INSNET

Number 4

Fall 1997

INTERNATIONAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL SOCIETY LIAISON COMMITTEE NEWSLETTER

Editor's Comments

INSNET is fortunate this issue to have reports of the status of neuropsychology from three different areas of the world, Brazil, Singapore, and Spain. Thanks to each of the authors for sharing their views on the state of neuropsychology in their regions. The article on "Continuing Education" is a must read report of commitment that should stir more of us to help our colleagues in regions with fewer resources.

We want INSNET to be a vehicle for information exchange. Editing is kept to a minimum to allow an open flow of ideas. The ideas shared are strictly those of the authors. If you have different views or ideas about neuropsychology in the regions discussed, let us know by sending comments or articles for publication.

INSNET is the newsletter of the International Liaison Committee (ILC) of the International Neuropsychological Society (INS). It is committed to facilitating worldwide interaction among practitioners and scientists in neuropsychology. In reality, this is your newsletter. Our intention is to create an open uncensored interactive vehicle of worldwide communication in neuropsychology. We need your active participation to make this newsletter work. Send comments, announcements and proposed articles to further the discussion.

 

NEUROPSYCHOLOGY IN BRAZIL

By Luscia Willadino Braga, Ph.D.

SMHS QUADRA 501 CONJ. A TTRRFO BRASTLIA, DF

BRASIIL, CEP 70330-150

Emad: luciabraga@bsb.sara.br

Brazil is a country with a population of 161.8 million inhabitants, spread out over 8,512,000 square kilometers. Within its domain, there are 4,887 institutions for rehabilitation of individuals with brain injury, of which 1,754 are equipped for inpatient treatment and 3,133 have outpatient and/or rehabilitation facilities. The Brazilian government registered 496,124 admissions of brain injury patients between January and April of this year (I 997). Traumatic brain injury, mainly due to traffic accidents, accounts for a large part of the cases. Thus, the process of evaluating and rehabilitating the higher mental functions in brain damaged patients is fundamental to the improvement of the quality of life of a great number of individuals.

Neuropsychology is a relatively new field in Brazil. It is, however, gaining momentum and has begun to interest large groups of students at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate levels. Only recently has the training and education of future neuropsychologists begun to be established and standardized. Further work is needed to cement the criteria and requisites that will serve as the foundation for both education and clinical practice in this field.

There exist 851 universities in Brazil, 12.7% of which (108 total) have psychology departments, 80 have colleges of medicine, 431 have education departments, and 32 have departments for speech therapy. The academic formation of a neuropsychologist presently begins with a Bachelors degree in medicine, psychology, speech therapy or education. Medical doctors undergo a three year residency i n neuropsychology after graduating in medicine. Psychologists, speech therapists, and educators must complete further studies, generally those who enter into the neuropsychology field have a Masters degree. PhD programs are also available, but they are offered mainly by universities who integrate medical and psychology or speech therapy programs. After being admitted to one of these universities, the student then completes courses in two or more of these areas. Doctorate degrees are earned after the thesis has been defended, which must first be submitted for approval to a group of professionals and finally, approved by a panel of doctors in both fields. Official Doctorate and/or Masters programs in neuropsychology are as of yet non-existent in Brazil. However, universities are aiming to resolve this problem by working with combined neurology and psychology departments.

Neuropsychology entered into the mainstream not too long ago. The first professionals in the area augmented their basic education with further studies abroad, obtaining Masters, Doctorate, and Post-graduate degrees. Historically, cooperation

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