ICHAD Research Associates, Research Assistants and Staff Graduate

Congratulations to ICHAD’s Research Associates, Research Assistants and Staff who graduated this May! From the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Josephine Nabayinda received her PhD in Social Work, Drs. Samuel Kizito and Joshua Kiyingi received PhDs in Public Health Sciences. ICHAD’s founding director, Dr. Fred Ssewamala served as the chair of all three dissertation committees. Other committee members include Drs. Proscovia Nabunya, Mary McKay, Lindsay Stark, Ross Brownson, Derek Brown and Kim Johnson (Brown School), Dr. Susan Witte (Columbia University), and Dr. Torsten Neilands (University of California San Francisco. We appreciate their unwavering support to our graduates!

We also congratulate three research assistants who graduated with a Master of Public Health, Edward Nsubuga, Peter Kalulu and Lawrence Katumba.

From our Uganda Field Office, Flavia Nanteza, Assistant Study Coordinator, graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration; Sarah Nanono, Research Assistant, graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Science and Information Technology; and Nicholas Kyanda, Center Driver, graduated with a Certificate in Computer Science and Information Technology.

We asked our graduates to reflect on how ICHAD has enriched their academic and professional journey, their greatest accomplishments, and next steps. Read their responses below.

Dr. Josephine Nabayinda, PhD in Social Work
Dissertation Title: Economic Empowerment of Young Women in Southern Uganda: An Embedded Mixed methods Dissertation Study.

How ICHAD has enriched her academic journey: “My journey with ICHAD has been about more than just professional growth; it has been a journey of personal and scholarly transformation. The mentorship, guidance, and collaborative spirit within ICHAD has not only shaped my research capabilities but also played a fundamental role in shaping the scholar I am today. The lessons learned and experiences gained through my involvement with ICHAD have been instrumental in shaping my academic trajectory and have instilled in me a reflective appreciation for the power of collaborative research in driving positive change.”

On her greatest achievement: “Before joining ICHAD and embarking on my doctoral program, the prospect of having my work published seemed distant. However, with the invaluable support of ICHAD’s datasets and mentorship from Prof. Fred Ssewamala, I am thrilled to share that I have led 5 peer-reviewed articles, published in high-impact journals, including in Social Science & Medicine. Additionally, I have co-authored 15 other articles. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities and support provided by ICHAD and my doctoral program.”

Next Steps: “I am thrilled to share that I will be undertaking a dual postdoctoral fellowship with ICHAD and the Office of the Vice Provost at WashU, a prospect that fills me with excitement and anticipation. Also, I will continue my role as the managing editor for the Global Social Welfare Journal. Through these roles, I will deepen my research agenda and contribute meaningfully to both academia and the broader community.

Dr. Joshua Kiyingi, PhD in Public Health Sciences
Dissertation Title: Economic Behavior and HIV Risk Behavior Among Vulnerable Women: A Prospective Randomized Control Study in Southern Uganda.

How ICHAD has enriched his academic journey: “Beginning my research path with ICHAD laid a strong foundation and presented numerous growth opportunities for me. Overseeing  ICHAD’s three randomized clinical trials in Uganda provided invaluable hands-on experience that fueled my educational aspirations. With Dr. Fred’s steadfast support, I applied and was admitted into the PhD program in Public Health Sciences at WashU. His guidance persisted as I advanced through my PhD. My time at WashU working with ICHAD has been immensely rewarding. I enhanced my academic writing and statistical methods, co-authoring multiple peer-reviewed publications in high impact factor journals. These experiences not only enhanced my academic achievements but also positioned me for a future in research and public health.”

On his greatest achievement: “My most significant achievement was the publication of my first peer-reviewed article titled “Prevalence and predictors of HIV and sexually transmitted infections among vulnerable women engaged in sex work: Findings from the Kyaterekera Project in Southern Uganda” in PLOS One. This milestone not only instilled confidence in my abilities but also sparked my passion for writing, that resulted into  leading and co-authoring  several other publications.”

Next Steps: “I look forward to securing a postdoctoral position to hone my skills in academic writing, and subsequently, an Assistant Professor position.”

Dr. Samuel Kizito, PhD in Public Health Sciences
Dissertation Title: Optimizing Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy Among Adolescents Living with HIV in Low- and Middle-Income Settings.

How ICHAD has enriched his academic journey: “Being a member of ICHAD made my PhD journey worth remembering, in several ways. First, by providing me with readily available data for my dissertation, I did not have to endure the challenges of collecting primary data, which was critical in significantly reducing the time I spent in the PhD program. Moreover, having Dr. Ssewamala as my dissertation chair and Dr. Nabunya as a committee member provided additional supp ort. Besides, ICHAD has tremendously built my professional experience—under the mentorship of Dr. Ssewamala. First, offering the Researcher Resilience Training (RRT) fellowship, equipped me with invaluable skills in research methodology. Second, ICHAD has sponsored me to present at numerous international conferences, and to co-author over 30 publications—including 10 as a first author, all  during my PhD. Finally, I have had an opportunity to engage in grant writing, a skill that will be vital in my academic life.”

