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 Table of Contents    
ORIGINAL ARTICLE  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 61  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 244-252
Young psychiatrists' opinion on the activities of Indian Psychiatric Society: A survey under the aegis of Research, Education, and Training Foundation of Indian Psychiatric Society


1 Department of Psychiatry, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 King Georges Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Web Publication16-May-2019
 

   Abstract 


Aim: The aim of the study is to assess the opinion of young psychiatrists (aged ≤45 years) about the various scientific activities of Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS).
Materials and Methods: An online survey using SurveyMonkey electronic platform was conducted. Data of 350 participants were available for analysis.
Results: The mean age of the participants (spread across 115 institutes/medical colleges) was 33.61 (standard deviation [SD] – 5.32) years and their mean number of years of experience in psychiatry including the training period was 8.25 (SD – 5.5) years. About 70% of the participants (n = 243) rated the current format of the Annual National Conference of the IPS (ANCIPS) to be “good/very good,” and more than half of the participants agreed that the conferences at the zonal and state level help in enhancing the academic knowledge of the participants as well as such activities help in enhancing the social interaction among fellow colleagues. Among the various scientific sessions of the ANCIPS, workshops and guest lectures were rated as very useful by three-fifth of the participants. Regarding opinion in terms of changes required in the current format of the ANCIPS and other conferences/continuing medical educations (CMEs) being conducted by IPS, more than half to about two-third of the participants reported that having more hands-on workshops, having sessions like meet the experts, having mentorship programs, and more expert speakers from India will “definitely” be useful. Majority of the participants expressed that reduction of concurrent sessions would be definitely be beneficial. In terms of modification of ongoing activities and introduction of new activities, about two-third of the participants expressed that having IPS supported travel fellowship programs within the country and abroad, having subject/topic-focused conferences, and starting online CMEs will be definitely be useful.
Conclusions: The present survey reflects that there is a need to have more subject/topic-focused conferences/CMEs, need to introduce online CME activities, reduction of concurrent sessions during the conferences and strengthening the travel fellowship programs. All these can be considered as expectations of the young generation of psychiatrists from the organization like IPS, which should be duly considered while planning future conferences and CMEs.

Keywords: Continuing medical educations, conferences, guidelines, psychiatry

How to cite this article:
Grover S, Sahoo S, Srinivas B, Tripathi A, Avasthi A. Young psychiatrists' opinion on the activities of Indian Psychiatric Society: A survey under the aegis of Research, Education, and Training Foundation of Indian Psychiatric Society. Indian J Psychiatry 2019;61:244-52

How to cite this URL:
Grover S, Sahoo S, Srinivas B, Tripathi A, Avasthi A. Young psychiatrists' opinion on the activities of Indian Psychiatric Society: A survey under the aegis of Research, Education, and Training Foundation of Indian Psychiatric Society. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Jun 24];61:244-52. Available from: http://www.indianjpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2019/61/3/244/258329





   Introduction Top


The Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) was founded in the year of India's independence (1947) at New Delhi and was registered at Patna in the year 1948. It is now one of the biggest psychiatric societies of the world with more than 5500 members.[1] Since its foundation, the IPS has been active in organizing annual conferences and continuing medical education (CME) programs. With the increase in the membership and formation of zonal and state branches, at present, many zonal and state conferences and CMEs are also held regularly for the benefit of the membership. One of the important objectives of the IPS is to promote mental health education among its members, other medical fraternity as well as in general public. In addition, the IPS has the objective of promoting research and to propagate the current developments in the field of psychiatry and mental health for its members and trainees.[1]

