SMART Africa-Uganda
The Multiple Family Group (MFG) intervention for the SMART study is going well and four treatment schools have already completed eight of the 16 sessions. Wave 2 (8th week) assessments have also been completed for the guardians, their children as well as MFG facilitators (parent peers and community health workers). Group stakeholders including guardians, children, facilitators and head teachers are appreciative of the program and have noted its initial positive behavioral impact in their communities, schools, and households. Currently, consenting and training is underway for facilitators to deliver the intervention in the next four schools.

Moreover, the SMART Africa-Uganda team has successfully hosted two site monitors, Ms. Jane Namaganda and Ms. Revalyn Opar, at the ICHAD offices from November 6-8th. The team was commended for their work, especially for their data collection in the field. Many thanks to the staff and field teams for their diligent work and Dr. Fred and Dean Mary for their amazing leadership and guidance to the SMART Africa study.

SMART Africa-Kenya
On November 6th, the Kenya team held the fourth stakeholders meeting at the College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi. The agenda for the meeting was to 1) review the adapted MFG manual; 2) name the manual, and 3) discuss the upcoming training for intervention facilitators. Among the participants were five teachers, two participants from BasicNeeds-Kenya, a representative from the Ministry of Education and a clinical psychology student. A lively discussion took place to identify a name for the manual. In total, there were 18 suggestions, which, throughout the course of the meeting were narrowed down to two. The manual will be called “Familia Pamoja” (family together in Swahili). In addition, Drs. Anne Mbwayo and Manasi Kumar represented the SMART Africa-Kenya team at the National Institute of Mental Health collaborative hubs meeting in India. They found the meeting to be very informative and inspiring. The Kenya team is preparing for the upcoming MFG training that will be facilitated by the Uganda team members on December 13th and 14th. Congratulations, Kenya team, on all the progress toward successful implementation of the study!

SMART Africa-Ghana
The SMART Africa-Ghana team have officially launched their pilot study in Tamale, after the team obtained an approval letter from the Tamale Metropolis Education Office to undertake the study in schools. The participating schools have signed the Executive Letter of Agreement. On November 29th, the SMART Africa team and BasicNeeds-Ghana co-hosted a meeting with parents and children to provide an introduction to the study. Following this meeting, the caregivers had the opportunity to ask any remaining questions they had about the study. All 67 caregivers who participated in the meeting indicated their desire to be a part of the study. Congratulations to the SMART Africa-Ghana team!


In preparation for the income generating activities training  (for participants in the treatment arm), the Suubi4Her team organized a meeting with extension workers from different sub counties within the study region, which was held on November 7th. During this half-day meeting, extension workers were briefed on ICHAD’s work and mission, the Suubi4Her study and its Income Generating Activities (IGA) component, including setting clear roles and expectations of extension workers on this project. Involvement of extension workers is key to the sustainability of the program.

The ICHAD team also hosted several colleagues from Columbia University including Dr. John Santelli, Esther Drill, Phillip Kreniske and Erin Moore, during the first week of November. During their visit, they accompanied Dr. Fred Ssewamala on site visits to some of the Suubi4Her schools, including St. Micheal Butende Secondary School, Bugonzi.  The head teacher noted that they greatly appreciated the textbooks provided by the Suubi4Her study, which are displayed in the school library. This further demonstrates the impact that the ICHAD team has had on secondary schools in the region. 


Under Joshua Kiyingi’s (study coordinator) leadership, the Kyaterekera study team has been working hard to conduct formative work that will inform project implementation. The team recently met with Dr. Joseph Kagaayi (in-country principal investigator for the project) and his team from Rakai Health Sciences Program to discuss the details of the project. The study team has visited the potential sites for the Kyaterekera Project in five study districts to collect data on site demographics and to identify contacts at each site who will assist in the recruitment of female sex workers (FSWs) for the study. Altogether, the teams visited and assessed a total of 30 sites, with a potential participant pool of 811 FSWs. During site visits, the team was able to obtain information that will be helpful in determining the best times to conduct research related activities. Finally, the team identified other NGO stakeholders that have been working for FSW rights and providing FSWs with vocational skills training for years. The Kyaterekera study team is proud of all that has been accomplished in the past couple of months regarding the project.

