~WFMH Conferences~

2001 WFMH World Congress

The World Assembly for Mental Health

Vancouver, Canada, 22-27 July

The Congress management company, Venue West Conference Services, has already mailed a colorful First Announcement to the Federations members to draw attention to the dates of the 2001 World Assembly. Check the conference website at http://www.venuewest.com/wamh2001.

The Assembly (a name chosen by the Canadian organizers to be as inclusive as possible) follows in the tradition of an earlier, highly successful WFMH conference in Vancouver in 1977 which was, according to Former Secretary General Eugene Brodys history of the Federation, the largest and most influential meeting on mental health since WFMHs founding in 1948. He recalls that there were more than double the number of participants originally anticipated, and a “chaos of small meetings” surrounding the official program. The energy generated at the event “put WFMH on the map once again.” Expectations are high for another exceptional meeting when WFMH returns to Vancouver twenty-four years later.

The title of the Assembly is “Respecting Diversity in Mental Health in a Changing World,” reflecting Vancouvers multicultural population with its large Chinese and Indian communities, and also the developing relationships among the countries of the Pacific Rim.

The Official Patrons of the conference in Canada are the countrys Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson; D. Ross Fizpatrick, Senator; and Professor Michael Smith, Nobel Laureate, whose compelling life story is well known to many. Rosalynn Carter, who served as the Patron of the 1977 meeting while she was First Lady of the USA, has agreed to be Grand Patron in 2001. Her support of the event in 1977 contributed greatly to its success, and the organizers are delighted that she has renewed her involvement.

With less than a year to go, planning is in full swing under the direction of Professor Chunilal Roy of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. “Arrangements are falling nicely into place,” he reports. Professor Roy was involved in the organization of the 1977 Congress, which was headed by Professor Tsung-yi Lin, WFMH President in 1975-79 (and now Honorary President), and which also had the support of the University of British Columbia. Professor Roy has assembled a large Canadian organizing committee based on the West Coast, with the addition of WFMH Board member Edward Pennington in Toronto. Professor W.J. Pankratz heads the scientific committee, which has asked for abstracts (not exceeding 300 words) to be submitted to Venue West by 28 February.

Many WFMH groups are preparing submissions. The Consortium on Prevention and Promotion has helped to develop strong tracks at the last two Congresses, and is expected to do so again, keeping up the pace of its Atlanta conference in December 2000. The Committee on Refugees will also contribute to a special program track. A WFMH Collaborating Center, the Institute for Human Ageing at the University of Liverpool in the U.K., is developing a track on mental health and old age. There will be a track on womens mental health, designed with the support of the Womens Committee. A track on productivity and mental health will also be included. The organizers promise a program of diverse topics, as is traditional at this WFMH event, and they are exploring new ideas for subject tracks.

One of the innovations will be a track on behavioral medicine. A new WFMH Collaborating Center, the Applied Behavioral Medicine Research Institute at the State University of New York, Stonybrook, is participating for the first time and has set up a task force to prepare for Vancouver. Behavioral medicine does not address mental illness itself, but focuses on the interplay between psychosocial factors and medical illness. Colloquially known as “Mind-Body Medicine,” it considers the linkage between ones mental state and physical illness. Research has documented that level of disability, impact on well-being, and in some cases morbidity are influenced by psychological factors as well as the degree of disease severity. The behavioral medicine task force will include experts in the field, representatives from health organizations, and regional WFMH members. Its aim is to summarize the knowledge base in behavioral medicine, and to outline the implications for international health policy. (Contact: Joan E. Broderick, Ph.D., Applied Behavioral Medicine Research Institute, Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York 11794-8790. Fax: 631 632 3165. Email: [email protected])

The World Assembly program will have an opening night gala concert following the formal opening ceremony at 4 pm on 22 July. The Margaret Mead and Rees Memorial Lectures will, as usual, be central events, and Eugene B. Brody, who retired as Secretary General at the last Congress, will give the Mead lecture. Margaret Mead herself attended the last Vancouver Congress and spoke at one of the plenary sessions. The distinguished anthropologist was a founding member of WFMH and served as its president in 1956-57.

The main themes of the Assembly are: Understanding Schizophrenia & Current Treatment; Disorders of Mood; Anxiety Disorders and Management; Consumers in Mental Health & Recovery; New Research in Personality Disorder; Philosophy of Mental Health; Cultures and Mental Health; Public Policy and Mental Health; Alternative Medicine and Mental Health; and Mental Health and Sexuality. In addition, there is a long list of sub-themes, and the organizers intend to arrange debates on controversial issues.

For further information, contact:

Venue West Ltd.

645 – The Landing

375 Water Street

Vancouver, British Columbia

Canada V6B 5C6

Tel. 604 681 5226

Fax 604 681 2503

Electronic submission of abstracts (Deadline: 28 February) is strongly encouraged at [email protected] and information will be updated periodically at the conference web site, www.venuewest.com/wamh2001. The abstract form is on the website.

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