Research Team

Prof Ama de-Graft Aikins

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Ama de-Graft Aikins is a professor of social psychology and a British Academy Global Professor at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London.

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Dr Leonard Baatiema

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER

Leonard Baatiema is a Research Fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana.

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Dr Olutobi Sanuade

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER

Olutobi Sanuade is a Research Fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, and an Honorary Research Associate

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Dr Gertrude Nyaaba

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER

Gertrude Nsorma Nyaaba is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Preterm Birth Prevention and Management (PRIME) Project at the Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, University of Sheffield.

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Jemima A. O. Okai

CONTENT MANAGER

Jemima Akosua Okaikor Okai holds Master of Arts in Development Management from Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (major) from University of Ghana.

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Naomi Haile

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Naomi Haile is a graduate from the University of Kent (Medway School of Pharmacy) with a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology and Physiology. During her undergraduate studies, she conducted …

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Mary Okon

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Mary Okon is a Public Health Specialist, and a Fellow at the Royal Society of Public Health. Mary received her MPH from the Nuffield Institute, University of Leeds.

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Akua Banful

RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Akua Banful is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University researching questions of climate, culture, and empire.
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Kwame Owusu Osei

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Kwame Owusu Osei is a graduate of the Medway School of Pharmacy holding a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree. He is currently undertaking his training in a community pharmacy…
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Awurabena Kessie

VOLUNTEER RESEARCH INTERN

Awurabena is a Speech and Language Therapist and Clinical Academic Researcher specialising in Complex Communication Needs. She completed an MRes in Speech, Language and Cognition at University College London in the faculty of Brain Sciences. …

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Prof Ama de-Graft Aikins
Prof Ama de-Graft Aikins

Ama de-Graft Aikins is a professor of social psychology and a British Academy Global Professor at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London. She received her PhD in social psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), completed postdoctoral training at the University of Cambridge and has held teaching and research positions at the LSE, University of Cambridge and University of Ghana.

Professor de-Graft Aikins’ research focuses on chronic illness representations, experiences and care, and on the psychosocial, cultural and health systems aspects of Africa's chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) burden. She also has a strong interest in the history of psychology in Africa and its intersections with critical theory and African Studies. She has supervised and mentored graduate students based in Ghanaian, European, American and Australian universities on health and social science aspects of Africa’s NCD burden.

Professor de-Graft Aikins has led, and collaborated in, interdisciplinary NCD research projects based in Africa and Europe with colleagues from Universities of Ghana and Amsterdam, University College London and New York University. She has NCD/health policy experience with Ghanaian, West African and global health institutions including Ghana’s Ministry of Health, West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  She is currently principal investigator for Chronicity and Care in African Contexts, a project funded through her British Academy Global Professorship award. Blending empirical research on chronic care in London’s West African communities and public engagement for NCDs, the project aims to contribute a 'whole-of-society' approach to initiatives addressing the disproportionate burden of chronic diseases in African communities on the continent and the diaspora.

 

DR LEONARD BAATIEMA
DR LEONARD BAATIEMA

Leonard Baatiema is a Research Fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana. He holds a PhD in Public Health from the Australian Catholic University, Sydney and a Master of Science degree in Health, Community and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

 

Leonard’s research projects focused on health systems and policy research, human resource for health,  non-communicable diseases prevention and control policies, evidence generation and uptake  to influence policy and public health practice, NCDs and HIV comorbidity, lived experiences of sub-Sharan African migrants living with chronic NCDs and priority setting for NCDs prevention and control.

 

Dr Baatiema is a Co-Investigator of the CARE Diabetes Project in Ghana – a GCRF/MRC funded project seeking to generate contextual understandings of Type 2 Diabetes in poor communities in urban Ghana. He is part of the team at the African Centre of Excellence on Non-Communicable Diseases Consortium based at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana. He is also an ad hoc reviewer to a number of public health and health policy-based academic journals including Health Policy, Implementation Science, BMJ Global Health, Global Health Action, Global Public Health. He is currently on the Chronicity and Care in African Contexts team as a postdoctoral researcher.

 

Dr Olutobi Sanuade

Olutobi Sanuade is a Research Fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, and an Honorary Research Associate at the Institute for Global Health, University College London. He received his PhD in Population Studies from the University of Ghana and completed his postdoctoral training at the Institute for Advanced Studies, University College London.

 

Olutobi’s research focuses on Non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemiology, care, health systems response and deconstruction of epidemiological/quantitative data. He has extensive experience working as part of a multidisciplinary scientific team and in a multicultural environment.

 

He is a Co-Investigator on a GCRF/MRC funded project which aims to generate contextual understandings of Type 2 Diabetes in three urban poor communities in Ghana. He is also part of the research team at the African Centre of Excellence on Non-Communicable Diseases Consortium based at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana. He is a mixed methods researcher with expertise in quantitative and qualitative research. He is currently on the Chronicity and Care in African Contexts team as a postdoctoral researcher.

