June 2020 Newsletter

As our country teams have begun preparing to resume some study activities, our team in Uganda has redesigned their offices to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus and received training on how to screen and report suspected cases to the Masaka District surveillance office. These skills were put to use during the Kyaterekera study’s quarterly Community Collaborative Board meeting, where participating stakeholders had to undergo screening and to observe social distancing measures. At the request of study participants, the SMART Africa-Ghana team is also looking into resuming their Multiple Family Group sessions. Also featured below are some profiles of our Uganda staff’s amazing journeys. You can see the pipeline and commitment of young researchers in Uganda through this talented team.

Speaking of a pipeline, our three (temporarily online) training programs are in full swing as our 25 fellows have completed their first three weeks of training. This has included lectures on health disparities, community engagement as well as sessions on preparing NIH grant applications and manuscripts. We look forward to continuing this packed agenda over the next month or so.

We are also pleased to announce that ICHAD Director Fred Ssewamala and ICHAD Co-Director Proscovia Nabunya have received a new R21, “Suubi4Stigma: Addressing HIV-Associated Stigma Among Adolescents” funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. This grant will examine the feasibility,  acceptability and preliminary impact of two evidence-based interventions, Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Multiple Family Group, to address HIV/AIDS associated stigma among adolescents living with HIV in Uganda.

Our teams have used their “break” from study implementation to focus on dissemination activities, and we are pleased to share that four new publications have come out this month. Two of them feature our SMART Africa-Kenya colleagues, Dr. Anne Mbwayo who examined teachers’ perspectives of mental health in Kenyan schools and Dr. Manasi Kumar, who looked at how COVID-19 has impacted pregnant teens in Kenya. Dr. Fred Ssewamala, along with ICHAD Affiliate Larissa Jennings Mayo-Wilson published an article in AIDS and Behavior that examines the effects of a microenterprise intervention on economically-vulnerable African-American young adults. Finally, Drs. Fred Ssewamala, Proscovia Nabunya, Ozge Sensoy Bahar, ICHAD Affiliate Dr. Patricia Cavazos, and PhD Student William Byansi had a publication in AIDS Care that examines the HIV disclosure among in- and out of school adolescents and the effects it has in terms of social isolation, depression and adherence to prescribed medication. More details can be found below.

You can find our June 2020 Newsletter here.