Exploration of identity is central to those of us working at the interface of mental health and culture. Intersectional identities drive in-group and out-group dynamics, especially in times of stress and uncertainty. Identity is shaped by the narratives we tell about ourselves and is embodied through habitus, yet is fluid and can be transformed. In recent years, in societies shaken and disrupted by a pandemic and the inequities it exposed, movements for social justice have emerged, such as Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate. These movements have pushed the public to reevaluate how identities can lead to marginalization or serve as catalysts for solidarity and power. This has restructured how we experience ourselves, our identit(ies), and our sense of belonging. In the communities where we work, as well as our clinical populations, we see a tension between a desire to find understanding and support within one’s community and finding solidarity across communities through shared experience of oppression and struggle. In our 2022 conference, we invite you to explore identity through far-ranging sub-themes like language, narrative, embodiment, justice and intersectionality.

See the full text of the Call for Abstracts here

Select the appropriate form below to submit your abstract by September 24, 2021

We encourage trainees to submit abstracts for the general deadline even if they plan to submit a paper for consideration for a fellowship.

Social science (masters or PhD students) or medical (medical student or resident) trainees may submit papers for consideration for a fellowship presentation. Up to two fellowships are given each year. SSPC Fellows have registration costs waived and receive a $500 honorarium to offset travel costs. We encourage trainees to submit abstracts for the general deadline even if they plan to submit a paper for consideration for a fellowship. That way their submissions can be considered for inclusion in the conference if they do not win.

The Charles Hughes Fellowship is an annual award presented to a graduate student who has an interest in and commitment to cultural psychiatry and mental health. Graduate students in anthropology, public health, psychology, and related disciplines are encouraged to apply.

The John Spiegel Fellowship is an annual award presented to a medical student, psychiatry resident, or fellow in subspecialty training in psychiatry who is dedicated to improving clinical care through culturally-informed practice.

Trainees in these fields who are interested in competing for these fellowships should submit the materials listed below by November 1, 2021.

1.    Submission form: The online submission form includes the following information:

  • Identifying information (name, affiliation, contact information) of applicant; 

  • Title of paper

  • Abstract, composed of three parts:     

    • 2–3 learning objectives

    • Narrative abstract, up to 300 words

    • 1–3 related references


2.    Unpublished scholarly paper: An original unpublished scholarly paper preferably on a topic related to "Collaborating for Equity and Justice." Papers are limited to 8,000 words inclusive of abstract, references, and tables. The applicant must be the first author on the paper. Additional authors can be included. Affiliation and contact information should be included for any additional authors.  

3.    Biosketch: A 250-word biographical sketch describing your professional training and activities related to culture, mental health, and the conference theme.

4.    Statement of Professional Commitment: A 250-word statement about your interests and potential commitment to the mission of the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture, and your vision for contribution to the organization.

5.    CV: Your curriculum vitae.

Recipients of the fellowships have all registration fees waived. An honorarium of $500 is provided to help defer travel, lodging, and related costs.

Conference Themes

We welcome Hughes and Spiegel applications in any clinical and research areas of cultural psychiatry. Preference will be given to submissions based on clinical activities and research addressing one of themes highlighted for the 2022 Annual Meeting (see general guidelines for more information on the themes).

Recommendations for Paper Submissions

Papers submitted for consideration will be peer reviewed. Papers are judged on the following criteria:

  • Original contribution of the trainee – The paper should represent activities conducted by the applicant. First-hand research or clinical activities are required. This may include conducting interviews, ethnographic research, intervention implementation, clinical work, or other related activities. Papers with only secondary data analysis (either quantitative or qualitative) are not eligible for the fellowships. 

  • Research or clinical question and contribution to the field – The research or clinical question should be grounded in the literature on culture, mental health, and the family. The question should be novel and have implications for future research and practice. The results of this study should be interpreted in light of the history of culture and mental health research and clinical work. Other areas that will have a contribution to the field such as capacity building for beneficiary communities, providers in cross-cultural settings, and advocacy groups could also be reflected in this score.

  • Ethical conduct – All research projects should include details on IRB approval from the applicant’s home institution as well as IRB approval from the country where research was conducted if the research was carried out outside the United States. Papers that do not have information on appropriate IRB approval will not be considered for review. For clinical cases, IRB approval is not required, but appropriate anonymization practices should be observed in documentation. 

  • Methods/analysis – Projects demonstrating high levels of participation in design, implementation, and interpretation with the beneficiary community will be prioritized. Rigorous methods and analysis using best practices in qualitative or quantitative research in culture and mental health are recommended. For qualitative methods – what type of theory was used for coding and theory building (e.g., grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, content analysis, etc.); was the selection of participants appropriate for a qualitative study; for ethnographic studies, how was participant observation incorporated into the design, etc.? For quantitative studies – were culturally validated instruments used or was there a cultural validation as part of the study; was the sample representative with regard to recruitment and target population; were statistical analyses appropriate for this study design, etc.?

Instructions for Preparing Learning Objectives Please make sure you use learning objectives, not teaching objectives. Teaching objectives state what you are trying to teach. Learning objectives are what you expect the attendee to know or be able to do after attending your presentation. For example, At the conclusion of this presentation learners will be able to: Describe 3 challenges in mental health and mental healthcare that have emerged as a result of Covid-19 and/or systemic inequities.

Instructions for Preparing Narrative Abstract

Abstracts should be structured, and they should not exceed 300 words.

Abstracts should include the following subsections: (1) Background, (2) Aims/Objectives, (3)

Approach/Methods, (4) Results/Proposition, and (5) Conclusion/Implications.

For questions, please contact Bonnie Kaiser, at bonnienicolekaiser@gmail.com

Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture