A Cross-Cultural Experience in the Psychiatric Wards of Changsha, China

During her second year CASE rotation Dr. Amelia Villagomez visited psychiatric wards in Changsha China (Hunan province). She shared this description of her experience:

"The experience provided me the opportunity to see how similar and yet how varied psychiatric presentations and treatments are across the globe. In Xiangya hospital, drug company pens and tissue boxes filled the busy outpatient attending's office who had multiple medical students hovering around a patient in distress -- a familiar sight. Yet not so recognizable was an almost entire hospital with patients experiencing first break psychosis (given limited resources, most beds were allocated to first break patients) or mania and the absence of a requirement to obtain consent to speak with family members (physicians there found it peculiar that we would require such consent given that it was in the patient's best interest to have collateral information). The experience in China helped broaden my Western-centric view and provided me with recognition of the similarity of psychiatric symptoms despite a significantly different cultural backdrop. I am extremely grateful to the residency program for helping to arrange this cross-cultural experience; without help from the program in securing funding and collaboration with the Yale China Association this trip would not have been possible."

Dr. Amelia Villagomez, Yale Psychiatry Resident