Bhutan Health Project

Location:  Thimphu, Bhutan
Dates and Duration: May (approximately 2 weeks)
Positions: 2
Project student leads: Elaine Hu and Caitlyn Siu
Faculty Supervisors: Dr. Videsh Kapoor and Dr. Gilbert Lam

In 2019, UBC GHI and Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB) agree to pursue a partnership to bring mutual benefits after their first meeting in Thimphu, Bhutan.  This is an exciting new partnership for both university organizations, and in 2020, the new partners have agreed to work together around the theme of mental health.  Mental health challenges continue to be a significant issue for the country, especially with a shortage of mental health professionals.  A 2-3 day Mental Health Symposium in Thimphu is proposed to facilitate discussions around perspectives and practical skills building.

After project setbacks due to COVID-19, as of Oct 2022, the UBC team has now disseminated and received 289 survey results from KGUMSB students. The UBC team is working with the team in Bhutan to interpret these results and explore next steps. The team has also ran 4 focus groups both with students and mental health experts in Bhutan exploring perspectives of mental health among youth and young adults in Bhutan. The UBC team will continue to run focus groups and hope to expand survey dissemination to other schools in Bhutan. Ultimately, the project hopes to guide/produce mental health education and resources for the Bhutanese population.

The Bhutan Health Project at UBC GHI is grateful to have the support of the Bhutan Canada Foundation, which connected UBC GHI and KGUMSB in the first place and provided logistic support to our first meeting with KGUMSB.