World Association of Cultural Psychiatry

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Call for Papers | 5th World Congress of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry

Achieving Global Mental Health Equity: 

Making Cultural Psychiatry Count

  • Pre-Congress Day: October 10, 2018
  • Congress: October 11–13 (Thursday–Saturday), 2018
  • Location: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, New York NY
  • Deadline for all submissions is FEBRUARY 15, 2018
  • We only accept submissions via Submittable.

Culture affects every aspect of clinical care, including what type of help patients prefer and seek, how providers communicate, how mental health professionals classify disorders, how healthcare systems organize service delivery, and how governments prioritize healthcare funding decisions. Yet, because the impact of culture is so pervasive, it can become invisible. As a result, cultural awareness can be challenging to incorporate into the daily practice of clinicians, researchers, educators, administrators, and policymakers. Patients and their relatives may also struggle to understand the impact of culture on illness and care, including on the structure of mental healthcare systems.

A key goal of cultural psychiatry is to help develop culturally and contextually valid interventions, strategies, and policies. However, the delivery of mental healthcare faces real-life constraints that challenge how practical, teachable, fundable, implementable, and replicable these interventions can be.

The 5th World Congress of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry will highlight the work of individuals and groups from around the world who are applying cultural psychiatry principles and practices in their daily activities across a broad range of mental health-related responsibilities.

Specifically, the types of questions to be discussed at the World Congress include:

  • How can diverse public mental health systems provide care in ways that are locally appropriate, financially sustainable, and responsive to evidence-based practices usually developed in affluent settings?
  • What are the best ways for service planners and providers to identify and tackle disparities in care across cultural groups?
  • How can trust, therapeutic alliance, and shared decision-making be enhanced in clinical encounters challenged by culture-related barriers?
  • What are the best ways to teach, include in service planning, and incorporate into clinical practice a more comprehensive definition of culture that encompasses multiple aspects of identity?
  • What processes have worked best for highlighting to policymakers the need to address mental health needs and disparities across cultural groups in low- and middle-income communities?
  • How can addressing these needs and disparities in low- and middle-income countries help them attain their Sustainable Development Goals? What is the “business case” for cultural psychiatry?
  • What innovative training methods have been developed to help trainees identify and address the impact of culture on mental healthcare?
  • How can providers best elicit the cultural views and expectations of their patients and their social networks in ways that are feasible and useful in high-demand settings?  How can this information be applied in formulating and conducting effective treatment plans?
  • What approaches have been used to leverage community and clinical resources (such as physical health services, local healers, peer-run organizations, and faith-based communities) to expand access to mental healthcare in underserved areas? What are the strengths and limitations of these approaches?

The World Congress will provide a venue for frank and rich international exchange on these and other related questions essential to the implementation of cultural psychiatry in diverse clinical settings. 

Conference Learning Objectives 

After attending this meeting, participants will be able to:
  1. Identify the impact of culture on illness presentation, treatment preferences and choices, patient and family engagement, provider behavior, and healthcare system organization as seen in various clinical, policy, and advocacy settings around the world.
  2. Describe the range of clinical, policy, and advocacy strategies being planned and implemented globally to apply the principles and practices of cultural psychiatry in routine care.
  3. Discuss the multiple aspects of culture being included in these implementation efforts, including language, religion/spirituality, nativity status, gender identity, race/ethnicity, geographical origin, citizenship status, class, caste, tribe, occupation, and sexual orientation.
  4. Identify multiple approaches to enhance the equity of mental healthcare access, quality, and outcomes across cultural groups.
  5. Describe ways in which provider organizations, patient and family advocates, researchers, and policymakers can work together to improve the practical impact of cultural psychiatry principles and practices.

Abstract Submission Information

The 5th World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry is applying to offer continuing education credit to physicians nationwide and, in New York State, to social workers and other professionals. In order to fulfill the requirements of the CE granting office, we must submit several things from each presenter: (1) CV, (2) conflict of interest disclosure form, (3) and presentation slides - or, for those not using slides, an outline of the presentation. CVs and disclosure forms will be required upon submission of abstracts. Slides will be collected during the conference. Please note that these materials will NOT be distributed or used for any purpose other than fulfilling requirements of the CE office. Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing Roberto Lewis-Fernandez at

Abstract Submission Categories

Abstract forms can be submitted for a Plenary, Special Session, Workshop, Symposium, Individual Paper, or Poster. 


1.     Plenary

  • Individual lectures attended by all Congress participants
  • Each plenary lecture is 20 min. long
  • Three lectures per 90-min. plenary session, plus Q&A

2.     Special session

  • Panel presentations, only two-three running concurrently
  • Each panelist speaks for 20 min.
  • Three panelists per 90-min. special session, plus Q&A

Multiple workshops, symposia, and paper sessions will run concurrently:

3.     Workshop

  • Interactive, hands-on group session on a single topic, with a focus on specific skills, debates, or concepts. Submissions must include a timeline of activities
  • 90-min. duration
  • One organizer and up to four co-facilitators

4.     Symposium

  • Panel presentations on a focused topic, submitted as a group
  • Three presentations per panel, each 20 min. long. A discussant may be included, but must allow for 20 min. of open audience discussion
  • 90-min. duration, including 20 min. of Q&A

5.     Individual papers 

  • Individual papers to be assembled by organizers into symposia or paper sessions on related themes
  • Individual papers will be 12-15 min. long
  • Preference will be given to papers that present empirical data

6.     Individual posters

  • Posters should present empirical data and/or projects related to the conference theme
  • The following headings must be included: title, authors, institution, objectives, background, methods, (partial or final) results, conclusions, and references (in APA format)
  • Poster size should be 120x180 cm (4x6 ft.); font size of ≥30 pts. for headers, ≥24 pts. for text


Submissions must include a structured abstract (300-word limit), 2–3 learning objectives, and 2–3 related references. We require CVs and "disclosure of financial relationship" forms for all presenters.

Instructions for Preparing Abstracts

Abstracts should include the following subsections: (1) Background, (2) Aims/Objectives/Issues of Focus, (3) Methods/Proposition, (4) Results/Potential Outcomes, and (5) Discussion/Implications.

Instructions for Preparing Learning Objectives

Please make sure you use learning objectives, not teaching objectives. Teaching objectives state what you are trying to teach. Learning objectives are what you expect the attendee to know or be able to do after attending your presentation. 

The objectives must use action verbs, which allow for the measurement of quantifiable outcomes.  For example, At the conclusion of this presentation learners will be able to:

  1. Define what an action verb is and list three characteristics of it.
  2. Describe two reasons why educational objectives are important
  3. Discuss the importance of action verbs in preparing measurable educational objectives.

An excellent reference for this task is Robert Major’s Preparing Instructional Objectives, 3rd edition, available from if not at your local library.

The deadline for all submission types is January 15, 2018.All submissions undergo a multiple-reviewer selection and scoring process. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent by March, 2018.

After notification of acceptance, all presenters, workshop facilitators, and discussants must confirm their participation and pay the conference registration fee by May 1, 2018, for their submission to be included in the Congress. 

For additional information, please visit the World Congress page at

If you have any questions, please contact:

Amanda Cruz at, phone: 1-646-774-8060 or Oscar Jiménez-Solomon, MPH, at, phone: 1-646-774-8247.

World Association of Cultural Psychiatry