[CUA Office of Public Affairs]                                                                        

Sept. 20, 2000

                                                           

CUA Joins Brothers of Charity in International Educational Partnership

CUA to Provide Mental Health Care Training for New Institute

The Catholic University of America and the Brothers of Charity have formed a partnership to offer a pre-baccalaureate certificate program in mental health care at the brothers' new Institute Canon Triest in Gent, Belgium.

The institute, named for the congregation's founder, was inaugurated Sept. 5. CUA Provost John Convey represented the university at the ceremony in Gent. CUA joins universities, research institutes and organizations and individuals around the world in the endeavor. Through its School of Nursing, CUA will help train Brothers of Charity to care for those who fall through the social network, including AIDS patients, drug addicts and struggling youth.

"This international collaboration speaks to the missions of both the university and the Brothers of Charity," Provost Convey said. "It allows CUA to use its resources to assist the brothers in ministering to God's poor."

Ellen Mahoney, professor of nursing at CUA and a psychiatric nursing specialist, has been working the past year to help the institute structure its program, entitled "Introduction to Psychiatric Care." Mahoney has made several visits to Belgium to guide curriculum development and will return to teach one-week courses in the program in October and December.

Geared to both the spiritual and health needs of individuals, the program covers study skills, anatomy and physiology, understanding illness, and other essential skills for healthcare providers. Young men from South Africa, Rwanda, Burundi, the Congo, Indonesia, the Philippines and India will be enrolled in the program, Mahoney said. After their religious formation and training in Belgium, the brothers return to their homelands better prepared to meet the needs of the mentally ill, she explained.

"In many of these countries, the Brothers of Charity are the only providers of psychiatric care," she said.

Six Belgian psychiatric nurses will work with Professor Mahoney on the project. Other Belgian collaborators in the program include two psychiatrists, one psychologist and instructors in philosophy, biology and English. Much of the collaboration involved in establishing the program took place via the Internet, Mahoney noted.

The pre-baccalaureate program paves the way for the university to offer academic credit for program participants and for selected participants to come to CUA for bachelor’s degrees.

Nursing Dean Ann Marie Brooks applauded the partnership as an “innovative program combining new knowledge and practical skills so that vulnerable populations can be served."  

"We are excited about the expected outcomes of this creative program and believe that others can use it as a framework for serving others," she said.

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Revised: February 9, 2001

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The Catholic University of America,
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