We are thrilled to share ICHAD and SMART Africa’s first newsletter of 2019.
The aim of our newsletter is to share updates and provide a platform for dissemination with policymakers, collaborators, researchers, and students that are involved with or interested in ICHAD and SMART Africa’s efforts. In this newsletter, you can learn about our latest news including innovative applied research projects, capacity building opportunities, and dissemination activities including conferences and publications.
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ICHAD and SMART Africa Teams
UPDATES FROM THE FIELD
SMART Africa-Uganda The SMART Africa-Uganda study, which is the scale-up site for the SMART Africa Center funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has resumed the Multiple Family Group (MFG) intervention sessions after the holiday break. Interventions one through 14 of the Amaka Amasanyufu (Happy Families) manual have been conducted for all four treatment arm schools, and session 15 is in the process of being delivered. In addition, the SMART Africa team has been training 24 intervention facilitators, both parent peers (12) and community health workers (12), to equip them with delivery techniques and familiarize them with the manual content. The facilitators completed their Knowledge Skills and Attitude Test (KSAT). A joint meeting was held at the Hotel Brovad on February 2nd, 2019 for the 24 facilitators who already completed the training and are currently delivering the MFG intervention and the new group of 24 facilitators who have been receiving training. Hearing from more experienced facilitators on their field and training experiences provided a great learning experience for the new facilitators. Certificates for completion of the Amaka Amasanyufu training were then awarded to 31 facilitators; 24 currently delivering the intervention and 7 who just completed the training and scored the required pass mark of 85% in the KSAT. It was a joyous event!
SMART Africa-Kenya The SMART Africa-Kenya team is currently preparing their MFG intervention implementation plan for their pilot study. The team hosted the Uganda and U.S. team members in December 2018 to be trained in MFG delivery. On January 7 and 8, 2019, the Kenya team visited the control and two treatment schools to provide a comprehensive description of the study. The head teachers of each school officially agreed to participate in the study. The team will continue the outreach with the head teachers to provide regular updates on their study efforts. Congratulations, Kenya team, on obtaining permission to conduct the study in the selected schools!
SMART Africa-Ghana The SMART Africa-Ghana team has been hard at work in the field to also launch their pilot study. The team completed the randomization of the schools into the different study arms: the control arm, the treatment arm facilitated by the school health education program coordinators (SHEPs), and the treatment arm facilitated by the parent peers. In the past few weeks, the team consented 68 children and their caregivers in the control school. The research team recently completed the screening assessments with the consented caregivers. The team is currently finalizing the scoring of the screening assessments and will soon embark on collecting drawings from children for the illustration of the Dang-Malgu manual (Family Togetherness in Dagbani, the local language in the study area). Congratulations, Ghana Team, for your hard work in the field!
Suubi4Her Recruitment for the NIMH-funded Suubi4Her study is now complete! A total of 1260 adolescent girls have been recruited to participate in the study and have all completed baseline assessments. To prepare for the implementation phase, the team is currently reviewing and adapting the MFG manual “Amaka Amasanyufu” as well as the financial literacy manual used in previous Suubi studies. The team is also creating and updating electronic folders where all participant data will be stored in password-protected and data-encrypted computers, like in all other ICHAD and SMART Africa studies. The team has done exceedingly well and we are looking forward to the implementation phase of the intervention this spring.
Kyaterekera Over the last few months, the research team for the NIMH-funded Kyaterekera study has worked diligently to prepare for project launch. The team identified and assessed over 84 sites/towns (HIV hotspots) known for commercial sex work in seven districts. Of these, 33 sites were selected as recruitment sites for the Kyaterekera study. Research staff also completed the pretesting exercise for the study instruments. The team is currently working on finalizing the implementation plan and all project materials, including the financial literacy and HIV risk reduction manuals, assessment instruments, and translation of all the study materials.MPIs Drs. Fred Ssewamala and Susan Witte visited the team in early February to convene a stakeholder meeting in order to present the study to local stakeholders and collaborators. Nearly 90 stakeholders were in attendance including local government officials, representatives from NGOs, women engaged in sex work and district police commanders. During the meeting, the ICHAD team introduced the study and convened several panels representing the various interests and partners involved in the project.Following the stakeholders meeting, the first Community Collaborative Board (CCB) meeting was held with a smaller subset of the stakeholder group. During this meeting, Dr. Witte presented the concept, roles, and responsibilities of the CCB and Reach the Youth Executive Director, Dr. Abel Mwebembezi, led a discussion about the board makeup and future plans. Twelve attendees volunteered to serve on the CCB.
