History of Psychiatry in the Dominican Republic
Eugenio M. Rothe and Cesar Mella Mejias
Affiliation: 2199 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Suite 304, Coral Gables, Florida 33134.
Keywords: History, psychiatry, Dominican Republic
Objective: To trace the history of psychiatry in the Dominican Republic.
Method: Historical accounts are reviewed from the archival history of the DR.
Results: The part of the island of Hispaniola which would one day become the Dominican Republic was the site of the
first European settlement in the American continent, yet for more than three and a half centuries it was forgotten and neglected
by its European colonial masters. Organized mental health care began in this newly independent republic at the
end of the nineteenth century, but it later underwent a period of paralysis that began to change after the arrival of the first
trained psychiatrists in the 1940s. The decade of the 1970s fostered great progress with development of a community
mental health infrastructure and the creation of the first psychiatry residency training programs.
Conclusions: Although much progress has been made, to this date, there is no formal training in child and adolescent psychiatry
or other any of the other psychiatric subspecialties. New economic prosperity and globalization offer great hopes
for the improvement of mental health care for the Dominican population.
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