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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 93-94
Undergraduate training in psychiatry at AIIMS: Integration with community medicine

Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110 029, India

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Date of Web Publication3-Apr-2012

How to cite this article:
Sood M, Sharan P. Undergraduate training in psychiatry at AIIMS: Integration with community medicine. Indian J Psychiatry 2012;54:93-4

How to cite this URL:
Sood M, Sharan P. Undergraduate training in psychiatry at AIIMS: Integration with community medicine. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2012 [cited 2021 Oct 22];54:93-4. Available from:


At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the medical undergraduates undergo extensive clinical training in psychiatry spread over the 5 th to 8 th semester of the MBBS course in the Department of Psychiatry and in the Department of Community Medicine at the Comprehensive Rural Health Services Project (CRHSP), Ballabhgarh, Haryana. In this letter, we wish to highlight the training programme at CRHSP. [1]

This programme is based on the understanding that both community medicine and psychiatry share a common approach to health and mental health care through the model of primary health care. The primary health care approach to change the state of health of the community forms the backbone of training and practice in community medicine. In psychiatry, the idea that the system of primary health care is the solution for scarce mental health resources in India has existed right from the time of independence. However, it has evolved over the last several decades in the context of the recommendations of the Bhore committee for creation of psychiatry departments in every general hospital, demonstration of advantages of care in general hospital psychiatric units, efforts to operationalize primary care approach in the country by WHO-sponsored projects at Sakalwara and Raipur Rani block, district mental health project at Bellary and feasibility of delivering reasonably adequate mental healthcare through paraprofessionals and non-professionals after training. The policy makers in the country recognized the need for incorporating principles of primary health care to combat the resource crunch in the field of mental health, and it culminated in the formulation of the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 1982. In the 10 th 5-year plan, in the restrategized NMHP, upgradation of psychiatric wings of 75 medical colleges was done; this recommendation remains one of the important strategies to enhance manpower in subsequent 5-year plans as well. [2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7]

Over this background, the training programme in psychiatry integrated with community medicine at AIIMS is important. It was started in 1964 in collaboration with the Department of Community Medicine through the Indian Council of Medical Research-funded mental health project at the CRHSP. [8] During the residential posting of medical undergraduates in the 7 th semester for community medicine at CRHSP, faculty from the Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, carry out their training and assessment (formative and summative). The core learning objectives of this programme are to cover severe mental illnesses, common mental disorders and common addiction problems, and to link mental health issues to national initiatives like NMHP. The assessment in psychiatry comprises of about 4.7% of the total marks in community medicine. [1] The Department of Psychiatry at AIIMS is in the process of modifying this programme. Internationally, a few projects have been reported from the high income countries. In these, community education in psychiatry to the medical undergraduates was provided by community-based sessions in the primary care [9] or by collaborative programme with general practitioners. [10] However, the integrated training programme as practiced at AIIMS has not been reported in the literature.

This programme has the potential to be useful from a public health perspective. This programme can be executed through the already existing structured training programme and infrastructure of the Department of Community Medicine (mandatory subject in MBBS curriculum) at all medical colleges in the country at minimal additional cost. It will help in familiarizing undergraduates with the preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative aspects of mental health and mental disorders in the community. Also, they will be sensitized to the nuances of the primary health care system in delivery of mental health care.

Recently, efforts have gained fresh impetus for inclusion of psychiatry as a separate subject in the MBBS curriculum, and talks are ongoing with the Medical Council of India and Ministry of Health. The purpose of writing this communication was to disseminate information about the training programme in psychiatry integrated with community medicine for undergraduates at AIIMS. Every year, the country trains more than 30,000 doctors. This programme can complement the clinical training in psychiatry during MBBS with the advantage of equipping future doctors with skills to handle common mental disorders in the community without need for additional resources. Also, its implementation at the national level will trim down the requirement for resources to train general practitioners in psychiatry as one of the means to increase mental health resources under NMHP.

   References Top

1.Sood M, Sharan P. A pragmatic approach to integrating mental health in undergraduate training: The AIIMS experience and work in progress. Natl Medical J India 2011;24:108-10.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Government of India. Report of the health survey and development committee, Vol. II. Delhi: The Manager of Publications; 1946. Available from: e%20Repor t%20- %20Vol%20II.pdf [Last accessed on 2011 Apr 16].  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Wig NN, Murthy RS, Harding TW. A model for rural psychiatric services: Raipur Rani experience. Indian J Psychaitry 1981;23:275-90.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Chandrasekhar CR, Isaac MK, Kapur RL, Parthsarthy R. Management of priority mental health disorders in community. Indian J Psychaitry 1981;23: 174-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Isaac MK. District Mental Health Programme at Bellary. Community Mental News - Issue No. 11 and 12. Bangalore: Indian Council of Medical Research - Centre for Advanced Research on Community Mental Health; 1988.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Kapur RL. The Story of Community Mental Health in India. In: Agarwal SP (editor). Mental Health An Indian Perspective 1946-2003, New Delhi: Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; 2004. p. 92-100.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.National Mental Health Programme. Available from:, [Last accessed on 2011 Oct 25].  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Psychiatry Department, AIIMS. Available from http: // /departments/psychiatry/psy_intro.htm (Last accessed on 19Oct 2011)  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Walters K, Buszewicz M, Raven P. An integrated model for teaching psychiatry in the community. Acad Med 2001;76:563-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Vickery A. Teaching psychiatry in general practice. Aust Fam Physician 2008;37:449-51.  Back to cited text no. 10

Correspondence Address:
Mamta Sood
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.94659

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