Suubi4Cancer In early February, all three study MPIs, Drs. Fred Ssewamala, Kim Johnson and Ozge Sensoy Bahar visited the ICHAD office in Masaka to launch the Suubi4Cancer study funded by the National Cancer Institute. During this time, the first Suubi4Cancer stakeholders meeting was held, which included representatives from all 39 clinics that participated in the Suubi+Adherence study as well as several District Health Officers. At this meeting, the ICHAD team reviewed the study objectives, sought input from the clinics, and discussed the draft letter of agreement. Later that week, the Suubi4Cancer team also visited several potential study sites including Villa Maria Hospital, Kitovu Mobile and TASO to ascertain what and how data is collected within each clinic. While in Kampala, the team also met with the Uganda Cancer Institute (Suubi4Cancer study partner and the only health care institution providing cancer care in Uganda) to tour the facilities, learn about the referral process, and discuss the study details. The team is currently working on finalizing the documents to apply for approval from the ethics review board at the Uganda Cancer Institute and Washington University in St. Louis.
Congratulations to ICHAD’s Three “New” Co-Directors! Dr. Fred Ssewamala would like to announce the promotion of Drs. Proscovia Nabunya, Ozge Sensoy Bahar and Lindsay Stark as ICHAD’s new Co-Directors. As Co-Directors, they will provide additional strategic advice and oversite to all ICHAD projects as well as continue to represent the center at conferences and meetings. Dr. Proscovia Nabunya officially joined the team in July 2018, but has been working with Dr. Ssewamala and the ICHAD team for more than a decade. In fact, she was the first ICHAD study coordinator and is a testament to ICHAD’s dedication to building a pipeline of strong researchers. Dr. Nabunya brings a wealth of knowledge related to family and community-based support systems as protective factors for child development and wellbeing, HIV-related stigma, and economic strengthening interventions. Dr. Sensoy Bahar, a qualitatively trained researcher focused on issues related to poverty, migration, and child and family wellbeing, has been collaborating with the ICHAD team for the last three years. Dr. Lindsay Stark is the newest addition to the ICHAD team, recently joining the Brown School faculty from Columbia University. She is an internationally recognized expert on the protection and well-being of women and children in situations of extreme adversity. All three Co-Directors serve as Co-Investigators or PIs/MPIs on various grants. Please join us in congratulating our Co-Directors as they help guide ICHAD’s rapid growth over the coming years.
Defensive Driving and Vehicle Maintenance Training All ICHAD Uganda staff recently received training on the basics of motor vehicle/cycle maintenance, driving skills, and defensive driving. Facilitated by a technical representative from Prestige Driving School in Masaka, the instructor provided the team with basic knowledge about cars and motorcycles as well as machine maintenance and risk management. The instructor also reviewed road signs. This will help to ensure safety of Research Assistants when collecting data from the field. Our dear Ugandan team, be safe as you go out in the field to collect data!Editor’s note: As an American visitor, driving in Uganda is no joke! In a two-week period, I witnessed many terrifying exploits on the road from a boda boda driver hauling not one but two bunk beds on his motorcycle, to a two-lane highway somehow accommodating five lanes of (fast moving) traffic! I am thankful to Ivan and the entire ICHAD staff for their driving skills and grace.
New Research Assistant We are excited to welcome Yuanyuan Yang, our new Research Assistant at ICHAD. Yuanyuan Yang is a doctoral student at Brown School of Social Work. She received her bachelor’s degree in management from Beijing Normal University and master’s degree in public policy from New York University. Previously, she worked as a Research Assistant at the China Center for Social Policy and the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research. Her research interests lie in asset-based poverty policy, social assistance and financial literacy in China, the U.S., and other countries. Her current research focuses on the anti-poverty effectiveness of the primary social assistance program in China, Dibao and social mobility among different poverty groups in China. Utilizing her rich educational background, Yuanyuan is already making a big impact at the ICHAD office in Saint Louis.
