Politico New York - "Bringing Mental Health To Liberia: Mount Sinai Residents Mentor Nurses A World Away" - Dan Goldberg

New York, NY
 – October 4, 2017  –– 

Kebbeh Subah was in her home staring down at the screen, four hours ahead and 4,600 miles away near the West African coast. Issa Bagayogo, MD, PhD, a fourth-year psychiatry resident at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, was sitting in a borrowed office on the second floor of Mount Sinai Beth Israel. Dr. Bagayogo was holding his fourth video-conferencing session with Subah, a 30 year old Liberian nurse, whose dream is to become a mental health professional in a country that has only three psychiatrists for its 4.6 million people. Only one of those is a native Liberian. They chat like this roughly once a week, part of a pilot program from the Mount Sinai Health System that pairs residents like Dr. Bagayogo with Liberian nurses like Subah. Dr. Bagayogo is one of the nine residents participating in the program, which aims to improve mental health care in Liberia. Mount Sinai, which partnered with the Liberian Ministry of Health and the Carter Center, donated nine laptops and nine hotspots, though the internet connection is a persistent problem. The pilot program is scheduled to run through the academic year and, if successful, could scale up, said Craig Katz, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry, associate professor of medical education and director of the program in global mental health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Katz used to make regular trips to Liberia where he taught psychiatry to groups of nurses. He would go for one week and a resident would stay an additional two weeks. This current program is an outgrowth of those trips. For roughly the same price as sending two Sinai psychiatrists to Liberia, the medical center could set up this residency program for an entire year, Dr. Katz said.

- Issa Bagayogo, MD, PhD, Resident Physician, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

- Craig L. Katz, MD, Clinical Professor, Psychiatry, Associate Professor, Medical Education, Director, Program in Global Mental Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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Additional coverage:

The New Democrat