UBC Psychologists Forge Links With China

UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 12 | Oct.
10, 2002

By Steven Taylor & Kerry Jang

Ed.’s Note: The following is a submission to UBC
Reports by members of the Dept. of Psychiatry following their
recent trip to China.

The face of Chinese mental healthcare is changing rapidly
with the adoption of evidence-based approaches to diagnosis
and treatment in place of traditional Chinese medicine and
treatments imported from the Soviet era.

The interest of Chinese clinicians and researchers in psychological
work at UBC began in the early 1990s. Mental health professionals
from the Suzhou Psychiatric Hospital and Hangzhou University
approached UBC psychologist and psychiatrist Dr. W. John Livesley,
then head of the Dept. of Psychiatry.

This past July, a group of UBC psychologists were invited
to the 1,000-bed Anhui Provincial Hospital in Hefei to give
a series of workshops on the research and treatment of mental
disorders. Lying west of Shanghai, Hefei is about the size
of Vancouver, and is a major industrial centre and research
base in China.

Unlike psychiatric departments in many Canadian hospitals,
Chinese hospital departments are truly interdisciplinary.
Although Chinese mental health practitioners are keen to adopt
Western methods of diagnosis and treatment, Western practitioners
can benefit by learning about Chinese systems for integrating
mental health care.

In July a series of meetings and seminars at Anhui hospital
was organized to discuss Western and Chinese approaches to
mental disorders. Dr. Kerry Jang from the Division of Behavioural
Science, UBC Dept. of Psychiatry, Dr. Amy Janeck, Clinic Director
at the UBC Dept. of Psychology, and Dr. Steven Taylor, from
the Division of Behavioural Science in the UBC Dept. of Psychiatry,
all made presentations.

Academic exchanges are important to Chinese hospitals because
they help fulfill criteria Chinese hospitals need to be upgraded
by the Chinese government. Anhui mental health workers have
asked to visit UBC next year in order to extend their training
in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. These exchanges provide
unprecedented opportunities for cross-cultural research. This
kind of research has important implications for the Canadian
health-care system as Canada’s population becomes increasingly

Steven Taylor is a professor and Kerry Jang is an associate
professor both in the Dept. of Psychiatry.