Sensitivity Training – Working with Vulnerable Populations During her visit to the field this month, Kyaterekera Project MPI Dr. Susan Witte conducted a sensitivity training for the ICHAD-Uganda staff to increase awareness and provide them with the skills necessary to work with vulnerable populations. This two-hour training consisted of group discussions and case studies focused on issues impacting women engaged in sex work (WESW), including myths and stigma associated with sex work, and accessibility of services by WESW in communities. The ICHAD team will be working closely with WESW in the newly awarded Kyaterekera study, so it is important that the team is properly trained and sensitized. During this session, many common myths were dispelled including “all sex workers were abused as children” or “sex workers do not use condoms.” Dr. Witte also discussed the impacts of both external and internal stigma on women and communities. At the end of the session, the ICHAD team brainstormed ideas about how to improve services for vulnerable women and how to ensure that the study is conducted in a sensitive and respectful manner. Great job team!
REDCAP Training Session Suubi4Cancer MPI, Dr. Kim Johnson, met with ICHAD data staff on her recent trip to Masaka to train them on a new data collection tool, REDCAP. Dr. Johnson and the ICHAD team plan to use REDCAP to collect clinical data around confirmed and suspected cancer cases among more than 3,000 HIV-positive youth. The team will use this data to explore preliminary outcomes of an intervention on access to cancer diagnosis, care and treatment of HIV-infected children in Sub-Saharan Africa. REDCAP is a free, HIPAA compliant data collection tool originally developed by Vanderbilt University to house clinical data. It will be beneficial to the Uganda team as data can be collected and stored electronically without an internet connection, and can be easily downloaded into other formats such as SPSS and STATA for more complex data analysis.
New Publication Assessing the Impact of an Asset-based Intervention on Educational Outcomes ICHAD and SMART Africa team members Dr. Proscovia Nabunya, Phionah Namatovu, Christopher Damulira, Dr. Apollo Kivumbi, William Byansi, Miriam Mukasa, Jennifer Nattabi, and Dr. Fred Ssewamala co-authored an article entitled, “Assessing the impact of an asset-based intervention on educational outcomes on orphaned children and adolescents: Findings from a randomised experiment in Uganda.” Published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, the article utilized the Bridges study data to examine the effect of an asset-based intervention on academic performance and school transition among orphaned and vulnerable children in Uganda. Results showed that when compared with those in the control group, participants in the treatment arms received better grades and were more likely to transition to post-primary education. Congratulations to the team for contributing to the field of education among vulnerable children!
New Publication Analyzing the Effects of Social Support and Family Cohesion on ART among HIV-Positive Youth ICHAD and SMART Africa team members Christopher Damulira, Miriam Mukasa, William Byansi, Dr. Proscovia Nabunya, Dr. Apollo Kivumbi, Phionah Namatovu, Flavia Namuwonge, Daji Dvalishvili, Dr. Ozge Sensoy Bahar and Dr. Fred Ssewamala co-authored an article entitled, “Examining the relationship of social support and family cohesion on ART adherence among HIV-positive adolescents in Southern Uganda: Baseline findings.” Published in the Journal of Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, the article examined the social support factors associated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among HIV-positive adolescents, using data from the Suubi+Adherence study. The authors found that after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, family cohesion and social support was correlated with self-reported adherence to ART. Congratulations to the team for contributing to the field of health and HIV!
The Adolescent HIV Prevention and Treatment Implementation Science Alliance Implementation Science (AHISA) Forum Earlier this month ICHAD was given the opportunity to help organize the NIH Fogarty International Center’s annual “Adolescent HIV Prevention and Treatment Implementation Science Alliance Implementation Science Forum,” which was held in Kampala, Uganda. This forum brought together nearly 100 policymakers, community stakeholders and NIH-funded researchers to discuss and help address implementation challenges related to prevention, screening, and treatment of HIV among adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa. The conference was officially opened by the U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Hon. Deborah Ruth Malac, who emphasized the U.S. government’s commitment to addressing HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region. The Prime Minister of Uganda, Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, was the Keynote Speaker for the conference and addressed the role of the Ugandan government in the early days of the AIDS epidemic and talked about the greater need for collaboration between researchers, implementers, and policymakers. Other panel discussions covered “Putting Science into Practice” and “Developing a Sustainable Research Enterprise.” There were additional workshops on concept mapping and a training on implementation science. Many thanks to ICHAD team members Flavia Namuwonge, Phionah Namatovu, Rebecca Walugembe and Christopher Damulira who provided invaluable logistical support for the event.
Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Conference Several team members from ICHAD and SMART Africa attended the 23rd “Society for Social Work and Research” (SSWR) conference in January 2019 in San Francisco, California. This year’s conference was themed ‘’Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence.” During the conference, Dr. Fred Ssewamala was inducted as a fellow of the Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and recognized as an outstanding leader in social work. Two doctoral students, Thabani Nyoni and William Byansi presented posters highlighting results from the Suubi-Maka and ongoing SMART Africa studies respectively, and ICHAD Co-Director Dr. Proscovia Nabunya gave an oral presentation titled: “Examining the Effect of Child Development Accounts (CDAs) on Self-Efficacy Among Children and Adolescents Orphaned By HIV/AIDS in Southwestern Uganda.” These findings, from the Bridges to the Future study, were presented as part of the “Inclusive Child Development Accounts in the Global Contest Symposium.”
GLOBAL FELLOWS CORNER
Timothy Opobo ICHAD and SMART Africa are happy to announce that SMART Africa Global Fellow Mr. Timothy Opobo has received a grant worth 370,000 USD from the Korean government to support work with children from refugee communities in Uganda. In addition, he presented on “Planning for Gender Justice” at the 3rd Annual Plan for Every Child National Conference held from December 5-7, 2018 at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. Moreover, Timothy recently served as the Master of Ceremonies at the “Adolescent HIV Prevention and Implementation Science Alliance” (AHISA) meeting held in Kampala. He introduced the agenda, the purpose of the conference, as well as provided opening introductions for the Ugandan Prime Minister, the U.S. Ambassador, and NIH colleagues. Congratulations, Timothy, for your contribution to achieving justice for children in vulnerable communities!
Dr. Latoya Small SMART Africa and ICHAD are thrilled about SMART Africa Global Fellow Dr. Layota Small’s recent achievements. In January, along with SMART Africa Global Fellow Dr. Tyrone Parchment and SMART Africa member Dr. Arvin Bhana, Dr. Small presented on “Parent-Child Communication in Disorganized Neighborhoods: Helping South African Caregivers Talk to their Children to Reduce Risk Behaviors” at the 23rd Annual “Society for Social Work and Research” conference in San Francisco, CA. In addition to her presentation, Dr. Small has started data collection for her study that aims to examine compounding mental health and socioeconomic stressors on HIV treatment adherence to better understand the specific needs of Black women living with HIV in urban Los Angeles. Finally, she has received a UCLA Faculty Research grant for a study entitled, “Exploring Employment Discrimination in Relation to Health and Sexual Risk Behaviors among Transgender Young Adults.” She will serve as the Principal Investigator for the project. Congratulations, Dr. Small, for all your accomplishments!
Dr. Lindsay Stark and Ilana Seff Dr. Lindsay Stark and PhD candidate Ilana Seff presented at a Speaker Series event on February 19, 2019. This event was co-sponsored by the Master of Public Health Program, ICHAD, and SMART Africa Center at the Brown School. Dr. Stark and Ms. Seff provided the attendees with valuable insights concerning gender norms and attitudes, the role they play in the perpetration of intimate partner violence and their implications for health among adolescents in Nigeria. This presentation was followed by a Q&A session which provided students a forum to ask specific questions pertaining to Dr. Stark and Mrs. Seff’s findings.
Dean Mary McKay On January 29, 2019, Dean Mary McKay presented at the ICHAD and SMART Africa Speaker Series. Entitled “Adapting HIV Prevention and Care Supports for Youth and Families across Contexts and Systems”, her presentation identified the current challenges children and families face, including the lack of publicly funded services systems, and how we can meet the complex needs of youth and families. Dean McKay further highlighted the CHAMP model (Collaborative HIV prevention and Adolescent Mental Health Project), which aims to bolster key family and youth processes related to youth health and risk taking behaviors. Dean McKay concluded her presentation by explaining how important it is for each study intervention and implementation to be adapted to the particular culture and context of the particular population they are intended for.
