Dr. David Gardner (College of Pharmacy and Department of Psychiatry), Dr. Stan Kutcher (SunLife Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health) and Ms. Yifeng Wei (Research Associate with the SunLife Financial Chair in Mental Health and PhD Candidate) were invited by the Mental Health Institute of Peking University in Beijing, China to conduct their first ever Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychopharmacology Training Program.
The institute is an integrated centre for teaching, research, and psychiatric services and is a WHO Collaborating Centre for research and training in mental health. The training conference was chaired by Dr. Liu Jing and co-chaired by Dr. Wang Yufeng. Both Liu and Wang are child and adolescent psychiatrists and researchers in Pervasive Developmental Disorders and ADHD. In addition, the hosts provided their guests with a number of excellent translators who were junior faculty members – both PhD and MD.
The four day conference covered several clinical topics: pharmacotherapy of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, ADHD, autism, aggression, delirium and tic disorders. General concepts and foundational skills were given priority in presentations and discussions covering therapeutic framework of prescribing psychotropic medicines in children and youth, social issues in child and youth psychopharmacology, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, evidence-based practice and critical appraisal skill development. The focus of rational pharmacotherapy recurred throughout the program and was especially emphasized when treating treatment resistant and complex cases.
A number of local clinicians and researchers shared in the conduct of the workshops for the more than 80 participants in the training program that were from all parts of China. The participants were comprised of child and adolescent psychiatrists, general psychiatrists and pediatricians. The program focused on practical orientation with direct impacts on patient care.
The program received resounding feedback and the Ministry of Health in China and the conference organizers have indicated a great interest and willingness to formalize the field of child and adolescent psychiatry.