System Dynamics Training for ICHAD and SMART Africa Teams
On November 5th and 6th, members of the ICHAD and SMART Africa St. Louis team attended a Systems Dynamics (SD) workshop led by Dr. Peter Hovmand, Director of the Social System Design Lab at the Brown School and Mr. Ellis Ballard. The workshop introduced the foundations of system dynamics (SD) and community-based system dynamics (CBSD). Participants had the opportunity to apply their SD knowledge through a hands-on exercise where they developed a model of social, economic and political barriers to service access for women in low-income countries who have experienced gender-based violence. At the end of the workshop, the facilitators solicited feedback from participants on the usefulness of these presentations as training tools and how they could benefit the center’s future activities. Overall, the group agreed that SD would be a valuable asset to future projects. 

Dr. Peter Hovman and Mr. Ellis Ballard also presented a poster based on the System Dynamics workshop at the Relationship and Sexual Violence Initiative Event at Washington University on December 4th. This poster presented content and conceptualization of the workshop that resulted from the training.

The Poster Can Be Found Here

New Associate Research Director
We are excited to welcome Betsy Abente, our new Associate Director to ICHAD.

Betsy comes to us from the Medical School where she managed the Office of Training Grants. Her main role was to serve as a centralized resource for training grant PIs and administrators by providing them with both pre and post-award support. Betsy also coordinated grant resources for trainees across the university including organizing a bi-annual NIH Mock Study sections and administrating the Washington University Grants Library. Before joining the Medical School, Betsy worked for several global health non-profits in Washington DC (the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Medical Care Development International). She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer at an HIV clinic in Kazakhstan. She has more than 15 years of research, grant writing, and management experience. 

Betsy obtained her 
Masters degree in Public Health from Tulane University and her Undergraduate degree in History and English from Wisconsin-Madison University. 


New Study Coordinator
We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Rabab Ahmed to the ICHAD and SMART Africa Team.

Dr. Rabab Ahmed is an established psychiatrist with over 14 years of experience in mental health specializing in child mental health in low-setting contexts. She received her medical degree from Banha University, in Qalyubia, Egypt in 2004 and did her residency in the neuropsychiatry department at Banha University Hospital. In 2010, she earned a Master’s Degree in Neuropsychiatry. Shortly after, she established the first and only child psychiatric center in Qalyubia, Egypt, under the authority of the National Ministry of Health and Population. The center provides services to disadvantaged children and their families who would not have access to mental health services otherwise.

Rabab graduated from the Brown School at Washington University in St Louis in 2018 with a Master’s Degree in Public Health specializing in Global Health. During her MPH training, she was a student intern with ICHAD and SMART Africa
Center, and had the opportunity to travel to Uganda a couple of times to help train and work with our field research team. We are happy to welcome Rabab back to ICHAD and the SMART Africa Center. In her spare time, Rabab enjoys cooking, attending musical events and spending time with her family and friends.

New Publication Analyzing Nonkin Support Networks of Orphaned Adolescents
Dr. Proscovia Nabunya, a Research Assistant Professor at Brown School, along with SMART Africa Principal Investigator and ICHAD Director and Founder Dr. Fred Ssewamala, co-published an article entitled, "Examining the nonkin support networks of orphaned adolescents participating in a family-based economic-strengthening intervention in Uganda" in the Journal of Community Psychology. By analyzing data from a cluster randomized experimental study, the publication examines the impact of nonkin support networks of orphaned adolescents participating in a family-based economic-strengthening intervention among HIV-impacted Ugandan communities. The findings indicate that although bolstered standard of care services are instrumental to the well-being of the adolescents, the personal savings accounts is correlated with an increased likelihood that the adolescent will  be able to identify at least one supportive nonkin tie. Congratulations, Drs. Proscovia and Fred for contributing to the field of economic empowerment and mental health among youth in Sub-Saharan Africa!

You Can Read More Here

New Publication Examining Organizational Factors Affecting Health Workers in Southwestern Uganda
SMART Africa Administrative Coordinator and ICHAD Field Manager and Head of Operations Miriam Mukasa first-authored a manuscript that has been accepted for publication by the International Journal of Health Planning and Management. The article has been co-authored by ICHAD and SMART Africa team members Drs. Ozge Sensoy Bahar, Fred Ssewamala, Apollo Kivumbi as well as Flavia Namuwonge and Christopher Damulira. Entitled, "Examining the organizational factors that affect health workers' attendance: Findings from Southwestern Uganda", the article examines the reasons for absenteeism among health workers in rural Uganda through analyzing eight focus groups conducted with 27 participants from 39 health centers. The article also outlines barriers to active work engagement and recommendations for next steps to reduce absenteeism. Congratulations, Miriam and team!