Job Openings at the International Center for Research on Women ICRW is made up of a diverse staff that is committed to alleviating global poverty by helping women and girls in developing countries improve their lives. The organization values a collegial and stimulating work environment in which employees feel valued, challenged and respected. ICRW offers a variety of job opportunities in research, administration, finance and communications. They also offer post-doctoral fellowships and internships. You Can Learn More Here
Women in Global Health Women in Global Health (WGH) is an international network aiming to achieve gender equality in global health leadership through advocating for gender transformative leadership. With support from Provost Holden Thorp and William G. Powderly, MD the Larry J. Shapiro Director of the Institute for Public Health and Director of its Global Health Center at Washington University in St. Louis, the Midwest Chapter of WGH was launched in December 2018 and is accepting membership applications. You Can Learn More Here
10th Annual CUGH Conference:
Translation and Implementation for Impact in Global Health Join more than 1,800 scientists, faculty, students, and implementers from over 50 countries from academia, NGOs, government and the private sector for the 10th Annual CUGH Conference from March 8-10, 2019 in Chicago. The conference will address pressing international and domestic global health, and development challenges. You Can Learn More Here
6th World Congress on Mental Health, Psychiatry and Well-being This conference will be held from March 20-21, 2019 in New York City. The theme of this year’s conference, which brings together mental health researchers is: “Mental health matters: Mental illness is not a choice, but recovery is for wellbeing”. You Can Learn More Here
Global Health & Infectious Disease Conference The seventh annual “Global Health & Infectious Disease Conference”, hosted by the Global Health Center at the Institute for Public Health, is focused on the recent advances and emerging trends in HIV research. It will take place on Friday, March 22, 2019 from 8-3 pm. The event includes a panel discussion, poster session, and lunch. You Can Register for the Event Here
NIMH 10th Anniversary Conference NNIMH will be hosting its 10th Anniversary Conference “Global Mental Health Research without Borders” on April 8-9, 2019 in Bethesda, Maryland. This conference will be co-hosted by the NIMH Center for Global Mental Health Research and Grand Challenges Canada to showcase findings from cutting-edge science and identify opportunities for groundbreaking research to address the grand challenges in global mental health. You Can Learn More Here
European Conference for Social Work Research 2019 The European Social Work Research Association will be holding a conference on April 10-12, 2019 in Leuven, Belgium. This conference focuses on the ways social work research and practice can operate in the context of changing welfare state paradigms, and in particular how core values of human rights and social justice can be embodied and realized. You Can Learn More Here
21st Biennial International Conference of International Consortium for Social Development (ICSD) ICSD aspires to end poverty and create economic, social and environmental sustainability. ICSD’s conference will be held from July 16-19 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This international conference, which is open to practitioners, academics and students, will be themed “Strengthening Social Development to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” and aims to accelerate the impact of the 17 SDGs and 169 targets at the national and global level. You Can Learn More Here
Mental Health Conferences in 2019 A number of global conferences on mental health are held annually in different international venues. These conferences bring together expert clinicians, researchers and leaders of stakeholder organizations in the field of mental health, psychiatry and psychology. To Access the Full List of Conferences, Please Click Here
Staff Weddings Love was in the air this December as two SMART Africa Research Assistants got married. First, Medress Nansubuga wed Mr. Kateregga at Masaka Pentecostal Church on December 15, 2018. Jaqueline Nanteza wed Mr. Bbaale Simon at Kimanya Catholic Parish on December 29, 2018. Congratulations to Medress and Jaqueline! The ICHAD team wishes you success and happiness in your marriages.
Welcoming a New Semester ICHAD/SMART Africa started 2019 with a bang, submitting two new R21 grant applications in the first three weeks of the year. Both focused on addressing HIV-related stigma in different contexts. To celebrate the team’s hard work and launch the beginning of a new semester, Dr. Fred Ssewamala hosted the entire ICHAD/SMART Africa at Salt + Smoke restaurant on the Delmar loop in St. Louis. The team had a great time trying popovers, burnt ends and the restaurant’s award winning mac and cheese.
Congratulations to Joshua Kiyingi, MSTAT Kyaterekera Study Coordinator Joshua Kiyingi graduated with a Master of Statistics from Makerere University on January 16, 2019. Joshua joined ICHAD in January 2018 as a Data Manager for SMART Africa-Uganda and was quickly promoted to Study Coordinator for the Kyaterekera project. In addition to his Masters, Joshua holds a Bachelor’s degree in quantitative economics. Congratulations Mr. Joshua on such a great achievement!
Let Us Eat Cake! To celebrate the end of a successful field visit as well as the recent marriages of Medress and Jacqueline the ICHAD team presented Dr. Fred Ssewamala and the other U.S. visitors with two cakes. The celebration included a large feast for the ICHAD team and music provided by “DJ Dr. Fred”. The U.S. visitors also had an impromptu lesson on traditional Ugandan dancing. It was a fun and memorable night enjoyed by the entire team.
SMART Africa Center International Center For Child Health and Development (ICHAD)
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