Von Tauber Institute for Global Psychiatry

Connecting the World of Psychiatry

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) is honored to sponsor the Von Tauber Institute for Global Psychiatry. With origins in a generous bequest to the NUMC Department of Psychiatry from Long Island psychiatrist Dr. Olga Von Tauber, and her husband, Dr. Robert Von Tauber, the Institute’s vision is to study the phenomenon of globalization in the delivery of sensitive and culturally competent care to Long Island’s multiethnic patient population.

By examining the physician migrant experience in the United States and abroad, the Institute proposes to highlight issues faced by international medical graduates in the United States. The aim of the Institute is to create more effective training models and to offer informed perspectives in teaching the next generation of medical professionals.

Dr. Olga Von Tauber (1907-2002), a psychiatrist and philanthropist, served the Long Island community and was named the first female director of a state psychiatric hospital. Dr. Olga Von Tauber was a pioneer of progressive values in psychiatry. By using her bequest to establish the Institute, we are supporting the behavioral resilience of the people in the Long Island communities she served and cared for, while creating a lasting memorial to her exemplary values and work.

As psychiatry addresses the social and behavioral well-being of the whole person, it is a holistic medical specialty that is profoundly impacted by the social effects of globalization — perhaps more than any other specialty. As physicians move across national boundaries, they must read the signs and symptoms of illness through the lenses of the mainstream cultures. Psychiatrists are equipped to appreciate the profound impact of relocation to new cultural contexts, and their work is challenged by the necessity to reframe observations from the perspective of the new society.

Growing Trends

Since the 1950s, increasing numbers of physicians from across the globe have traveled to North America in search of medical education and training. These immigrant physicians, known as international medical graduates (IMGs), occupy one-third of all residency positions and account for one-quarter of all psychiatrists in the United States. They play a critical role in caring for the seriously mentally ill and are overrepresented in the care of the uninsured and the minorities.

The initial focus of the Institute has been defined to emphasize the study of the impact of international translocation on the education and careers of immigrant psychiatrists learning and practicing in cross-cultural contexts, in relation to the needs of the multicultural patients they treat.

Future goals for the VTIGP are to organize conferences on global psychiatry; facilitate travel and exchange of psychiatric residents and scholars across countries and continents in order to learn from one another; foster knowledge and future study on globalization as it relates to cross-cultural aspects through specific workshops and symposiums; and prepare research grant proposals to study the various aspects of globalization and culture in further support of VTIGP’s mission.