A leader in behavioral health support for South Korean students visited UNMC last month to discuss the differences between mental health treatment and assessment between her home country and the United States.
Dr. UnSun Chung spoke with members of the Department of Psychiatry on January 21. Department of Psychiatry Research Director Dr. Soonjo Hwang invited Dr. Chung to UNMC.
“She had provided all the mental health support for all of the schools in South Korea,” Dr. Hwang said. “She’s responsible for six million students and teachers. Whenever there is a mental health issue, like suicide, school bullying, some trauma, her team will go there to provide intervention and assessment.”
Dr. Chung is an Endowed Associate Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Korea. She has been involved in the field of child trauma and abuse since 2006 when she was working as a consultant psychiatrist and director in Deagu Sunflower Center for supporting sexually abused children and mentally disabled people.
She became the director of School Mental Health Research and Resources Center, which aims to foster trauma-informed schools by research, education, and networking, in 2014. She worked as a psychiatrist for the government and offered support after several big disasters in South Korean schools.
She has published more than 60 papers and cooperates with several government agencies on creating new policy for child welfare. She has spent the last year as a visiting scholar at the University of Florida. With her studying in the U.S., Dr. Hwang invited her to Omaha. Previously, Dr. Hwang and Dr. Christopher Kratochvil, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research at UNMC, visited Dr. Chung in South Korea.
As the research division grows, the Department of Psychiatry has hired Dr. Karl Goodkin as a research consultant for current and new projects. For the past six years, Dr. Goodkin has served as the chair of East Tennessee State University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Before his time at ETSU, Dr. Goodkin served as the director of mental health at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and as a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA.