Cross Cultural

Director: Dr. S. Ganesan, Clinical Professor

Program Members

The Metro-Vancouver area is one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse places in Canada. Fifty-one percent of the lower mainland population are first generation immigrants, that speak over 150 languages and dialects in addition to English and French. Given the diversity of cultures and traditions in Metro-Vancouver, the Cross-Cultural Psychiatry Clinic at Vancouver General Hospital was launched in 1988; specifically to provide support for cross-cultural mental health issues. The clinic has expanded to include seven part-time psychiatrists who provide service for approximately 5000 patients annually. The primary focus of the clinic is to provide culturally sensitive, responsible and language-specific assessment and treatment. This includes diagnosis, medication recommendations, and facilitation of other community resources, as well as psycho-education, and group therapy. The clinical service providers speak a total of 22 languages and dialects, in addition to having hospital interpreter support. Referrals are accepted from social workers, general practitioners, mental health teams, and school councellors.

The Cross Cultural Psychiatry Clinic provides services and support to wide cross-section of facilities and groups within the Metro Vancouver area. At the inpatient level this includes units at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) such as the Brief Intervention Unit, and the Psychiatric Assessment Unit; University of British Columbia Hospital’s (UBCH) Concurrent Disorder Clinic; and the recently opened Burnaby Centre. Outpatient facilities include the VGH Outpatient Clinic, and the UBCH Schizophrenia Day Program. Finally, at the community level, the Cross Cultural Psychiatry Clinic supports the eight community Mental Health Teams throughout Metro Vancouver.

The Cross Cultural Psychiatry Clinic also has established partnerships with non-hospital based Mental Health Services (Greater Vancouver Mental Health Services – Multicultural Liaison Workers Program) and Immigrant refugee settlement agencies such as the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture and the Immigrant Services Society.

In addition to its treatment goals, the Cross Cultural Psychiatry Clinic also focuses on research in conjunction with post-secondary, professional and public education. This includes curriculum, research and clinical activities, as well as lectures and presentations on culturally sensitive approaches in communication, stigma, assessment and treatment of mental health issues and mental illness.

Soma Ganesan, MD, FRCPC
Clinical Professor
Head & Medical Director, Department of Psychiatry
Vancouver Acute & Community
Director, Cross Cultural Program
Tel:  604-875-4023
Fax:  604-875-4987
Email:  Soma.Ganesan@vch.ca