Holiday Greetings! 2019

Dear Colleagues:

On behalf of the International Center for Child Health and Development and SMART Africa, we would like to wish you a happy holiday season!

We are officially declaring 2019 to be the year of the child. ICHAD faculty, staff, and students have given birth to 7 babies this year (with more on the way!). In addition to looking after our own families, we’ve also been working tirelessly on behalf of children and adolescents in low resource communities to reduce poverty and improve health outcomes.

Through our Suubi4Her, which has recruited over 1,200 girls in secondary schools in southwestern Uganda, and Kyaterekera studies, study participants have saved more than 31,247,685 Ugandan Shillings through the use of matched savings accounts designed to improve access to education or support income-generating activities such as rearing livestock or basket weaving. Our SMART Africa teams in Uganda, Ghana, and Kenya continue to amaze and are coming down the home stretch of delivering the multiple family group intervention to more than 3,300 children to improve family communication and health outcomes. Also coming down the home stretch is the Kayayei project in Ghana that has completed all 90 interviews with caregivers and adolescents in northern Ghana to ascertain factors related to youth migration. Finally, the Suubi4Cancer team has created a database of HIV-positive youth in the Masaka region that contains more than 3,000 medical records.

This year, ICHAD also received six new grants and four renewals to support our ongoing research. Training LEADers to Accelerate Global Mental Health Disparities Research (LEAD Program) is a National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities-funded training grant designed for trainees from underrepresented groups committed to conducting health disparities research in global settings. Building off her previous research in Northern Ghana, ICHAD Co-Director Dr. Ozge Sensoy Bahar received an R21, the ANZANSI Family Program, funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This pilot study will guide approaches to address poverty-impacted African female youth’s rural-to-urban migration and involvement in child labor, and associated negative consequences. ICHAD Co-Director Proscovia Nabunya also received pilot funding to explore diet and health risks in refugee communities.

We’ve continued to push for education and capacity building efforts in order to build a pipeline of strong researchers interested in working in low resource settings. Our new LEAD Program referenced above complements our existing Researcher Resilience Training Program that also provides trainees with hands-on experience with a specific focus on global mental health prevention, intervention, services, and implementation research. 2019 saw our largest ever Annual Conference on Child Behavioral Health in Sub-Saharan Africa – with a keynote from Queen Sylvia Nagginda; and opening remarks from the Deputy Director of US National Institutes of Mental Health Dr. Shelli Avenevoli –  which brought together more than 450 researchers and stakeholders in Masaka, Uganda to discuss bridging the gap between researchers, implementation and policymakers. In 2019, the team collectively has published 17 peer-reviewed articles in numerous well respected social science, public health and medical journals, with many more in the pipeline. Many thanks to our PhD students, trainees and field research assistants who have taken the lead on many of these publications.

And throughout all of this, our team still had time to celebrate the important things in life! We’d like to congratulate ICHAD staff members Herbert Miggade, Jennifer Nattabi, and Medress Nansubuga on their 2019 weddings. Study Coordinator Wilberforce Tumwesige obtained his MSW and our former students, Charlotte Hechler (MSW), Eloho Ighofose (MSW), and Ruth Katumba (MPH) earned their graduate degrees. Best wishes to several of our field Research Assistants that are currently applying to graduate programs across the country. These programs will be lucky to have you!

Happy holidays and we look forward to working with you all in 2020!

From all of us: ICHAD Directors, Research Team, and Staff.