Department of Epidemiology - Cassel Distinguished Lecture

The Ethnoepidemiology of Mental Health: Insights from Latin America
Naomar Almeida Filho, M.D., Ph.D., President of the Federal University of Bahia and Professor at the Institute of Collective Health in Salvador, Brazil.
August 26, 4-5 PM, 1301 McGavren-Greenberg Hall, SPH, UNC-CH.

In this lecture, Dr.Filho will present some insights drawn out of his continued attempts at inoculating the internalist ethnographic approach with methodological elements of epidemiologic extraction, and vice-versa, particularly in the field of mental health research.

Preliminarily, he will propose and justify using the term ethnoepidemiology to designate epidemiologic research of sociocultural risk factors and ethnically defined risk groups regarding mental problems, as well as studies of lay models of occurrence of mental illness in populations. As an illustration, he will present and discuss selected methodological features of two studies. One is a case-control study on sociocultural determinants of selected non-psychotic conditions conducted in urban areas of Brazil. The other is an exploratory study of social representations and practices related to mental health carried out in Bahia, Northeast Brazil. Then he will emphasize methodological developments derived from his experience of conducting research on ethnic,cultural and socio-economic correlates of mental health in a rapidly changing, diverse and deeply unequal society. Finally, he intends to discuss some broad implications concerning the study of mental health problems from an integrated ethnographical and epidemiological points of view, as an attempt to contextualize research findings into new conceptual models.