His lecture related to numerous classes at Emory such as Exporting Mental Health, Foundations of Global Health, various Psychology and Economic courses, Economics and beyond. His treatment approaches are interdisciplinary, and emphasized sustainability as a long-term solution. He did not emphasize drugs, although they do have their place, but he instead emphasized community-based treatment options such as step-up services, safety nets, and community programs. This type of plan is more sustainable, and seems to have been proven successful from his experience with the Carter Center’s program in Liberia. His approach was reminiscent of Partners in Health, an organization started by Harvard anthropologist Dr.Paul Farmer, and their philosophy of creating a sustainable model of care that utilizes local resources.
This approach could be utilized in the United States, as well. Dr. Bornemann mentioned Peer Support, Wellness, and Respite Centers, a group in Decatur that provides peer support to people with mental illnesses, which could have profound effects on those without healthcare resources. He also discussed the necessity of creating an evenness of quality within our mental health system, which is something that has been done incredibly well in Liberia. In Liberia, there is online system where medical personnel can interact and discuss specific cases and questions they may have. It is an effective form of information sharing that is essential to creating a better treatment plan and medical system in a location where mental health professionals are growing, yet still scant. In the United States, dissemination of information is lacking; medical journals have their place, but they are not always serving the needs of modern patients or doctors. Setting up an online system for sharing information and getting second opinions, especially for mental health diagnoses, could greatly improve health outcomes by better diagnosis, treatment, insight, and understanding. This may be more difficult with HIPAA, but it would be worth exploring considering the positive effects it has had in other communities. Despite the importance and growing availability of mental healthcare in countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone, many of the mental health resources have been reallocated to assist with the Ebola outbreak.
Dr.Bornemann shared his life story with a lecture hall of students from across numerous disciplines, and he managed to capture everyone’s attention. Health affects everyone; it connects all of us at some level, and Dr.Bornemann made this felt as he described his passion for serving both the local and global community. This sentiment is always present, but in times of epidemic, such as the Ebola outbreak, it is increasingly relevant.