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College of Psychology Students Travel to India to Provide Health Care Services

Worked in conjunction with College of Osteopathic Medicine

COP India 1

NSU’s College of Psychology and College of Osteopathic Medicine Students in India

A group of students from NSU’s College of Psychology and College of Osteopathic Medicine spent part of their winter break in India to provide health care services to people in need.

Students from the colleges spent nine days in Saputara in Gujarat, the country’s westernmost state (known for being the home of Mahatma Gandhi). It was the latest in a series of annual trips started in 2014 by Anthony Silvagni, D.O., a Professor and Dean Emeritus of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. Silvagni’s students provide services at Vanbandhu Arogya Dham, a healthcare facility under construction by Ashok Patel, a Gujarati native who owns a dental practice in Massachusetts.

Silvagni said past trips have included faculty and students from other colleges to represent all professions. The 2016 trip marked the first partnership with the College of Psychology.

“The need is overwhelming,” Silvagni said. “India has one of the worst depression rates in the world.”

College of Psychology Associate Professor Stephen Campbell, Ph.D., selected 19 clinical students to accompany him out of a pool of 45 applicants.

COP India 2“Interdisciplinary is becoming the way of doing business, especially in health,” Campbell said.

Campbell said that patients who visited the clinic would receive referrals to his team for mental health services. During the nine days of the trip, Campbell estimates that they worked with more than 1,200 patients performing assessments, providing psychological support to people with medical complications, and using art and play therapy with children.

The trip was an opportunity that doctoral student Christopher Fisher could not pass up.

“I believe that multicultural competence is not just an ethical obligation of mental health professionals, but a moral obligation as well,” he said. ”I viewed this as a firsthand opportunity to gain an invaluable understanding of the perception of mental illness within the Indian culture.”

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