Atsuko Ibata is an applied medical anthropologist, with expertise in indigenous healing system and community mental health. She conducted intensive ethnographic research among tribal communities in the remotest areas in northeast part of India for her Ph.D., mostly in the State of Arunachal Pradesh. Currently she is completing the course in University of Delhi, and her thesis involves assessing functionality of mental health service components and stakeholder analysis in order to develop meaningful community mental health program for both developed and developing nations.
To reach out the most vulnerable population and the least attended issues in the globe, she focuses mental health as the essential means, with public health and tropical medicine literacy for practical solution. She is familiar with modern medicine through her diploma in Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Japan, and gained practical knowledge on Public Health in developing countries in her M.Phil. in JNU, India. Her multidisciplinary approach takes mental health, the most complex human security concern, well beyond heath sector in holistic perspective and aims to decentralize health studies into plural disciplinary poles for substantial impact on global health system and delivery.
She joined UNU-IIGH to support mental health projects for one of thrust areas of IIGH: Non-Communicable Diseases and Control Policies, set up to fulfill needs for Millennium Development Goals. Through linking NCD with MDG, Atsuko focuses on preventive and promotional measure by adding chronic care to existing primary services for continuity of care in the community for equal resource distribution and successful integration cutting across disease and medicine in macro and micro levels.
She also supports the section in the preparation of working group for assessment of Global Burden of Disease on Mental Health in Asia-Pacific, and her working area involves strengthening international coordination mechanisms and elaborating multidisciplinary collaboration for global leadership on mental health studies and practice, through facilitating dialogue between social and natural science and humanities in inter-sectoral and interdepartmental cooperation, as a basis for providing guidance on the policy control.
She is also engaged in the process to architect capacity building training for community mental health in developing countries, in concern with the issue of disability, rehabilitation and recovery and local empowerment through mutual leaning. In between of her studies, Atsuko worked also in practical fields of community mental health both in India and Japan as psychiatric social worker. She was in Obihiro Care Center, an internationally renowned rehabilitation center for mentally ill in Hokkaido, Japan and was associated with Ashadeep, dedicated Mental Health NGO in the State of Assam, Northeastern India, and also observed practice of Public Private Partnership for Primary Health Centre conducted by a National Public Health NGO, Karna Trust, in Arunachal Pradesh.