Giovanni Torello (Sau Paulo) - ENG
Editor of Psychiatry on line Brazil
Paulista School of Medicine
Federal University of San Paulo
Internet in Brazil
In Brazil for a number of complex reasons the government has been a constant and dominating presence in the economic, social, and even private life of ordinary citizens. Information technology and Internet itself as a means of communication have also been subject to government interference. Internet in Brazil started to be free, for ordinary citizens, only in the beginning of 1995.
Computer equipment, software and hardware was, and still are, taxed very heavily. In spite of all these obstacle, Internet in Brazil has developed at an amazing speed. Internet users in all South America are estimated at 1.250.000. In Brazil the number, according to different sources, ranges >from 800.000 to 1.000.000.
According to an estimate of the Brazilian Psychiatry Society, there are currently about six thousand practicing psychiatrists in the country, mostly in large urban centers. The Brazilian Psychiatry Society database holds information on three thousand psychiatrists, of whom two thousand are actual Society members.
In spite of their excellent scientific standing, few Brazilian universities are actually productive in the field of psychiatry. Furthermore, these institutions are geographically concentrated in a few regions and are funded almost exclusively by government grants.
Psychiatry and Internet
To a developing country such as Brazil and with its continental proportions, the Internet represents much more than a new technological resource. It offers a possibility for reformulating teaching methods and helps minimize the hardships and deficiencies met by the education system throughout the country. In the academic field of psychiatry, Brazilian education and research centers are located maily in the Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo axis. In our country, the organization of regional symposiums for knowledge updating and dissemination purposes is usually costly and complex. As an alternative, Internet mailing lists, newsgroups and carefully designed Web pages could be used to deliver, to needy institutions in remote locations, the information generated at major educational centers.
Psychiatry on line Brazil
Psychiatry on line Brazil, the first Brazilian electronic publication in the field of Psychiatry, started in June 1996. At present the number of visitors to the magazine site has been growing at an amazingly fast rate.
Our address book contains the names of more than five hundred colleagues who view the magazine on a regular basis. During the past year we participated as guest speakers in the main congresses on psychiatry and mental health in Brazil, on which occasions we communicated the work we have been doing while publishing Psychiatry on Line Brazil. We have been investing a considerable amount of time and effort to create a new and efficient medium for the field of psychiatry. We intend for it to serve not only for disseminating news and information, but also to inform users about the potential benefits of the Internet . We plan to offer them technical assistance in the acquisition and utilization of Internet tools. We want our site to be the booster and starting point for all Brazilian psychiatrists who intend to plunge in the Internet universe.
The Mailing List of Brazilian Psychiatry
In October of 1997 we started the first Mailing List of Brazilian Psychiatry on the Internet. Today our list is fully operative, with more than two hundred subscribers, and continuously growing.