Currently, the IPS holds Annual National Conference of the IPS (ANCIPS) and National Midterm CME each year. Apart from these main events, various zonal/state CMEs are also conducted by zonal/state branches of IPS. Further, IPS also collaborates with other professional organizations such as the World Psychiatric Society to hold conferences in India. In addition to IPS, there are many other professional bodies of psychiatrists in India, such as Indian Association of Social Psychiatry, Indian Association for Geriatric Mental Health, Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and Indian Association for Biological Psychiatry, which also organize their conferences annually or biannually. It is commendable that the official journal of IPS, i.e., Indian Journal of Psychiatry (IJP) is also published regularly for last 70 years and has been listed in PubMed for more than a decade now. Over the years, IPS has also broadened its activities and has published clinical practice guidelines (CPG)[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] and books[7],[8],[9] and has funded multicentric studies too.[10],[11] Other psychiatric organizations in India have also followed IPS in starting their journals and carrying out multicentric studies.[12] Further, the IPS has also recently started National Travel Fellowship programs for young psychiatrists to enhance skills in specific areas of their choices.[13]

In general, the topics to be covered in the various conferences and CMEs are usually decided by the office bearers and the organizing committee of the conference. Similarly, the format for the conference is also modified to certain extent by the people responsible for organizing and supervising the conference. However, little is known about whether these activities are found useful by the participants or not. Similarly, little is known about the needs of the members in terms of their expectations from various conferences. In other words, the opinion of the psychiatrists' attending the various activities of IPS as well as their needs regarding improvement in certain activities had never been evaluated. Considering the fact that there is a lot of variability in psychiatry training in this country, understanding the needs and expectations, especially of young psychiatrists, is important because they require the help of professional bodies to improve their clinical and research skills. In this background, the present survey aimed to assess the opinion of young psychiatrists (aged ≤45 years) with respect to the various scientific activities of IPS.


   Materials and Methods Top


This online survey using the SurveyMonkey® electronic platform was done under the aegis of Education, Research, and Training Foundation of IPS in the month of March–May 2015. This study received ethical approval from the IPS ethics review board formed for approval of studies carried out under the aegis of IPS and also Institute Ethics Committee of Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh. The survey evaluated the perception of the young psychiatrists (both qualified practicing and trainees aged ≤45 years) about their postgraduate psychiatry training in India and IPS academic activities. This paper focuses on the perception about the current format of IPS activities and what kind of changes they would like should be made in the IPS activities for their benefit.


   Results Top


This survey was sent to 2303 young psychiatrists aged ≤45 years. Of these, 105 e-mails bounced back and 111 opted out of the survey. Out of the remaining 2087, 547 mental health professionals responded to the survey (response rate: 26.2%). Out of the 547, who initially responded, 73 were not aged 45 years or less and were not able to take the survey. This resulted in actual responders as 474 (22.7% of the 2087 recipients). However, due to the lack of completion, data were available for only 350 participants for the questions pertaining to IPS activities.

The details of the participants are shown in [Table 1]. The majority of the participants were male. The mean age and the mean number of years of experience in psychiatry of the participants were 33.61 (standard deviation [SD] – 5.32) and 8.25 (SD – 5.5) years, respectively. At the time of participation in the study, majority of the participants had completed their postgraduate training, with most common degree being MD. At the time of participation in the survey, about half (48.8%) of the participants were holding faculty positions, with about one-fourth (28.3%; n = 99) respondents holding a faculty position in a government institute [Table 1].
Table 1: Details of the participants (n=350)

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Attendance in various Indian Psychiatric Society activities in last 5 years

As is evident from [Table 2], more than four-fifths of the participants (n = 294; 84%) had attended ANCIPS at least once in the last 5 years with a mean attendance of 2.16 (SD – 1.52) ANCIPS. More than half of the participants (n = 199; 56.9%) had attended National Midterm CMEs at least once with a mean of 1.01 times (SD – 1.16). Slightly, more than two-thirds of the participants had attended zonal annual conferences at least once (n = 246; 70.3%) with a mean of 1.43 times (SD – 1.38). Similarly, about three-fifths of the participants had attended zonal CMEs (n = 222; 63.4%), state annual conferences (n = 224; 64%), and state CMEs (n = 225; 64.3%) at least once in the last 5 years.
Table 2: Attendance in various Indian Psychiatric Society activities in last 5 years (n=350)

