Psychiatrists and Neuroscientists of Indian Origin in Canada: Glimpses

By Shrivastava, Amresh; Natarajan, D. | Indian Journal of Psychiatry, September 2010 | Go to article overview

Psychiatrists and Neuroscientists of Indian Origin in Canada: Glimpses


Shrivastava, Amresh, Natarajan, D., Indian Journal of Psychiatry


Byline: Amresh. Shrivastava, D. Natarajan

Psychiatrists of Indian origin are popular in Canada, being firmly rooted in the Canadian mental health system, and they have been making considerable contributions internationally. The Indian Psychiatric Society has long been collaborating with and inviting contributions from overseas Indian psychiatrists, particularly those in academics, and this collaboration has fructified well. There are several different challenges these psychiatrists have had to face in their own specialty work, with having to adjust to a new culture, new ways of living, and new ways of work. Our colleagues of Indian origin have demonstrated excellence in almost all fields of mental health and neurosciences. There are many popular teachers, outstanding researchers, and psychiatrists in community practice and community development. The Early Psychosis Program, Mood and Anxiety Program, Perinatal Psychiatry, Women's Mental Health, and Postpartum Mental Health are some of their key areas of research. Our basic scientists are involved in experimental design, neurochemistry, imaging, and genetics, where they have made their mark with acclaim. This article highlights some of the achievements of a few members and is by no means completely representative of the entire work that psychiatrists of Indian origin are doing in Canada, providing readers with a glimpse of our labors away from home.

Introduction

0Psychiatrists of Indian origin are popular in Canada. Concerns of international mental health and the contribution of our psychiatrists abroad has been acknowledged since long. [sup][1] International mental health is progressing and physicians from all countries are making efforts for collaborations in service, education, as well as research, [sup][2] and Indian psychiatrists are firmly rooted in Canadian mental health care. They have become a part of the global power, making significant contributions toward international mental health. The knowledge and experience of Indian psychiatrists have given them a certain unique edge required to exceed expectations within the working norms of the field of psychiatry.

Their commitment and integration in academic and clinical work has been absolute. No one thinks of psychiatrists from Indian origin as aliens. As in very many other countries, psychiatrists of Indian origin have excelled in Canada. They have gone the extra mile and have been conscientious about their roles and responsibilities.

Although the term 'International medical graduates' and 'Immigrant psychiatrist' do exist, they have become somewhat irrelevant. Psychiatrists from India now share responsibilities in all fields of clinical care, service development, educational research, management, and administration, and the Indian Psychiatric Society has encouraged partnership with our fellow professionals abroad. [sup][3],[4] Indian scientists are contributing in basic sciences as well as in clinical medicine in Canada. [sup][5]

Adjusting to a new country, to a new culture, new ways of living, and new ways of work are obvious, but daunting challenges. The health services, organization and system management is very different and unique. In Canada, it is neither akin to the British form (a system many from the Indian origin are exposed to) nor anywhere close to the Indian system. Many new skills have to be freshly learnt and some skills have to be literally unlearnt. Cultural adjustment for the professionals' families and children has been another area of challenge, besides the severely cold and snowy winters.

Although the government, the licensing body, and the people of Canada had been welcoming, receptive, and generous, our doctors had to go a long way in order to prove themselves. They had to work on adapting skills desired for the local conditions. Like in any other country, an immigrant physician needed to have a license to practice. They had to undergo the local training and pass the examination of the Royal College of Psychiatrists of Canada and obtain the license from the provincial licensing body from the state in which they desired to practice medicine. …

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