Advocacy training for young family doctors in primary mental health care: A report and global call to action

Sina Haj Amor, Tamica Daniels-Williamson, Krystle Fraser-Barclay, Christopher Dowrick, Emma C. Gilchrist, Stephanie Gold, Larry A. Green, Sarah Hemeida, Amanda Howe, Bonnie Jortberg, Cindy Lam, Henry Owuor, Helen Page, Sankha Randenikumara

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Background The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises the essential role of mental health in achieving health for all; its mental health action plan calls for more effective leadership for mental health and the provision of community-based, integrated care. 1 However, integrating mental health care into primary care is a challenging, transformational change that requires more than clinical knowledge. 2 It depends on strong advocacy, leadership, and change management: skills that can be learnt. 3,4 Project The Farley Health Policy Centre (FHPC) partnered with the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) to develop and pilot a global curriculum to enable learners to lead practice transformation and be empowered with policy-influencing skills to advocate for their patients, to promote and enhance primary care mental health. We recruited 12 young family doctors, of whom seven were women and ten were from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), as shown in Figure 1. The programme began with a survey of learners' needs and aspirations, and an expectation that each would self-identify a practice transformation goal. Faculty and learners took part in a two-phase learning evaluation. Funding from WONCA was provided for logistics and evaluation. A small stipend was offered to each learner on successful course completion. Faculty gave their time pro bono. The programme was conducted between March and October 2020. The evaluation process was approved by the University of Liverpool Health and Life Sciences Research Ethics Committee. The learners were divided into two learning cohorts. Sessions were facilitated by two leaders and supported by four mentors. The educational content was delivered twice (to accommodate differing time zones) in six 90-minute monthly virtual sessions. The topics were: • Introduction to mental health integration

Original languageEnglish
Article numberBJGPO.2021.0163
Number of pages4
JournalBJGP Open
Issue number1
Early online date8 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2022


  • Continuing professional development
  • Family medicine
  • General practice
  • Mental health (general)
  • Primary healthcare

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