New Publication Exploring the Knowledge and Usage of HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis
With other colleagues from University of Ghana, Dr. Abdallah Ibrahim, SMART Africa in-country Co-Principal Investigator and Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health at the University of Ghana, and Dr. Ozge Sensoy Bahar, SMART Africa and ICHAD Co-Investigator and Research Assistant Professor at the Brown School, co-authored an article entitled, "Assessment of knowledge and usage of HIV post exposure prophylaxis among healthcare workers in regional hospital in Ghana." The article, published in the Journal of Global Health Reports, examines the level of knowledge and usage of post exposure prophylaxis, an important means of decreasing HIV-infection upon occupational exposure, among healthcare workers in the Eastern Regional Hospital, Koforidua, Ghana through analyzing data from a cross-sectional study with 185 healthcare worker participants. Congratulations, Drs. Abdallah and Ozge for contributing to the literature on HIV-infection and occupational exposure!

You Can Read More Here


NIMH Annual Scale-up Hubs Meeting in New Delhi, India
The ICHAD and SMART Africa team members— Dean Mary McKay, Drs. Arvin Bhana, Manasi Kumar, Anne Mbwayo, Ozge Sensoy Bahar, Inge Petersen, as well as Flavia Namuwonge, Phionah Namatovu and Joshua Kiyingi recently attended the 2nd Annual Scale-Up Hubs Meeting of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from November 27-30th 2018 in New Delhi, India. This meeting brought together representatives from each of the participating 10 scale-up hubs funded by the NIMH for scaling up mental health interventions in low- and middle-income countries. This meeting: 1) discussed challenges in scaling-up evidence-based mental health interventions; 2) identified tangible solutions to overcome challenges and barriers to scaling-up mental health interventions, and 3) explored areas of collaboration among the different scale-up hubs. Dean McKay gave a presentation on the SMART Africa Center. Moreover, all team members participated in group discussions and working groups focused on different aspects of hub activities.

Laura Gauer Bermudez
ICHAD and SMART Africa are thrilled to announce that in August, SMART Africa Global Fellow Laura Bermudez was hired as the Director of Research and Development at the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS). Modeled after the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, GFEMS is working towards a pooled fund mechanism to direct investments that will tangibly and sustainably reduce modern slavery by making it economically unprofitable. GFEMS is focused on combating the acts of recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion that impacts an estimated 25 million victims globally. Congratulations, Laura! 

Dr. Tyrone Parchment
Dr. Tyrone Parchment is collaborating on an R01 grant proposal with Dr. Theresa Betancourt (PI) to be submitted to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) entitled "Strategies for Engaging Fathers and Male Caregivers in Family-Based Preventive Interventions in Sierra Leone (EFECTA)." EFECTA will link Sierra Leone’s Community Healthcare Workers (CHWs) with a rich network of village leaders (Paramount Chiefs) and male-led organizations to devise and employ explicit strategies for increasing father engagement in the FSI-ECD. To prepare for the grant proposal, Dr. Tyrone recently traveled to Freetown, Sierra Leone to meet with government officials such as the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Director of Primary Health Care, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs and community stakeholders such as UNICEF and MenEngage, a non-profit that works with men and boys to promote gender equality. The visit was very productive and solidified future collaborators for the project. Congratulations, Dr. Tyrone, for your all your work promoting caregiver support in Sub-Saharan Africa! 

Dr. Habiba Ibrahim
Dr. Habiba Ibrahim presented at the SMART Africa and ICHAD Speaker series on Tuesday November 27th, at the Brown School at Washington University in Saint Louis. Her presentation explored Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs), a trust-based practice of group saving, with no formal agreement or documentation. To become a member of such a group, you must be recommended by another member. Each ROSCA designates a group leader who coordinates the operation including collecting and following up on payments and overseeing distribution of funds.  At the end of every month, one group member receives all the collections. Next month another member receives the collections and this cycle continues until everyone has received a month of collections. 

Dr. Habiba examined how these associations are formed and what benefits participants have gained. She found that people joined ROSCAs for several reasons including being unfamiliar with the complexity of the financial system in the host country, language barriers, previous experiences, and cultural and religious reasons.

In terms of benefits, Dr. Habiba found that this saving structure has been helpful to these groups of immigrants and has enabled them to participate in various investments, including starting up small businesses, home ownership, vehicle purchases, and vocational training. Members generally set target-oriented goals. While many use the money to invest, it can also be used for any expense deemed necessary, including bills, emergencies, or food.

