Global Health-Psychiatry Resident returns to Tanzania
Maria Almond completed her training through the Duke Global Health-Psychiatry Residency track in 2010.
In January 2010, after completing her MPH as part of the Global Health Residency Program, she headed to Tanzania for nine months to conduct research, provide clinical care, and teach. She provided the following motivations:
“During medical school at Harvard, I had the opportunity to go to Moshi , Tanzania and work in the area of psychological wellness. While there, I met my current mentor, Dr. Julie Adams, who was then a fourth-year Duke Psychiatry resident doing research and a clinical rotation there. When it came time to choose a residency program, I knew that Duke had had at least one psychiatry resident on the ground in Moshi. Such a forward-thinking, global approach to psychiatric training was rare to find. That convinced me that Dr. Thrall [the residency director] knew how to mobilize people, and if I came to Duke, I would be able to continue with some of my research in Moshi.”
“I considered other residency programs on the East coast, but in the end, I really liked Duke’s practical, flexible program. During my interview, Dr. Thrall had a strong instinct for what I wanted to do, and expressed excitement about helping me attain those goals. She really seemed to be thinking about my own personal needs and my growth as a physician and as a person. Plus, I knew that if I ultimately decided that I didn’t want to go into research, I would still come out of Duke as a great clinician.”
Dr. Almond said the following about her then-upcoming global health experience:
“In January, I’ll go to Tanzania for nine months for the intensive field experience portion of the Global Health-Psychiatry Residency training track where I will be a clinician, a teacher, and a researcher. I’ll be involved with several research projects, including a long-running project on coping with HIV/AIDS and another project on validating and putting into practice a measurement-based tool for depression, so that non-medical professionals in HIV clinics will be able to appropriately monitor depressive symptoms.”
“I’ll also be working as a psychiatrist in Moshi, learning aside the sole practicing psychiatrist in the area. I’ll have a significant teaching role, not only with local medical students, but also with the general practitioners and staff who provide all of the care at Moshi’s regional hospital - where the local inpatient psychiatric ward is located. The inpatient ward for Moshi is a small concrete building housing only the most severely mentally ill - those who could not remain safely with their families. It will be interesting to see how a resource-poor environment functions to care for the mentally ill, to understand what mental health services do exist, who in the community picks up that burden when no formal services are available, and how we can help them improve whatever they are already doing.”
For more information about the Duke Global Health Residency and Fellowship Program, visit the Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health website at www.dukeglobalhealth.org.