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Date: 2016-12-21
Title: MGH Global Psychiatry Team Teaches Medical Students in Ghana for 7th Year

Seven years ago, there was one psychiatric residency program in Ghana and eight working psychiatrists in a country with a population of over 28 million people. Since then, this has grown to two residencies and 20 psychiatrists. Dr. Carol Wool, an MGH psychiatrist and Global Division faculty member, and MGH colleagues have played a crucial role in that change.

Starting in 2010, Dr. Thad Ulzen, a Ghanaian and the Chief of Psychiatry at Tuscaloosa Medical School, has organized the psychiatry teaching for medical students at the School of Medical Sciences at Cape Coast University, the newest medical school in the country. As the medical school was forming, Dr. Ulzen realized it lacked sufficient faculty to instruct students in mental health, so he reached out to psychiatrists from Ghana and abroad to teach the psychiatric curriculum to students in their fourth and fifth years. One of those people was Carol Wool.

After originally doing the Peace Corps in Ghana as a secondary school science teacher from 1968 to 1970, Dr. Wool was delighted to return to Ghana and join Dr. Ulzen in his vision. In December this year, Dr. Wool traveled to Cape Coast, Ghana to teach medical students for the seventh time and was joined by MGH psychiatrist, Dr. Astrid DesRosiers and PGY IV resident, Dr. Mimi Owusu.

On this trip, the MGH team instructed fourth-year medical students in the diagnosis of psychiatric illnesses as well as differential diagnosis from the perspective of the general practitioner. Drs. Wool, DesRosiers, and Owusu reinforced the same material with fifth-year students, but also added an emphasis on clinical material.

Dr. Wool’s team also trained medical students on psychiatric interviews at Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital. When the students would interview a patient from the inpatient units or the outpatient department, the MGH team would sit in the room and help guide the interview. Then the group would discuss the case so the students could complete the interview with a good differential diagnosis, assessment, and treatment plan.

Dr. Wool and her colleagues from MGH also continue the work they do in Ghana when they are back in Boston. After teaching in the program last year, Dr. Owusu established a tele-education program for psychiatry residents in Kumasi, another large city in Ghana. This has allowed faculty from MGH to deliver lectures to the Kumasi residents and for the residents to share information and ask questions to the lecturers.