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Indian J Psychiatry. 2016 Apr-Jun; 58(2): 223–225.
PMCID: PMC4919971

Indian psychiatric society initiated travel fellowship training in psychiatry: A unique opportunity for young psychiatrists

Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) is a powerful force in world psychiatry. Over the past several decades, it has reached several milestones; the latest of which is the initiation of Travel Fellowship Training for young faculties in psychiatry, within the country. The Committee for Research and Education Foundation and Training of IPS has started this Travel Fellowship Training for young life fellow/life ordinary member psychiatrists of IPS. This educational program focuses in strengthening the clinical skills of young psychiatrists in their areas of interest by undergoing training in any institute, within the country under the guidance of experts of the country. In the year, 2015 – IPS has awarded the travel fellowship to Dr. Darpan Kaur, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, MGM Medical College, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra and Dr. Sujita Kumar Kar, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, U.P.

IPS has arranged all the logistics for travel (to and fro airfare in economic class), accommodation and facilitation of official processes at the training institute.

In this report, Dr. Sujita Kumar Kar and Dr. Darpan Kaur share their experience of their fellowships. Dr. Sujita Kumar Kar had opted for the fellowship training on the “Brain Stimulation Techniques” from 23rd November 2015 to 5th December 2015 and Dr. Darpan Kaur had opted for the fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry from 1st to 15th November 2015.

Dr. Sujita Kumar Kar undertook training at the Department of Psychiatry at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru under the mentorship of Prof. B. N. Gangadhar, Prof. Jagadisha Thirthalli, and Dr. Urvakhsh M. Mehta. In the 2 weeks training on “Brain Stimulation Techniques” at the NIMHANS, Bengaluru, the focus was to improve the clinical skills in the newer brain stimulation techniques like – repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), and some unique methods in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) (especially bi-frontal and electroencephalogram [EEG] monitored ECT).

With discussion with the mentors, the following schedule was drawn:

  • Observing different brain stimulation techniques such as rTMS, tDCS, ECT (especially bi-frontal and EEG monitored ECT)
  • Hands on training on these techniques
  • Discussion regarding difficult issues related to these techniques
  • Reading the resource materials provided
  • Writing two scientific papers
  • Making a presentation on a selected topic before completing the training.

The trainee directly observed and conducted the hands-on administration of TMS sessions including neuro-navigation assisted rTMS, continuous and intermittent theta burst stimulation, and cerebellar TMS. He had observed tDCS procedure in patients with OCD, alcohol dependence (for anticraving purpose), and persistent auditory hallucination as well as EEG monitored ECT and bi-frontal ECT. Two academic articles are under preparation for publication. He presented a seminar on the topic, “efficacy and predictors of treatment response in rTMS in depression”. At the end of the fellowship, the trainee acquired skills to administer different types of TMS, tDCS, and ECT. He has also acquired knowledge about these brain-stimulation techniques including the potential of setting up similar laboratories elsewhere. He developed the competence of planning research using these techniques. The hospitality and support of the mentors, staff, and residents were unimaginable. Overall, it was a nice and memorable experience of academic, clinical learning which will be helpful in clinical practice, teaching as well as research collaboration.

A travel fellowship program of short duration is an excellent opportunity of strong relevance to current generation psychiatrists to build up skills in their area of interest. A mentor–mentee model adds on a special dimension to training and skill building. There is a perceived need for training and skill building for child and adolescent psychiatry at national and global level. Dr. Darpan Kaur undertook training at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NIMHANS, Bengaluru, which is one of the pioneer institutes for training in child and adolescent psychiatry under the overall mentorship of Dr. Shoba Srinath, Senior Professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS. The aims and objectives of the 2 weeks training were:

  • To observe, evaluate, learn about detailed clinical evaluation, diagnosis, and management of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders
  • To improve clinical skills with respect to child psychiatric disorders
  • To improve academic skills, publication, and research skills in child and adolescent psychiatry
  • To gain new perspectives about multidisciplinary models of care, community care, school mental health, children in difficult circumstances, etc.

