Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) 2019 – Psychiatry Section

November 7, 2019 – November 9, 2019

The Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) 2019, hosted students, medical students, residents, doctors, global workers, engineers, educators, and anyone else interested in being part of Gods medical work. There was a wide variety of speakers at the meetings as well as a diverse group of exhibits. CMDA members hosted and presented in many of the sessions and there was a full complement of specialty sections available to provide information and encouragement to get involved. The Psychiatry Section members Dr. Mary Carins, Dr. Bryan Cairns, Dr. Samuel Thielman, Dr. Richard Baggé, Dr. Barney Davis, and Dr. Roger Brown made presentations in Breakout Sessions 5, 6, and 7. Open Speakers Link to the right to access the presentations.

Southeast Christian Church

920 Blankenbaker Parkway

Louisville, KY 40243

Friday, November 8, Breakout Session 5 (4:00 pm)

Student Building (Block) SMC 212 Foundation Room

Psychiatry Section Members: Dr. Bryan Cairns and Dr. Mary Cairns

Title: Global Mental Health: Psychiatry, Missions, and treating “the least of these”

Abstract: Psychiatric illnesses constitute 14% of the GBD (Global Burden of Disease) and are a major “neglected” NCD (Non-Communicable Disease) in both medical missions and the global health community at large. Using real-world clinical vignette, we plan to introduce attendees to core aspects of GMH (Global Mental Health) in the hopes of encouraging more Christian workers to integrate this into their clinical practice and/or vision for missions. NOTE: while this presentation will use some medical jargon concepts which will be more familiar to health-care professionals, much of its content will also be highly applicable to non-medical personnel.


Cairns Presentation Here


Saturday, November 9, Breakout Session 6 (8:00 am)

Student Building (Block) SMC Room 21

Psychiatry Section Members: Dr. Richard Baggé, Dr. Samuel Thielman
Title: Resilience and Sustaining Global Workers

Abstract: Psychiatry has played an increasing role in the support of Christian expatriate staff working cross-culturally. Mental health issues have always affected cross-cultural workers but were underreported historically. This has helped shaped some unrealistic expectations for mission staff. Attention to mental health in cross-cultural workers has increased with more candor in social media and more willingness to access services.

Today, cross-cultural mission workers frequently work in impoverished or conflict-prone settings with more exposure to violence. Psychological services for cross-cultural workers were developed in the late 1960s and psychiatric services were introduced in the late 1980s. The role of psychiatrists in service development and delivery to cross-cultural workers will be highlighted. New opportunities to address the needs of the church in traumatized communities will also be addressed.

Missionaries and other overseas Christian workers are subject to unique stressors, and providing proper support for this group requires a commitment from sending organizations. Despite the fact that in the past mental health problems in missions have been neglected, missions organizations have developed an increasing capacity for supporting missionaries. This presentation describes best practices for behavioral health support. We will discuss how the organizations we have worked with have reduced stigmatization, developed sound procedures for evaluating, supporting, and triaging missionaries and their families who develop psychiatric problems. We will review current medical thinking about resilience, compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization, and burnout and discuss how these concepts can be used to inform medical support for expatriate Christian workers.


Baggé Presentation Here

Thielman Presentation Here


Saturday, November 9, Breakout Session 7 (9:30 am)

Student Building (Block) SMC Room 21

Psychiatry Section Members: Dr. Barney Davis, Dr. Roger Brown

Title: On-field Member Care Psychiatry: Who, What, How, and Where

Abstract: Given geographic separation in relatively remote regions of work, increased likelihood of exposure to traumatic events, the day to day drain of living in difficult areas, and exposure to the impact of poverty, hunger, and geopolitical deprivation, missionaries often experience a need for timely and professional psychiatric assessment and treatment, often unavailable or requiring significant expense of travel and time to access such care. We will describe two different models of provision of psychiatric and other mental health services “on the field”: 1) established clinical location with comprehensive outpatient capabilities, located geographically in areas where there is greatest need, and 2) “itinerant care”, on-field in-person visits on both regular and on-demand bases. Both models also rely significantly on virtual (video based telepsychiatry) capability to maintain clinical contact. We will discuss the pros and cons of both models as well as the unique problems encountered in the provision of best care in difficult circumstances.

VIDEO here

Brown Presentation Here

Davis Presentation Here

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