The AGMHI Research Mentorship Pilot Program supports emerging mental health researchers based in Africa by offering guidance in: academic writing and successful publication, navigating complex university systems, choosing a research focus, building national and international academic networks, etc.
We are honored to welcome our inaugural cohort of five mentees as part of this pilot program. Selected from nearly 60 applicants, these individuals originate from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. Check out their individual profiles below to learn more about each of their backgrounds and areas of study.
Ms. Benita Dooshima Aki is a Clinical Psychologist and lecturer at Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria with a strong passion for mental health. She earned her bachelor's degree with second class upper division and master's degree with merit and dedicated three years as a volunteer intern at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Yaba Lagos. She is a trained addiction professional through the Colombo Plan, actively addressing assessment and management challenges in substance use disorders. Benita has published in a number of peer-reviewed journals and actively contributes to her field clinically and academically. She holds membership in several professional organizations including ISSUP, NACP, NPA, APA, and ASUU. Benita is an aspiring doctoral candidate in the Africa Global Mental Health Research Mentorship Program, focusing on addiction, substance use disorders, and general mental health.
Dr. Selamawit Alemayehu is a psychiatrist, and public health specialist in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Currently an assistant professor of psychiatry at St. Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College, she also serves as Vice Quality Head. Furthermore, she has coordinated undergraduate and postgraduate programs for the past year. Before specializing in psychiatry, she gained experience as a general practitioner and held managerial roles at a district hospital. Her passion for influencing health at a community level saw her complete a master's in public health degree. Selamawit has received Early Career Psychiatrist Fellowships at the WPA African Congress for 2022 and 2023. She is passionate about raising awareness of mental health through research and clinical support. Her research focuses on suicide, neurocognitive disorders, substance-related disorders, and mood disorders and she aims to pursue a related PhD.
Dr. Tigist Zerihun Kebede graduated as a medical doctor and psychiatrist from Addis Ababa University. She furthered her expertise by completing a MPhil at the University of Cape Town in Public Mental Health and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry subspecialty in 2017 and 2022 respectively. Following her successful residency, Tigist joined Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital, where she served in clinical and administrative positions for three years. She joined St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC) in 2015 where her role encompasses clinical practice, teaching and active involvement in research projects exploring mental health issues in children and women. Tigist is a passionate advocate for affordable and accessible mental health development in resource-limited settings. Her commitment to the field is underscored by her service on the executive committee of the Ethiopian Psychiatric Association from 2014 to 2017 and her role as a Co-Founder of the Neurodiversity Center Ethiopia. In recognition of her contributions, Tigist received the Best Female Researcher award from the college and the Young Psychiatrist Award from the Ethiopian Psychiatric Association in 2018 at the World Psychiatric Association Congress. Currently, she serves as an assistant professor of psychiatry and consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at SPHMMC.
Dr. Claire Kwagala is an early career psychiatrist from Kampala, Uganda. She graduated from Makerere University in 2023 with a Masters of Medicine in Psychiatry. She embarked on her journey into psychiatry driven by the pressing mental health needs she witnessed in her community. Claire’s primary research interests lie in the field of addiction psychiatry, with a focus on understanding the neurobiological and psychosocial aspects of addiction and developing innovative treatment strategies for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. She has authored two pre-print papers: "Prevalence and Factors associated with opioid use disorder among adolescents with sickle cell disease" and "Construct Validity of the psychosis screening questionnaire in Ugandan adults" and co-authored in published paper on the “Cross- country variations in the reporting of psychotic symptoms among sub-Saharan African adults”. She actively contributes to the field through her participation in the training and administering of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 (SCID) as part of the NeuroGap study. She currently serves as a Psychiatrist at UMC Victoria Hospital, Kampala and is dedicated to advancing addiction psychiatry through research, patient care, and education. Claire’s future goals include pursuing her Ph.D. and continuing to make meaningful contributions to the field, with a focus on developing innovative treatment modalities and raising awareness about the importance of addressing addiction as a complex mental health issue in Uganda and beyond.
Dr. G. Nduku Wambua is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Africa Research Health Institute in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. With a background in clinical psychology, she has dedicated the last eight years to mental health research in Kenya, her home country. Her recently completed PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal is a qualitative exploration on the construct of resilience in first episode psychosis. Her research work involves using mixed research methods to investigate the impact of social and environmental factors on child and adolescent mental health, specifically adversities in childhood and the role of nested environments in promoting well-being. Her work also extends to adapting and evaluating psychological interventions for the management of mental health difficulties. As a Donald J Cohen Fellow, she is enthusiastic about contributing to solutions that bridge the treatment gap, with a particular interest in the application of psychological interventions for child and adolescent mental health.