During 2 weeks training, the trainee attended the outpatient and inpatient services, observed and interacted with faculty in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for meaningful discussions. She also observed the clinical work of the Senior Residents (DM, PDF trainees) and Junior Residents (MD Psychiatry trainees) posted in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. As part of the clinical training, Dr. Darpan Kaur attended clinical rounds, grand rounds, observed psychotherapy sessions, and academic sessions. During the period of training, the trainee observed the clinical evaluation of various neuro-developmental and child and adolescent psychiatric disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disability, communication disorders, specific learning disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, childhood-onset schizophrenia, pediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other such emotional and behavioral disorders to name a few. She also observed, faculty evaluating some special medico-legal cases of patients referred from observation homes, custody evaluations, etc. She also visited the family therapy ward and observed a family therapy session and the perinatal psychiatry ward and observed evaluation of infant mental health and mother-baby bond evaluation. She learnt different aspects of diagnosis, management and research, and community training in child and adolescent psychiatric disorders, which can be summarized as:

  • Mutiaxial diagnosis in child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Screening and detailed evaluations for children and adolescents using predesigned clinical evaluation records
  • Administration of child psychiatric rating scales
  • Child and adolescent psychopharmacotherapy. Life skills for children and adolescents, survival, and safety skills in intellectual disability
  • Use of concept books, story sessions, specific toys for skill training in autism and intellectual disability
  • Widened perspective on pediatric consultation-liaison models, community care models, school consultation models, multidisciplinary models of care in child psychiatry, and NGO liaising
  • Broadened research perspectives in child and adolescent psychiatry on clinical as well as community-related research interests and ideas, especially school mental health research, mental health of children and adolescents with chronic medical conditions, child mental health services evaluations, pediatric consultation-liaison, etc.

The trainee felt that the travel fellowship program definitely had immediate benefits for personal skill enhancement. She gained new insights and perspectives in child and adolescent psychiatry. The trainee felt that she had certainly improved upon her clinical skills and gained additional experience by observing, evaluating and presenting cases across out-patient and in-patient settings with special emphasis on child and adolescent multi-axial diagnostic assessment, pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy and application of special scales and tools in child and adolescent psychiatry. The trainee is extremely grateful to her mentor and faculty and residents at Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS for making the whole training experience very pleasant and wonderful. Posttraining, she was able to develop future goals regarding improving her own academic, research and publication skills in child and adolescent psychiatry and also work towards developing meaningful collaborations and services for child and adolescent mental health in the community.

The trainees sincerely felt that the IPS travel fellowship program provided an excellent opportunity to sharpen their skills in their area of interest. The requisites for applying to the Travel Fellowship Training were simple, and the eligibility criteria were also more inclusive, which was helpful. The response from the IPS and the coordinators in the overall logistics of the Travel Fellowship Training was very prompt and efficient The trainees earnestly encourage young early career psychiatrists who are life fellow's/life ordinary members of Indian Psychiatric Society to apply in future for the travel fellowship program.

Financial support and sponsorship

Both the authors had availed Travel Fellowship sponsored by Indian Psychiatric Society.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Acknowledgment

We acknowledge the initiative of Indian Psychiatric Society for this Travel Fellowship Training. Our sincere thanks to Prof. Ajit Avasthi and Dr. AdarshTripathi to laid its foundation. Dr. Sujita Kumar Kar heartily acknowledges Prof. B. N. Gangadhar Prof. Jagadisha Thirthalli, Dr. Urvakhsh M. Mehta, Dr. Ramajayam G as well as National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences administration for their guidance and support. Dr. Darpan Kaur acknowledges her mentor Senior Professor Shoba Srinath, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences wholeheartedly for her guidance and support. She also sincerely acknowledges Professor and HOD, Satish Girimaji, Professor Shekhar Seshadri, Professor John Vijaysagar, Assistant Professor Priti Jacob and the residents and administration of Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences for their guidance and support.


Articles from Indian Journal of Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of Wolters Kluwer -- Medknow Publications