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Opinion about different activities of Indian Psychiatric Society

The participants were asked to rate the current format of ANCIPS and other conferences on a 4-point Likert scale (“very bad,” “bad,” “good,” and “very good”). It was found that about 70% of the participants (n = 243; 69.4%) rated the current format of ANCIPS to be “good/very good” [Table 3]. When asked about the need to continue with National Midterm CME, more than half of the participants reported that this should be continued [Table 3]. Similarly, more than half of the participants agreed that the conferences at the zonal and state level help in enhancing the academic knowledge of the participants as well as such activities help in enhancing the social interaction among fellow colleagues. When asked about the usefulness of ongoing IPS activities, less than half of the participants reported activities such as publication of treatment guidelines (CPG) (41.1%), publication of various books (30.6%), publication of special supplements of the IJP (33.4%), and IPS multicentric studies (36.3%) as “very useful.” About half of the participants considered these activities to be “useful to some extent” [Table 3].
Table 3: Opinion about different activities of Indian Psychiatric Society (n=350)

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Opinion regarding the scientific sessions in the Annual National Conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society

The participants who had attended the ANCIPS at least once (n = 294) were asked to rate the scientific sessions in the ANCIPS on a 3-point Likert scale (not at all useful/useful to some extent/very useful). Among the various scientific sessions, workshops and guest lectures were rated as very useful by three-fifth of the participants. CME on the day 1 of the conference and various symposia was rated as “very useful” by about half of the participants. Free paper and poster sessions were rated as “very useful” by only one-fourth of the participants [Table 4].
Table 4: How do you rate the following scientific sessions in the Annual National Conference of Indian Psychiatric Society (n=294#)

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Changes required to be done in future conferences of the Indian Psychiatric Society

When the participants were asked to express their opinion in terms of changes required in the current format of the ANCIPS and other conferences/CMEs being conducted by IPS, more than half to about two-third of the participants reported that having more hands-on workshops, having sessions like meet the experts, having mentorship programs, and meet the expert speakers from India will “definitely” be useful [Table 5]. Surprisingly meet the expert speakers from abroad were rated as definitely useful by only 28.6% of the participants. About one-third of the participants expressed that reduction of concurrent sessions would definitely be useful. About half of the participants expressed that opening the pharmaceutical industry stalls only after 5.00 pm or at the dinner venue would be definitely be useful [Table 5].
Table 5: Opinion about changes required to be done in future conferences of Indian Psychiatric Society (n=350)

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Suggestions for modification or introduction of specific activities by the Indian Psychiatric Society

When asked about required modification of ongoing activities and introduction of new activities, about two-third of the participants expressed that having IPS supported travel fellowship programs within the country and abroad and having subject/topic-focused conferences will be definitely be useful [Table 6]. About half of the participants felt that inclusion of more number of centers into the IPS multicentric studies and having online CME activities would be definitely be useful. More than one-third of the participants reported that increase in number of issues/year of IJP (38.9%), publication of more number of supplements of IJP (33.1%), and publication of more books by IPS (44.6%) would be definitely useful.
Table 6: Which of the following activities if introduced by Indian Psychiatric Society would be useful? (n=350)

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In terms of scientific sessions during the ANCIPS, activities which were reported to be definitely useful by more than half of the participants included having certificate courses (65.1%), sessions on psychotherapy (62.6%), hands-on workshops (62%), and legal issues (57.4%). Other activities which were considered to be definitely useful by one-third to less than half of the participants included having sessions on research methodology (47.1%), guest lectures (46.9%), quiz for qualified psychiatrists (42.3%), and sessions on ethical issues (39.7%). Less than one-third of the participants considered that having plenary lectures and more award sessions will be definitely useful [Table 7].
Table 7: Which among the following activities would you like to be increased/introduced during the Annual National Conference of Indian Psychiatric Society (n=350)

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Needs or expectations of the psychiatrists' and trainees from various Indian Psychiatric Society activities

