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330.601.81 Perspectives of Psychiatry: the Public Health Framework

Mental Health
1st term
3 credits
Academic Year:
2012 - 2013
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Paul McHugh, M.D.
Course Instructor:

Introduction to Online Learning is required prior to participating in any of the School's Internet-based courses.


Describes the basic features of mental disorders using an epistemological framework that facilitates understanding in the context of public health research and practice. Includes discussion of the distinction between neurological activity and mental life, and briefly presents the historical as well as current state of knowledge of the most common psychiatric conditions. Framework includes four fundamental perspectives for understanding mental disturbances: disease, dimension, behavior, and life story, with explanation of the distinct etiopathologic nature each perspective brings to bear on the problem of defining, classifying, and measuring mental disorders.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Distinguish between neurological activity and mental life.
  2. Describe the epistemological approach to psychiatric conditions
  3. Distinguish between normal human responsiveness and psychiatric symptoms, behaviors, syndromes, disorders, and diseases
  4. Discuss the practical utility of viewing psychiatric conditions from four perspectives
  5. Describe the key elements of, and the distinctions between, a psychiatric history and a mental status examination
  6. Describe principles of ascertainment, measurement, and classification of psychiatric signs and symptoms (strengths and weaknesses)
  7. Distinguish between a psychiatric nomenclature, nosology, and diagnostic classification
  8. List presentations, types, ranges and key features of major psychiatric syndromes; dementias, schizophrenia, affective disorders, psychoactive substance use disorders, mental retardation, and disorders of adjustment to life circumstances
  9. describe the difficulties in assessing and comparing degrees of impairment associated with the different major psychiatric syndromes
  10. Describe the relationships among all four psychiatric perspectives in knowing, assessing, measuring, and treating major psychiatric syndromes
Methods of Assessment:

midterm and final

Instructor Consent:

No consent required