Dr. Juliet Iwelunmor
On December 4th, Dr. Juliet Iwelunmor, an Associate Professor in Behavioral Science and Health Education at the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University, made a presentation at the SMART Africa and ICHAD Speaker Series. Dr. Juliet’s presentation focused on the use of social innovations and social entrepreneurship to create sustainable health programs that enhance the health and well-being of young people in low and middle-income countries. Specifically, her research focuses on an innovative and participatory youth-friendly HIV self-testing project designed to expand HIV self-testing among youths in Nigeria. Dr. Juliet’s presentation provided the project background and rationale, approach, activities, progress made to date and the next steps. This session was attended by mostly graduate students from the social work, public health and business schools who got an opportunity to ask questions and comment on the research.



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. We value 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. We also offer post-doctoral fellowships and internships.

You Can Learn More Here



SSWR 2019 Annual Conference:  Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence
The SSWR Annual Conference offers a scientific program that reflects a broad range of research interests, from workshops on the latest quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to symposia featuring studies in child welfare, aging, mental health, welfare reform, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS. Over 500 symposia, workshop, roundtable, paper and poster presentations. Research methods workshops designed to enhance methods expertise and grant-writing skills and special sessions on research priorities and capacity building that target cutting-edge topics vital to contemporary social work research. Pre-conference programs and a networking reception especially for doctoral students.

You Can Learn More Here

NIMH 10th Anniversary Conference
NIMH will be hosting its 10th Anniversary Conference: Global Mental Health Research without Borders on April 8-9th 2019 at the Natcher Center, NIH, Bethesda, Marylands, United States. 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. The grand challenges, identified in 2011, are research priorities for achieving mental health equity worldwide, with focused attention on low- and middle-income countries and other low-resource settings. The grand challenges span the research pipeline from preclinical questions about etiology, to translational questions about developing more effective preventive and treatment interventions, to service delivery and implementation questions. These challenges require global cooperation to share research expertise, facilitate data sharing and use of common measures, amplify research capacity-building opportunities, and involve the full range of the world’s researchers, populations, environments, and cultures.

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—to learn how we can address pressing international and domestic global health, and development challenges.

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 10-12th, 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. Currently, social work operates in the context of changing welfare state paradigms stressing individual responsibility, marketization and conditionality and of strong societal pressures, such as increasing poverty, inequality, social exclusion and super-diversity. What are the implications of this strong value orientation for social work research and practice given these societal changes? How can these values be integrated in the daily practice of social work and social work research? What are the implications for the position of the social worker, the social work researcher and the social work participants?

You Can Learn More Here

6th World Congress on Mental Health, Psychiatry and Well-being 
The mental health and well-being conference entitled “World congress on mental health and well-being” will be held from March 20th to 21st, 2019 in New York, USA. This conference, which brings together mental health researchers, will be held under the theme "Mental health matters: Mental illness is not a choice, but recovery is for wellbeing ".

You Can Learn More Here

21st Biennial International Conference of International Consortium for Social Development 
The International Consortium for Social Development’s (ICSD) 21st Biennial International Conference, will be held from July 16th to the 19th at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This International conference will be themed “Strengthening Social Development to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. This international conference is open to various disciplines, practitioners, academics and students and the aim is to accelerate the impact of the 17 SDGs and 169 targets at the national and global level. ICSD aspires to end poverty and create economic, social and environmental sustainability. The deadline for abstract submission is December 17.

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



ICHAD and SMART Africa End of Year Celebrations
Hosting an end of year celebration is part of the ICHAD culture and provides our team members an opportunity to relax and celebrate after a year of hard work. Both the Uganda and the Saint Louis teams held team parties in their country locations. 

The team in Saint Louis celebrated at the Salt + Smoke restaurant located on Delmar Loop. It was attended by the ICHAD executive director, Dr. Fred Ssewamala, together with the entire Saint Louis team from the ICHAD and SMART Africa offices. Other collaborators who attended the event included Dr. Kimberly Johnson and Mr. Angel Algarin. 

The team in Uganda held their celebrations at Nabugabo sand beach where they savored a delicious meal of fresh tilapia. They enjoyed beachside activities such as swimming and even played some board games. The party was attended by the entire ICHAD staff in Masaka, including both full time and part time interviewers. ICHAD also invited multiple community health workers to thank them for their efforts. ICHAD ended the celebration with a secret gift exchange, between all employees.