When the participants were asked to express their needs and expectations from the IPS in terms of enhancing their skills, activities which were considered as “definite” need by more than half of the participants included having CMEs/symposia/workshops on the topics related to psychotherapy (68.6%), forensic issues (65.1%), research methodology (58.6%), brain stimulation (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation/deep brain stimulation [rTMS/DBS]) (65.7%), child psychiatry (64.9%), psychosexual medicine (58.9%), geriatric psychiatry (56.6%), Consultation-Liaison psychiatry (56%), how to write scientific paper (55.7%), clinical ethics (54%), private practice (53.7%), and substance use (51.4%) [Table 8].
Table 8: What are your needs or expectations from Indian Psychiatric Society to enhance your skills (n=350)

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   Discussion Top


In all medical professions, organizing and participating in conferences is a rule rather than exception. In fact, participating/attending in the conferences, workshops, and CMEs is considered as an important aspect of updating knowledge and skills in the ever-growing medical field for any medical professionals. These activities also provide opportunities for collaboration with respect to carrying out multicentric research, discussing common problems faced by the professions, chance to learn from the experience from colleagues, and a chance for social interaction. The importance of participating and attending conferences has been recognized by Medical Council of India and other alike organizations across the world, which mandatorily requires the professionals to attend the conferences, CMEs, and workshops to update their knowledge and skills.

However, little is known about what are the expectations of the participants or membership of the society and how much do the participants benefit from these activities. It is common for presenters to have very thin attendance in the scientific sessions, which actually demotivates them to prepare well for making a presentation. At the same time, participants do not feel like attending the scientific sessions because topics covered are not of their interest or the speaker is not an expert to meet their expectations.

For the success of any medical society, the opinion of its fellow members is highly essential. Considering that there is a scope to improve, IPS took this initiative to understand the views of its young generation membership, with respect to the current format of the IPS conferences and other IPS activities. The findings of the present survey are based on young psychiatrists aged ≤45 years who received their postgraduate training across 115 institutes across the country. This is possibly the first survey of its membership, conducted by any medical professional organization in the country, and reflects the futuristic thinking and social responsibility of IPS. As there are no such previous surveys, it would not be possible to compare the findings of the present survey with the available literature. However, we would attempt to discuss the findings in the context of what can be done to improve the satisfaction of membership of the association.

Almost all the participants of the survey had attended one or more IPS conferences, with 84% having attended the ANCIPS. When asked about the current format of ANCIPS, although 62% of participants rated it as “good,” only 7.4% of the participants rated it as very good. About one-fourth of the participants rated it as bad and another small proportion (6.3%) considered the current format of ANCIPS as “very bad.” These ratings can be looked from various perspectives. Rating of “good” by an about two-third of the participants indicates that the current format possibly fulfills the academic needs of the participants. However, other perspectives could be that rating of “very good” by only 7.4% and rating of “bad or very bad” by 30.6% of the participants indicate that there is a scope of improvement. This could be further understood from the fact that National CME and symposia sessions were considered very useful by only half of the participants. Free papers and poster sessions were considered useful by only one-fourth of the participants. However, guest lectures and workshops were considered to be “very useful” by about 60% of the participants. In terms of changes required, about three-fourth of the participants considered the “possible or definite” need to reduce the number of concurrent sessions (77.4%), having more workshops (86.9%), having more expert speakers (86%), having sessions like meet the experts (90%), and mentorship program (88.6%). High expressed need for having more workshops and hands-on training session need to be understood in the light of the facts, which suggest that problem-based learning with interactive sessions are quite effective in CMEs across various scientific societies.[14] CMEs and scientific programs are more fruitful if they are sculpted with strong scientific background and tailored with individualized learning needs and preferences.[15] Further, when asked, what all activities need to be increased, majority of the participants expressed the need for having hands-on workshops, certificate courses, quiz, guest lectures, and plenary sessions. All these information provide a good insight to what is not acceptable and what needs to be changed while organizing conferences. Studies from West suggest that improvement of their existing CME programs can have an immediate and significant effect on the practitioners' behavior and help them in their training process too.[16],[17] Keeping this in mind, there is a need to reconsider the current format of ANCIPS and the office bearers should address the required academic needs of the participants. The scientific sessions should be held not to accommodate more people as speakers but to have more experts, who can conduct hands-on training workshops to enhance the knowledge and practical skills of the participants.

