Watching one’s own family members suffer through the onset and treatment of a chronic disease can be very distressing—and even more so when the health care system designed to deliver their treatment is ill-designed to support a patient’s overall well-being.
The universality of such afflictions is exemplified by Vikram Patel’s account of his mother’s epic struggle with a range of chronic diseases in India.
Over the course of a decade, The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School witnessed how a technically sophisticated health care system missed his mother’s personal agency and struggle while attending to her numerous diagnoses.
Patel will share the growing evidence on the economic and social consequences of poor-quality care for chronic diseases in the global context and his own work to improve the quality of care for people with chronic diseases.
Patel champions the need to radically reframe the management of chronic conditions to realize the aspirations of person-centered care.
Recognized for his leading research in global mental health, Patel has dedicated his research career to raising the global profile of mental health problems through epidemiological research that demonstrates the burden of mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries and their strong association with poverty and with other public health priorities, such as HIV and child growth and development.
He has also been a leader in intervention research in which he has applied a systematic approach to the design, delivery and evaluation of contextually appropriate psychosocial interventions provided by lay and community health providers.
As recently as 10 years ago, it was difficult to imagine mental health problems being considered as a global health priority. Today, the situation is radically different, with considerable attention from a diverse range of global health stakeholders, backed by resources and focused on mental health, particularly in disadvantaged and low-resource contexts.
Patel’s work and leadership has played a critical role in making this happen. His research has challenged many of the myths surrounding mental health problems in the global context, demonstrating that these problems are universal forms of human suffering.
Hosted by: Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds, special installment jointly hosted by the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.