I was born in 1960 in the historic Guadalupe neighborhood of Guadalajara, Mexico. My father was a businessman, and my mother is a teacher and athlete. My maternal grandfather was a physician and a professor at the University of Guadalajara. Some of my uncles were physicians too, and that must surely have had something to do with my decision to study medicine. I started medical school at the University of Guadalajara in 1980, the same year my father died.
I did my internship at the Fray Antonio Alcalde Hospital in Guadalajara, where I would return ten years later as a staff psychiatrist. In 1987 I took a national exam to be eligible for psychiatry specialization. I was successful, and became a resident at the Fray Bernardino Alvarez Psychiatric Hospital in Mexico City, under the direction of Dr. José Luis Patiño Rojas. While I was a resident, I founded a journal, Revista del Residente de Psiquiatría, which was very successful during its five-year run of publication.
In 1991 I started advanced training in consultation/liaison psychiatry at the Mexican Institute of Psychiatry, and finished at Hôpital Saint Antoine in Paris, thanks to the support of Dr Yves Pélicier. Dr Pélicier and Dr Jean Garrabé opened the doors of both science and culture for me in Paris.
Fascinated by the intensity of academic life at the Social Sciences Graduate School (EHESS) in Paris, I began a new cycle of studies in social anthropology and ethnology in 1992, this time under the mentorship of Prof François Raveau. I completed a Master’s degree, and then went on for a PhD. I completed my doctoral dissertation on ethnopsychiatry, under the supervision of Prof Christian Duverger. My doctoral dissertation; Vers une Ethnopsychiatrie Mexicaine: la médecine traditionelle dans une communauté Nahua du Guerrero, was published in France in 2000, thanks to the unanimous support of my thesis committee.
While I was in Paris, studying for my PhD in ethnopsychiatry, I did further clinical specialty training in alcohol and drug addiction at the University of Paris V “René Descartes”, under the supervision of Dr Yves Pélicier.
My current academic positions are; Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Anthropology of Health, at the University of Guadalajara. I supervise research projects in the PhD program in Public Health Sciences, as well as many undergraduate and graduate thesis projects.
I am concurrently head of the inpatient psychiatry department of the Fray Antonio Alcalde civil hospital in Guadalajara, a research professor at the University of Guadalajara, and a member of the SNI ( Mexican National Research Network).
I am currently working along three lines of research: ethnopsychiatry, medical anthopology and liaison psychiatry. I have taken part in medical research projects since 1982, including; “Elaboration of the concept of bouffée délirante”, “La médecine Nahua à l’époque précolombienne”, “An ethnopsychiatric study on the persistence and transformation of explanations and modes of indigenous treatment of mental disorder in some Nahua communities in the Alto Balsas”, “A comprehensive study of risk factors in Type II diabetes patients”, “Towards an ethnopsychiatry of western Mexico”, “Recent oral history of the Fray Antonio Alcalde civil hospital”, “An ethnopsychiatric device for indigenous migrant workers”, and “The history of psychiatry in Jalisco, Mexico”. I have been fortunate to be invited to become a member of many scientific associations, including the Jalisco Psychiatric Association, of which I am President, and the Transcultural Psychiatry Section of the World Psychiatric Association. In 2001 I was appointed honorary professor of the Institute of Spanish-speaking Psychiatrists. I am a founding member of the Ethnopsychiatry Section of the Mexican Psychiatric Association and of the Latin American Psychiatric Association. I am an active member of the Mexican Academy of Science and of the Mexican Association of Psychiatry.
Always interested in the dissemination of science, I have served on the editorial boards of the Journal of the School of Medicine of the University of Colombia, Vertex ( the Argentine Journal of Psychiatry ), Psychopathology ( Journal of the Institute of Spanish-speaking Psychiatrists), and L’Evolution Psychiatrique. I am also the founding editor of Investigación en Salud, an indexed journal of the University Center for Health Sciences of the University of Guadalajara and the civil hospital of Guadalajara.
I have published 6 books, 54 articles in national and international journals, and 10 book chapters. My most recent book is; The Drunkenness of the Divine – A Culture-Bound Syndrome: from trance by possession and “el costumbre” to collective hysteria. I also co-authored the GLADP (Latin American Guide for Psychiatric Diagnosis) of the Latin American Psychiatric Association. I published Los hijos del fraile (“The children of the Friar”) in 2003, and La psicología en la obra de Juan Rulfo (“Psychology in the works of Juan Rulfo”) in 2001. The University of Guadalajara published my book; La Misogenia: El Odio al Origen (“Misogeny: Hatred of One’s Origin”), in 1998, and Encuentros Franco-Mexicanos de Etnopsiquiatría y Psiquiatría in 1994.
I have participated as a lecturer at over 90 scientific congresses in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Austria, Germany, France, Portugal, Egypt and Japan. I have been a guest professor at the Intercontinental University in Mexico, the Université de Picardie in France and the University of Carabobo in Venezuela.
In recent years I have been honored by becoming a member of the Mexican Academy of Science, president of the Jalisco Psychiatric Association, receiving the 2005 research award of the Medical College of the Jalisco Medical Association, the 2004 “Premio Jalisco” in Health Science in the specialty of psychiatry, awarded by the University of Guadalajara, and the Enrique Díaz de León Award of the University of Guadalajara for outstanding professional work in hospital medical care, in 2003.
I am married to Dolores Villa. We have two children, four-year-old Sergio Miguel and one-year-old Eunice Anaïs. My daughter Verónica is now 20 years old.
October 5, 2006