In terms of specific topics, majority of the participants expressed that there should be more sessions on research methodology, how to write papers, ethics both in relation to research and clinical skills, legal or forensic issues, psychotherapy, rTMS/DBS, child psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and how to manage private practice. Expressed need by majority of the participants in these areas possibly reflects poor or average training in these areas across majority of the centers in the country. Some of the authors suggest that the content of the CMEs and scientific programs should be determined by the assessed needs of its members/audience and such programs should help in educating its attendees in the process of decision-making and making ethical clinical judgments during their practice.[18] Accordingly, it can be said that at least in near future, whenever IPS calls for workshops/symposia for the event such as ANCIPS, it should clearly mention that there would be limited number of these sessions and symposia/workshops related to the above-listed topics would be given priority. Further, workshops should be given priority over the symposia. Efforts also need to be made to tie-up with the manufacturers of rTMS/DBS machines to hold more hands-on workshops for use of these treatments, during the ANCIPS, other zonal and state level conferences, so that more people benefit in terms of learning to use these machines effectively, so that in long run patients benefit from these kind of treatments. Similarly, there is a need to have workshops, guest lectures, and plenary sessions on psychotherapy. At present, structured training on psychotherapy is limited in this country to few centers. Accordingly, having dedicated workshops at the zonal and state level could benefit a large proportion of the membership.

There is evidence to suggest that careful planning and evaluation of CMEs and scientific programs improves physician's performance and health-care outcome.[15] It has also been suggested that the CME/scientific committee organizers should conduct need assessment of its members/attendees and incorporate methods to determine the course attendees improvement of knowledge, skills, and attitudes during its activities by pre- and posttests using brief multiple choice questions.[19] Accordingly, while organizing events in future, there should be a provision for the participants to rate the speakers. This would help in recognizing popular speakers, whom the participants want to listen and this would also make the speakers to come well prepared. In addition, for few sessions, the participants should be subjected to pre- and posttest assessments. For making a conference and CME more effective and beneficial to its attendees, some authors suggest that holding limited number of CMEs with special emphasis on focused areas and holding some programs with focus on specific category of audience (for example, in psychiatry, it can be postgraduate students, for young psychiatrists, for psychiatrists in full-time private practice, faculty members in teaching institutions, etc.).[20] IPS young psychiatrist task force, publication committee of IPS, and many other task forces have attempted to follow this model. There is a need to scale these activities across the country, for more number of psychiatrists to benefit.

IPS committee on conferences can come up with guidelines for organizing various scientific events. These guidelines should specify that every scientific program should have a specific goal, mission, and vision, so that the objective is achieved at the end of the meeting. It is suggested that CMEs or conferences should be organized in such a way that these encourage questioning and reflective and creative thinking in its participants.[20] Accordingly, conference organization guidelines should also include time specified for the discussion section in each session.

In recent times, IPS has started National Travel Fellowship programs for psychiatrists younger than 35 years to enhance their skills in specific areas of their choice. For this, interested persons have to apply to the Research, Education, and Training Foundation of IPS for getting an attachment in an institute in India of their choice. Once the candidate gets the permission from the institute, the IPS funds the travel and stay of the candidate for the duration of the fellowship, which usually is for a duration of 6 weeks. This initiative of IPS has been well appreciated by the IPS members who have availed this travel fellowship.[13] Findings of the present survey also support this initiative of IPS. More than two-third of the participants considered this activity to be definitely useful. In addition, more than two-third of the participants voiced the need for IPS supported International Travel Fellowships. Although, at present, IPS recommends names of young psychiatrists, for various travel fellowships given by different international professional organizations including World Psychiatric Association, there is a need for possibly scaling this up, with funding Travel Fellowship for International Conferences.

