PCSE Seed Grants in Action: A Note from Shyam Desai ’15

In  April 2013, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awarded five seed grants to Wesleyan students embarking on high-impact projects around the globe. Each grant recipient has been reporting on his/her work with blog posts and photos. Here’s the second report from Shyam Desai ’15. His first is here.
shyamAfter a long planning period, I was successfully able to execute my tasks for the summer with MINDS. All of the work that I was able to get done over the summer could not have been done without the help of The MINDS Foundation Program Staff, Lennox Byer ’12 & Raghu Appasani ’12. After my previous blog post, I amended my tasks for the trip greatly to realistically account for the short period of time I was there.

I focused mainly on submitting a proposal for a schoolteachers survey to the Sumandeep Vidyapeeth (medical school) IRB. The schoolteachers survey aims to determine the knowledge that the schoolteachers in our 19 villages are aware of and unaware of regarding mental health. By determining the information that they know about mental health, we aim to develop a module in order to teach them the information that they are unaware of. This will allow schoolteachers to inform their students about various mental illnesses. The goal of this entire project is to take a grassroots approach in eliminating stigma surrounding mental illness amongst young adults.

I was able to successfully get the entire survey translated into Gujarati, a requirement by the IRB at Sumandeep Vidyapeeth, and I was also able to successfully submit the proposal to the IRB before my departure. Without the help of residents in the Psychiatry Department at Sumandeep Vidayapeeth, I would not have been able to submit this proposal on time. We are currently waiting for the approval to come back with possible suggestions for amendments. Upon arrival, we will begin surveying the schoolteachers in our 19 villages.

I am extremely grateful for the funding from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the help that Makaela Kingsley ’98 has provided. This grant has allowed me to gain an experience that not many students around the country get. It has also given The MINDS Foundation the opportunity to implement a new and necessary program. With mentoring from Makaela, The MINDS chapter at Wesleyan University has also been able to spark new and innovative projects, such as our Mental Health Journal (first publication to be released at the beginning of the spring semester).