by Raymond Devine
An unexpected invitation led to a couple of days in Canada for Nicole Monteiro, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Chestnut Hill College, who recently joined professionals from around the world at a workshop, “Global Health: Bridging the Disciplinary Divides.”
Monteiro was invited to Balsillie College in Waterloo, Ontario, to contribute to a global health workshop. She was asked to attend because of her international experience with mental health and her travels to and work in Ethiopia, West Africa, and Botswana. She joined other professionals from the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, and Africa.
Monteiro said working with international experts at the workshop helped her understand global health as viewed by professionals across the world.
“I had something to learn from them,” Monteiro said. “It was a unique opportunity to learn skills, tactics, and behaviors from other experts.”
The objective of the workshop was to examine how different disciplines understand key global health challenges; how these different approaches improve or impede research and policy progress; and how to overcome interdisciplinary divisions to make progress in research and policy on global health issues.
At the workshop, Monteiro met with a group of global health experts from numerous disciplines. Present were not only mental health experts, but also public health experts, political scientists, policy makers and analysts, social workers, epidemiologists, and sociologists. All told, around 45 participants united to talk and to listen, sharing this concern for the state of the world vis-à-vis mental health.
The Balsillie School of International Affairs is a recognized focal point for research and teaching on global governance and international public policy. Global governance is a movement supporting political cooperation and is focused on creating responses to problems affecting groups of states or regions. The United Nations, for example, is an institution of global governance, as is the World Bank, among others.
The benefits of attending the conference have already found a home in Monteiro’s classroom.
“We try to teach students in our program how it is important to be able to work with and see issues from the perspective of various disciplines — social work, counseling, psychiatry, counseling, art therapy, etcetera,” she said. “Now I plan to use my experience at the conference to illustrate how people from vastly different fields and backgrounds can cross those divides to work on a common problem or challenge.”
Monteiro refers to that strategy as “breaking bounds.”
Monteiro, always busy, will lead a group of CHC students next month on a service learning trip to Ghana, West Africa.