Spotlight: Kolabo

Proceeds from this year’s event will be going to three amazing organizations in the global community! We will be featuring each of these organizations leading up to the event to shed light on the important work they are doing and how your support can help further their efforts.
Kolabo is a partnership between the Psychiatry department at the University of Calgary and CUHAS University in Tanzania to improve training in mental health.
What inspired Kolabo to be formed?
Kimberly Williams and Rita Watterson had both traveled independently to Mwanza, Tanzania. During both of our experiences, we were exposed to the incredible need for capacity building for mental health training within CUHAS University. For example, in Tanzania, a country of over 40 million people, there are approximately 25 psychiatrists. The psychiatrist in Mwanza, Tanzania covers a cachement area of 10 million alone.
CUHAS recognized this gap in care and reached out to ourselves and the Global Health department to determine how we could work together to help fill it. Thus, we traveled together with our first psychiatry preceptor to completed a needs assessment in 2015. In that trip, it was evident across stakeholder, community members, medical students and mental health staff that improved training opportunities were needed within the university for both the medical and public health schools. Thus, Kolabo was formed through collaborative practice between the University of Calgary and CUHAS University to meet the needs of the local community.
What difference is Kolabo making in the global community?
As Tanzania progresses from a focus on acute illness to chronic illness, including mental illness, it is pertinent that we collaborate with our colleagues to help fill these gaps. Thus, our focus in Kolabo is helping to build the capacity within the university for mental health teaching both within the medical school and within the public health program. Through this collaboration, students are learning about mental health and mental illness more in-depth, earlier in their training, and sometimes for the first time. We are also helping to build their teaching capacity at the resident and staff level. We hope this ultimately will allow practitioners in Mwanza to feel better trained to help those with mental illness, improving care for patients for those who truly need it.
How will funds raised from the Rich Man, Poor Man dinner help further your efforts?
These funds will go towards two different specific areas: Tanzanian resident education and on the ground teaching with medical and public health students. Firstly, Kolabo is financially supporting a Tanzanian resident to finish his training in Psychiatry. He will ultimately return to CUHAS and work closely with Kolabo going forward. Additionally, he has asked for further training in medical education. Thus, he will be coming to Calgary in 2016 to study Course 7, our very own psychiatry course. RMPM will be supporting the reciprocity that is so important in Global Health work. Lastly, the funds will also go to supporting yearly trips with University of Calgary Psychiatry staff to travel to Mwanza to continue teaching and building capacity on the ground.
Donate or purchase tickets to the Rich Man, Poor Man event here.