On his greatest achievement: “My greatest achievement is being a father to a wonderful five-year-old son.”

Next steps: “My next step is to embark on my journey towards becoming an independent researcher. I am staying at the Brown School as a Research Assistant Professor and will continue working with ICHAD to conduct  my research.”

Anything else to share:  “Coming from a clinical sciences background, being a part of ICHAD has enabled me to better appreciate the social determinants of health, and why it is important to implement interventions that address structural barriers to accessing and staying in care.”

Peter Kalulu, Master of Public Health, Global health

How ICHAD has enriched his academic journey:  “I joined ICHAD as a graduate research assistant, and since then, I have never been the same. ICHAD allowed me to gain hands-on research skills, applying in-class research methods to real-world situations. The most exciting part was collaborating with global health leaders and contributing to improving health outcomes worldwide.”

Greatest achievement: “Through ICHAD, I have been able to champion research processes with the team to increase knowledge in the field of public health.”

Next steps: “With the knowledge I have gained from WashU and ICHAD, I am more determined than ever to use my skills and experiences to make a tangible difference in the lives of vulnerable communities worldwide.”


Flavia Nanteza, Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration
Kampala University

How ICHAD has enriched her academic journey: “ICHAD has provided me with invaluable opportunities to engage with  diverse populations. One of the most significant experience was my role as an assistant study coordinator for the Kyaterekera study, where I applied the principle of non-judgmental research. Working directly with women engaged in sex work was particularly impactful, teaching me the importance of empathy and the need to withhold judgment. This principle, although taught in class lectures, it became deeply significant through firsthand experience, highlighting the widespread unfair judgment these women face. It reinforced the importance of empathy and conducting unbiased research.”

On the role of mentorship: “Under the mentorship of Dr. Fred, I received important career advice that inspired me to return to school. His guidance and support have been instrumental in shaping my academic and professional path, providing clarity and direction for my future endeavors. This mentorship has empowered me to contribute more effectively to our projects and align my personal goals with ICHAD’s mission.”

Greatest achivement: “Graduating was a big milestone, but my greatest achievements include the ability to support my family financially, advancing my research skills, and forming strong connections with colleagues, which have been helpful for my professional growth.”

Next steps: As I move forward, my main goal is to put into practice what I have learned from school. I am eager to use my skills and knowledge in real-world situations, tackling new challenges and opportunities for professional growth. I look forward to gaining hands-on experience, enhancing my research abilities, and strengthening connections within my field.

Nicholas Kyanda, Certificate in Computer Science and Information Technology
Kampala University

How ICHAD has enriched his academic journey: “I was hesitant to advance my education due to lack of motivation and financial support. ICHAD gave me the motivation I needed to start my academic journey. ICHAD has also supported many people to advance their education, and have become great individuals. The testimonies of these individuals have always motivated me to advance my academic qualifications. Most important, the constant advice from my mentor Dr. Fred, who always encourage and supports us to advance our education by allowing us to work and study concurrently. With this, I was able to always meet my education-related financial costs on time and  concentrate.”

Greatest achivements: “My academic journey has greatly improved my self-worth and confidence. Before joining ICHAD, I had lost hope in my future. Through the exposure gained at ICHAD and my academic achievements, I now believe that I can offer great things to our community and the world.”

Next steps: I plan to use the knowledge I have gained at school to enhance my performance in all the work I do, and to have a positive impact on others. ICHAD has taught me not to settle for less so I plan on continuing my academic journey as soon as an opportunity arises to keep growing. As they say, the future belongs to those who dare to dream beyond boundaries…”

Sarah Nanono, Bachelor of Computer Science and Information Technology
Kampala University

How ICHAD has enriched her academic journey: “I am truly grateful for the salary I have received, as it has played a crucial role in supporting my academic journey, and the ability to cover my tuition and other education-related expenses.  I would like to express my gratitude to my coworkers, supervisors, managers, and Dr. Fred for their belief in me and for providing the opportunity to be part of the ICHAD family. It has been a valuable learning experience, and I am still learning.”

Greatest accomplishment: My greatest accomplishment has been transitioning from a temporary staff position to a permanent position and building a strong support system.”

Next steps: “I plan to focus on personal development, recognizing that this is just the beginning of my journey. I aim to work harder, remain committed to my work, stay curious, and continually learn.”