
  The cultures of competence in multicultural societies  Ana Gómez-Carrillo
  Barriers to mental health services for Hmong elders Xiong Yee
  Pursuing cultural competence at the organizational and clinical levels: A system-based model applied to a community center in NYC Pamela Montano-Arteaga

Xiaojue Hu

  Resident Consultation Session Kenneth Fung
  Workshop 4: All Psychotherapy is Cross-Cultural* Steven Wolin 

Vincenzo Di Nicola

  Paper Session 4: Attention to Culture in Service Provision and Training Moderator: Hendry Ton
  The aesthetic imperative in cross-cultural clinical encounters Helgi Eyford
  The evolving definition of culture and the cultural humility approach in mental health service provision, training, and research Mayio Konidaris-Kozirakis
  Can Oregon legislation successfully mandate cultural competence in health care? Amela Blekic
3:00 – 3:30 Break  
3:30 – 5:00 Concurrent Sessions  
  Symposium 4: Culture and Curriculum: A Comparison of Transcultural Psychiatry Training in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal Moderator: 

George Eric Jarvis

Discussant: Kenneth Fung

  Culture and curriculum: Successes and challenges after 50 years of transcultural psychiatry At McGill University George Eric Jarvis
  Developing transcultural psychiatry in community, hospital, university and residency training programs: Toronto perspective Lisa Andermann
  Cultivating culture in Canada’s capital Azaad Kassam
  Workshop 5: Teaching Adults in the Changing Culture of Medicine and Society Shannon Suo, Hendry Ton, Andres Sciolla, Ruth Shim


*Participation in this workshop is limited to 14 and pre-registration is required. 

  Workshop 6: Intersectional Identities at Play in the “Culture” of American Psychiatry: How Do Mental Health Professionals Understand Their Obligations to Intervene When Discrimination Occurs in Clinical Settings? Ian Hsu, Nikhil Patel 

Nina Sreshta

  Paper Session 5: Youth Mental Health Moderator: 

Cécile Rousseau

  Cultural safety in youth mental health services: clinicians’ and families’ use of culture as a mediator for dialogue Janique Johnson-Lafleur
  Parent-child emotion discussion is linked to children’s socio-emotional competence in Chinese American immigrant families Kaley Curtis
  College drinking culture: Nature and extent Joseph Westermeyer




Day 3 (Saturday, April 21, 2018)
7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast  
8:30 – 10:00 Concurrent Sessions  
  Symposium 5: From Cultural Competency to Structural Competency in Psychiatric Training and Practice Moderator: Helena Hansen
  Interdisciplinary frameworks and collaborative fieldwork on homelessness, severe mental illness and incarceration as clinical tools Joel Braslow
  Structural competency in mental health: Psychiatry residents and peer mental health specialists as community navigators for clinical teams Selena Suhail-Sindhu
  Peer mental health specialists: A structural intervention meant to further community-centered mental healthcare in Harlem, NYC Parth Patel
  Workshop 7: Exploring the Complexity of Cultural Identity and Cultural Stressors/Supports Through the Film The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble Francis Lu, Ruth Shim Andrés Sciolla, Shannon Suo
  Workshop 8: Microaggressions Tatiana Claridad

Ranna Parekh, Jai Gandhi Rustin Dakota Carter

  Paper Session 6: Task-Shifting in Mental Health Care Moderator: Bonnie Kaiser
  Brief gatekeeper training for suicide prevention in an ethnic minority population: A controlled intervention Alan Teo
  “Are traditional healers psychotic?” and “I know a healer who cured psychosis”: Sub-cultures among generalist clinicians engaged in mental health task-sharing in rural Nepal Pragya Rimal
  Evolving concepts of culture brokers in mental health care settings Eleanor McGroarty
10:00 – 10:30 Break  
10:30 – 12:00 Concurrent Sessions  
  Symposium 6: Three Ways of Looking at Culture: Social Class, Dialogues & Borders, Camps & Refugees Moderator: 

Vincenzo Di Nicola

Discussant: Steven Wolin

  The still-hidden injuries of class Nadia Daly
  Dialogues, borders, and cultures Vincenzo Di Nicola
  Refugee culture Neda Faregh
  Workshop 9: How to Use the Participatory Photography Assessment Tool (P-PAT) to Engage Children in Research Cross-culturally Mónica Ruíz-Casares
  Workshop 10: Working with Interpreters in Mental Health: Doing Therapy in Slow Motion Georgi Kroupin
  Paper Session 7: Identity, Discrimination, and Societal Context Moderator: Francis Lu
  Three culturally based hypotheses linking blackness, madness, and dangerousness King Davis
  Does the number of reasons matter? A critical review of current evidence on multiple discrimination and health Sylvanna Vargas
  Teaching cultural psychiatry in today’s sociopolitical climate Belinda Bandstra
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch  
1:00 – 2:30 Concurrent Sessions  
  Workshop 11: Teaching Cultural Psychiatry to Address Community Mental Health Challenges Anna Fiskin, Dawn Sung
  Works-in Progress 2 Moderator: 

Roberto Lewis-Fernández

  Exploring intersectionality as an analytic tool for transforming the ‘culture’ of mental health practice Nancy Clark
  A model curriculum for improving clinical language skills among bilingual mental health care providers Michael Alpert
  Perceived discrimination among multiply marginalized groups: The role of hair cortisol as a marker of chronic stress Sylvanna Vargas
  Paper Session 8: Cross-Cultural Concepts of Mental Illness Moderator: Larry Merkel
  A qualitative analysis of women with depression in Bangalore: A focus on women’s experience Pooja Lakshmin
  Missing concept of hazardous and harmful alcohol use in the culture of collective drunkenness among the Peruvian Andean population Sakiko Yamaguchi
  ‘Brain Fag’: Metamorphosis of a symptom, syndrome and society Oyedeji Ayonrinde
2:30 – 2:45 Break  
2:45 – 4:15 Concurrent Sessions  
  Workshop 12: Decolonizing Mental Health: Caregivers as Accomplices on the Frontlines Rosemary Fister
  Paper Session 9 : Indigenous Perspectives Moderator: 

Laurence Kirmayer

  Cultural renewal in indigenous mental health Laurence Kirmayer
  “Culture” across partners in a community-based suicide prevention program for indigenous youth in Ontario, Canada Gerald McKinley
  “Linguistic schizophrenia”: Colonial pathology and cultural re/invention Eden Almasude
  Paper Session 10: Novel Interventions and Approaches Moderator: 

Vincenzo Di Nicola

  A culturally adapted Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills intervention for women with suicidal behaviors in rural Nepal: A single-case experimental design series Claire Aisenstein
  Chinese immigrant use of smartphone apps toward improving child mental health awareness and resource delivery: A pilot study Emily Wu
  The entanglement of spirituality, culture, and psychosis: Expanding our perception of mental illness, engaging traditional healers, and nurturing community Amanda Satterthwaite
4:15 Conference Adjourns