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History of iMMH Program at CMU

The iMMH program at Chiang Mai University was initiated in 2014 as a result of experience sharing and discussion at the workshop on Developing the Collaborative Research Platform and Professional Training Workshop for Community Mental Health in Developing Countries in Taipei, Taiwan organized by Prof. Duujian Tsai. In the meeting, Prof. Manfred Cramer, then program director of the Master of Mental Health (MMH) Program at Munich University of Applied Sciences (MUAS), Germany, and Assoc. Prof. Patraporn Tungpankom from the School of Nursing, Chiang Mai University discussed the idea of creating a similar program in Southeast Asia.  Prof. Cramer was then director of a successful MMH program who saw the importance of non-healthcare professionals as a driving force in mental health systems. 

An academic collaboration was formed when Prof. Cramer visited CMU in 2014 commissioned by the State of Bavaria, Germany to expand mental health education in Asia and collaborated with Prof. Phongtape Wiwatanadate, director of the Master of Public Health International Program at CMU at that time, to create a multi-disciplinary mental health international program at CMU , so-called iMMH. Prof. Phongtape took the leadership role and agreed to chair the iMMH curriculum development committee with colleagues from the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Nursing, Faculty of Associated Health Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, and CMU Research Institute for Health Sciences. The iMMH program was constructed under the management of CMU Graduate School with strong support from Dean Akachai Sang-in, the administrative team, and the staff at the Interdisciplinary Unit. The iMMH program development has been strongly supported by the Department of Mental Health, Thailand, particularly by ML. Somchai Chakrabhand, former director and chair of the senior advisory board, Samai Sirithongthavorn, MD., deputy director, and Phunnapa Kittirattanapaiboon, MD., director of Bureau of Mental Health Academic Affairs. After Prof. Cramer was retired from MUAS, Munich Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) was established to carry on mental health education and training and the collaboration with CMU.

The principle concept of the academic collaboration between CMU, MUAS, and MIMH is to set up a graduate program on mental health compared with the curriculum of the MMH program in Germany, however adaptive to the context of mental health in Thailand and its neighboring countries in South East Asia. The program must consider socio-cultural, economic, and health and mental health systems specific to Southeast Asia. The iMMH was initially designed as a double-degree program between CMU and MUAS, however, after consideration of the uniqueness of mental health situations and mental health services, iMMH is finalized as a standalone program, however, use academic and research networks to support visiting professors from around the world to give lectures and supervise research in the program. 

 iMMH program was approved by the Chiang Mai University Council at the 2/2562 meeting on February 23, 2019. Then, Prof. Nahathai Wongpakaran gracefully takes the leadership role as Program Director, Prof. Tinakon Wongpakaran as academic director, and Assist.Prof.Penkarn Kanjanarat as program coordinator. Although iMMH program is a regular program organized classes on campus and site visits, our classes in the 1st semester of 2020 are offered online suggested by CMU regulations on teaching during COVID-19. 

Appreciation for your support: Department of Mental Health, Thailand, Dr. Georg Verweyen, Director of the Information Center German Academic Exchange Service DAAD, Mr. Christian Kroner, Ver Dr. Dirk Baldes, DAAD coordinator at CMU, Ms. Evamarie Wagner from MMH program at MUAS then, and Department of Mental Health, Ministry of Public Health Thailand.

iMMH program has been financially supported by the Hochschule München and DAAD Germany, the Graduate School at CMU, and the Kasem Foundation Thailand for the visiting trips to CMU and several workshops and meetings among the parties.  



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