Tsinghua University Medical School
Our collaboration with Tsinghua University will include specific programs in psychiatry and mental health. These programs will integrate clinical practice, research, and teaching. In 2006, Professor A. Ka Tat Tsang started introducing his model of behavioral intervention – SSLD (Strategies and Skills Learning and Development) – to colleagues in Tsinghua. Workshops and lectures on the model and its specific applications have been delivered to clinicians at the Yuquan Teaching Hospital and teaching staff in psychiatry. Professor Tsang is planning to test group psychotherapy programs in 2008 and 2009 that will include clinical trials, treatment manuals, training of therapists, and the development of learning aids and courseware.
On the level of community service, we have the opportunity of working with the Medical School of Tsinghua University, which is currently the top-ranking university in China. Together with various academic divisions here at the University of Toronto, including Centre for International Health, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Pharmacy, and teaching hospitals such as Mt. Sinai and St, Michael's, we are now collaborating with Tsinghua University to work on a number of very exciting possibilities. One of our major programs is to assist China's State Commission of Population and Family Planning, which has been known to the international community as the implementer of the one-child policy. The State Commission, however, upon achieving its population control target, is now re-positioning itself to retrain and deploy its 150,000 health care professionals to move into more community health and mental health functions. This initiative represents an exciting opportunity to make a difference at the community level, allowing us to examine the process of knowledge transfer, capacity building, and collaborative innovation.
The other UofT divisions are likely to become involved in assisting Tsinghua University to set up a curriculum in Psychiatry, and hopefully to develop a residents training program (UofT Department of Psychiatry). Our colleagues are also exploring other research possibilities in areas such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), specific clinical issues such as depression, suicide, and addiction. Such initiatives take us to the level of direct practice, which will remain a strong focus in this phase of the China Project. Our objective is to engage with our Chinese colleagues to understand their practice realities, use best-practices elsewhere as reference, and work collaboratively to develop direct practice models and programs that will address their needs. It is expected that this development will consist of a strong research component. We hope to work with the challenging issues of cultural, regional and demographic diversities, and wrestle with epistemological, methodological, and value issues. We are convinced that this is not a one-way process, but valuable lessons can be learned for us to improve our own work here in Canada.