London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.
My career to date has been (and continues to be) shaped by my goal to become a world leader in the development of culturally appropriate psychosocial interventions with a special focus on maternal, child, and adolescent health, in resource-poor settings. Following my undergraduate training in psychology (major), I opted to work in a health research institution in Ghana, where I learnt at first hand the dearth of mental health research in LMIC. This led me to successfully apply for my first training fellowship award, a Wellcome Trust HCPC Master’s Research Training Fellowship at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, under the supervision of Professor Martin Prince. That training and piece of work provided the basis for my PhD training in mental health epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene Tropical Medicine (lshtm), UK, under the supervision of Professor Betty Kirkwood. These experiences furthered my desire to develop a career in research and academia; which led to my appointment as a mental health trials research fellow at the LSHTM, working primarily in Sangath under Professor Vikram Patel, as trials manager for the PREMIUM project (https://www.sangath.in/premium/), the largest ever RCT of its type undertaken within LMIC.
In recent years, I have been increasingly fascinated about the role of technology in public health interventions, and my immediate past supervisor and long-term mentor, Professor Vikram Patel has been an inspiration following his current research focus in technology delivered trans-diagnostic interventions for adolescents. For me this approach to intervention delivery is another form of task-shifting in mental health (only this time without trained non-specialist health workers!) and I think this would be hugely complementary.
I am confident about the work I am proposing to undertake with the support of this fellowship and I look forward to contributing towards improving adolescent health through a relatively simple and cost-effective mobile-messaging intervention. Where else could I have opted to carry out this piece of work, but India, a country and a people I have grown so fond of! A fondness clearly manifested by my getting married to this most adorable south Indian from God’s own country, Kerala! Perhaps this partly explains my being in this enviable position as the first African national from Ghana to be awarded this fellowship!