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Renato D. Alarcón, MD, MPH

Renato D. Alarcón, MD, MPH

Dr Alarcón is Emeritus Professor and Consultant in the department of psychiatry and psychology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, and an Editorial Board member of Psychiatric Times.  

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Suggestions for what psychiatry can do to alleviate, contain, and eventually prevent or avoid the demolition of culture and health.

Dr Alarcón shares his thoughts on cultural psychiatry and its growing prominence in the mental health field.


To neglect the cultural components of any given diagnosis or behavior, to ignore the role of culture-based individual attitudes, beliefs or practices in the face of adversity, would be a disservice.


A Q&A on the emerging field of positive psychiatry.

I appreciate Drs Spitzer and Frances’ prompt response to my article, which was published in the July issue of Psychiatric Times. I also thank them for their good wishes and thoughts about what we are doing as members of the DSM-V workgroups—membership whose rules we all knew and freely accepted.

Being a member of 1 of the 13 working groups of the DSM-V Task Force is, indeed, a unique experience. Having a large number of respected colleagues working diligently on areas that they have mastered with indisputable authority over the years is an intellectually fascinating experience.

The setting of a fast-paced emergency department (ED) or psychiatric emergency service makes it especially difficult to sensitively elicit and address an individual patient's needs and concerns. When considering the myriad differences in culture that come into play between a patient and a psychiatrist or other mental health care clinician, optimal diagnosis and treatment can be even more challenging, as the cases described here illustrate. The important influence of culture cannot be stressed enough. Taking the time to understand "where the patient is coming from" can prevent an already stressful, highly emotionally charged situation from becoming even more convoluted.

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