A healthy and transparent partnership between the medical professionals and industry (pharmaceutical companies) is essential both for innovation and effective translation of basic science to clinical practice.[21],[22] In recent times, this partnership involves having stalls at the conference venues which often overlap with the timings of the scientific sessions. This at times attracts few of the participants and contributes to poor attendance in the sessions. At times, it has been suggested and experimented that the stalls should be kept closed during the timings of scientific sessions. In the present survey, when the participants were asked whether pharmaceutical industry stalls should open only after 5.00 pm or at the dinner venue, about half of the participants responded as “definitely yes,” and one-fourth of the participants responded as “possibly yes.” This suggests that there is a need to change the current practice to minimize the distraction from the scientific sessions.

Over the years, IPS has funded multicentric studies, which involves having a coordinating center and researchers from other centers, working together on a research subject. These studies are funded with small amount of fund and this model has been proven to large extent to be successful for carrying out multicentric studies with small amount of funding. When the participants were asked whether inclusion of more number of centers would be useful, more than half (54.6%) reported that this would be definitely useful and another 39.1% responded that this would be useful to some extent. Considering this, it can be said that steps should be taken to increase the number of centers for multicentric studies as this would help in having studies with larger study sample, with better representation of all parts of the country.

Previous studies and systematic review on the effectiveness of online CMEs for general practitioners (GP) in Western countries have suggested that online CMEs are a new approach to distance learning,[23] are more useful for young doctors because of increased work and family pressures,[24] and also improve GP satisfaction, knowledge, and practices.[25],[26] In the present survey too, half (47.4%) of the participants expressed that having online CMEs in psychiatry would be definitely useful and another 43.7% expressed these would be useful to some extent. Keeping this in mind, IPS should consider starting online CMEs activities in the areas considered as priority by most of the memberships.

This survey has certain limitations. This survey was limited to young psychiatrists, aged 45 years or lower. Accordingly, the findings do not reflect the opinion of the whole membership of IPS. Second, being young, the participants had attended only a few conferences in the previous 5 years. Hence, it is possible that their opinion could have been influenced by good or bad experience of one or two conferences and overall the opinion of the participants does not reflect the standard of the conferences conducted in India. Third, it is quite possible that some of the responders would have been involved in organizing some of the conferences/CMEs of the IPS in the previous 5 years and this could have colored their positive or negative evaluation of IPS activities. The information collected as part of the survey was limited to certain aspects, and there is a possibility that many other aspects which are considered to be required by the membership of IPS may not have been covered by this survey. Finally, these results were based on individualized opinion on Likert scale and no formal qualitative data were collected, which is usually considered gold standard. Future surveys involving the whole membership of IPS could yield better information, with respect to changes required in the format of IPS activities, from which the whole membership could benefit. Further, there is a need for periodic surveys to have a better understanding of the needs of the membership and organize conferences on the topics, which will benefit majority of the participants.


   Conclusions Top


The present survey reflects that there is a variation in the opinion of the young psychiatrists regarding current format of IPS organized conferences and CMEs. There is a need to have more subject/topic-focused CMEs, need to introduce online CMEs, have multicentric studies with more centers as a handholding and supervision, reduction of concurrent sessions during the conferences, strengthening the travel fellowship programs, having more sessions and workshops on important aspects of psychiatry, like, psychotherapy, forensic/legal issues, research methodology etc., limitation on timings of having pharmaceutical companies stalls while the scientific sessions are on. Further, there is a need to have more experts from India as speakers to possibly have better participation. This should be done on the basis of research credentials and not the political hob-knobbing. These all can be considered as expectations of the young generation of psychiatrists from the organization such as IPS, which should be duly considered while planning future conferences and CMEs.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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Correspondence Address:
Prof. Sandeep Grover
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_335_18

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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8]



 

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