Dr Saeeda Paruk is a child psychiatrist based at the King Dinuzulu Hospital, Durban, and a senior lecturer at the University of KwaZulu- Natal (UKZN). She is involved in teaching and training of undergraduate and post graduate students, clinical research, and research capacity development. She obtained her undergraduate and postgraduate training at the UKZN, so is honoured to serve at her alma mater.
Her research has focused on early onset psychosis in children and adolescents, and she has several publications and co-authored a book chapter on child psychiatry for the South African psychiatry textbook. She has presented at local and international meetings. She was the first child psychiatrist in KwaZulu-Natal to be awarded a PhD. She is currently supervising several Masters and PhD student’s research projects and has successfully graduated nine MMed students. Saeeda’s current research projects are based on assessing the impact of HIV on people with early psychosis, child psychiatry, COVID-19, and digital technology. She has received UKZN MEPI funding for her PhD, the Biological Psychiatry established researchers award, NRF and MRC funding for research.
Dr Paruk has a keen interest in research ethics and is a member of the UKZN Biological research ethics committee.
Her other passion is to develop research capacity for clinicians, and she has been involved in planning and hosting of an annual research week for the past 4 years for Masters and PhD students in the College of Health Sciences.
She co-ordinates the Discipline of Psychiatry’s research program to nurture and develop emerging researchers in mental health. This has really been rewarding as we have seen UKZN registrars present at national and international congresses, win awards, and publish in international peer reviewed journals. An active MMed mentoring program has facilitated the research component of registrar training. The aim of this program is to make clinicians break past the myths surrounding conducting research, show research is very possible and that they can contribute to science and impact on clinical care.