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Animated Psychiatree©

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A new computer application, Animated Psychiatree©, will provide an interactive learning experience through Web-based animation and sound for conceptualizing mental illness. “The idea came out of a desire to teach about psychiatric illness in ways that are interactive, fun, and of high yield,” according to project co-directors Joseph Kithas and Gina Perez-Madriñan, psychiatry. “An interactive visual image,” they continue, “will help students to conceptualize and grasp a psychiatric disorder such as depression, which can have serious risks for patients and society.” Gina Perez-Madriñan and Joseph Kithas

Kithas and Perez-Madriñan originally developed study cards using cartoon characters to illustrate the various symptoms of psychiatric disorders. Animated Psychiatree© enables them to further enhance the learning experience as they transform the cards into multimedia applications. They will use sound and graphic resources from the Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education (CIDDE) to set up the Web site. “The Web animation will allow students to appreciate the severity and longitudinal course of psychiatric illness,” explained Perez-Madriñan and Kithas. In other words, as a cartoon character’s appearance changes, the Web site will illustrate how symptoms appear over time, and how symptoms combine to form an episode. The episodes are combined in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Thus, the animation gives students the experience of moving from symptoms to episodes to diagnosis of a disorder.

The Animated Psychiatree© will be used by hundreds of medical students learning psychiatry as well as anyone, such as students in the fields of social work, psychology, and nursing, who need to better understand mental illness.


OCTOBER 2002

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Animated Psychiatree©

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