Dialogue Volume 13 Issue 4 2017 - Page 15

COUNCIL AWARD An advocate for culturally sensitive mental health Dr. Kenneth Fung honoured for work D r. Kenneth Fung, of Toronto, has re- ceived the College’s Council Award for his work in developing culturally sensi- tive mental health programs. Dr. Fung is an internationally acclaimed psychia- trist with particular expertise in cultural psychiatry. He has worked tirelessly to advance accessible and culturally inclusive mental health services for ethno- racial and marginalized communities in Canada. In so doing, he has helped break down barriers to care and reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness in our communities. Dr. Fung is the founding and clinical director of the Asian Initiative in Mental Health (AIM) at Toronto Western Hospital. AIM serves Toronto’s large Asian com- munity, offering psychiatric services in English, Manda- rin and Cantonese. The program is also a training ground for medical students and residents in cultural psychiatry. AIM serves more than 200 patients every month in a comprehensive, integrated model of care. The impetus behind AIM’s establishment in 2002 was Dr. Fung’s recognition of the difficulties Asian immi- grants and refugees faced in accessing mental health ser- vices due to language and cultural barriers, as well as the pervasive stigma associated with mental health issues in the community. He strongly believes that understanding the unique historical, cultural and socioeconomic context that shape a patient’s overall well-being and their ap- proach to mental health are critical components of care. Over the years, Dr. Fung has expanded his efforts with other Asian, Aboriginal, African-Canadian, Latino and Portuguese communities to improve mental health and health equity. He is also a dedicated researcher, having led numerous studies in cultural psychiatry to advance the field, and conducting ground breaking research and collaborations on other issues of stigma, such as HIV. Dr. Fung is an associate professor at the University of Toronto where he is active as a co-leader, trainer and teacher of cultural psychiatry in residency training. In addition to leading core educational experiences for ju- nior residents, he is a fierce advocate for more curricula time to teach culture and psychiatry, and is leading a national initiative to further such training for residents across the country. His passion and expertise have been recognized in both national and international psychiatric circles. He is currently the President-elect of the Society of the Study of Psychiatry and Culture, the Education Committee Chair and member of the Operations Committee at the ISSUE 4, 2017 DIALOGUE 15