 

 

DR GERTRUDE NYAABA

Gertrude Nsorma Nyaaba is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Preterm Birth Prevention and Management (PRIME) Project at the Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, University of Sheffield. She received her Ph.D. in Global Health from the University of Amsterdam and University of Barcelona under the EU funded Erasmus Mundus Joint doctorate Award. She is a trained social scientist and public health researcher with over a decade of professional and educational experiences on several health research projects in varied geographical settings in Africa and Europe.

Dr. Nyaaba’s research focuses on individual and societal chronic illness representations, experiences and care, health policy and systems aspects of non-communicable disease (NCD) burden as well as the role of migration. Because of her professional experience working on maternal and child health in African settings, she also has a strong interest in maternal and childhood related NCDs in Africa.

Dr. Nyaaba has worked with and collaborated in several interdisciplinary research projects in Africa and Europe with colleagues from Universities of Amsterdam and Barcelona, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and research institutions such as the Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana and the Ghana Country office for the US based Population Council. She has over ten peer-reviewed publications and is a recipient of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate and The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship awards as well as several international travel grants. Her current work focuses the use of implementation research to improve the uptake of evidence-proven interventions that address maternal and childhood related NCDs in the African region. In addition, she contributes to the West African Londoners Chronic Care (WALCC) Study aspect of the Chronicity and Care in African Contexts project led by Professor Ama de-Graft Aikins, which aims to contribute a 'whole-of-society' approach to initiatives addressing the burden of chronic diseases in African communities on the continent and the diaspora.

 

 

 

Jemima
MS JEMIMA A.O. OKAI

Jemima Akosua Okaikor Okai holds Master of Arts in Development Management from Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (major) from University of Ghana.

 

Jemima is the Executive Assistant to the PI of the Chronicity and Care in African Contexts Project and a member of the CARE Diabetes Project team in Ghana – a GCRF/MRC funded project seeking to produce contextual understandings of Type 2 Diabetes in urban Ghana.

 

Jemima loves to create content to inform, encourage, and educate young people, in groups and/or individually. She normally creates content on self-development, confidence building, and faith. In addition to her administrative role on the Chronicity and Care in African Contexts Project, Jemima will be in charge of content creation and management for the project website and social media platforms. She will specialise in creating content for children, adolescents and youth groups on the continent and in the diaspora.

Naomi Haile is a graduate from the University of Kent (Medway School of Pharmacy) with a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology and Physiology. During her undergraduate studies, she conducted a research investigating the effects of Psychotropic drugs on symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in youth, and factors influencing Parent/Caregiver adherence to these treatment methods. In that project, Naomi explored the ASD diagnostic gender bias theory, which highlights a gender gap in ASD research, as a large proportion of studies are carried out on majority male participants.

Her research interest involves projects that address health inequalities within different populations. She also aspires to educate and raise public health awareness around health risks and treatment, specifically focusing on vulnerable communities.

Naomi is now working a Research Assistant on the Chronicity and Care in African Context study led by Prof Ama de-Graft Aikins. In this project, she contributes to the West African Londoners Chronic Care (WALCC) study.

Mary Okon is a Public Health Specialist, and a Fellow at the Royal Society of Public Health. Mary received her MPH from the Nuffield Institute, University of Leeds.
With over a decade of professional and educational practice; Mary’s experience encompasses wide ranging projects, from non-communicable disease (NCD) interventions and health improvement initiatives to tobacco control and smoking cessation.
She is a change agent who supports inspires and influences in areas of socioeconomic deprivation, to remove extreme poverty and hunger, and improve quality of life for vulnerable population groups and communities.

Mary works with decision makers and stakeholders across the public and private sectors, and voluntary organisations to improve health and reduce social inequalities in the African context. With vast experience of working in a multidisciplinary team and multicultural settings, Mary is adept at cross functional collaborations at the highest level. She is currently on the Chronicity and Care in African Contexts team as a research associate.

Akua Banful is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University researching questions of climate, culture, and empire. Her dissertation, "The Hostile Tropics: Towards a Postcolonial Discourse of Climate," examines the workings of tropical climates in imperial and postimperial contexts in literature spanning Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the Caribbean. She received her A.B. from Princeton University.

She is the Andrew W. Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Climate and Inequality at The Climate Museum, where her public-facing work supports Talking Climate, exhibitions, and youth programming. She was a Graduate Fellow at the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia and a New York State Public Humanities Fellow; her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Public Books, the Journal of Literature and Medicine, Modernism/Modernity Print Plus, and AfricainWords.

Akua is a Research Associate on the Chronicity and Care in African Context project led by Prof Ama de-Graft Aikins. In this project, she contributes to the West African Londoners Chronic Care (WALCC) study.

Awurabena Kessie is a Speech and Language Therapist and Clinical Academic Researcher specialising in Complex Communication Needs. She completed an MRes in Speech, Language and Cognition at University College London in the faculty of Brain Sciences.

Awurabena is a member of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). Her research
interest includes neurodevelopmental conditions (such as Down Syndrome and Autism) within West African communities in the UK. She has a strong interest in engaging underrepresented groups and co-creation in research.

She is also the chair of the British-Ghanaian (BRiGHt) Therapy Partnership, a Clinical Excellence Network that collaborates with Speech and Language Therapists in Ghana. She also acts as a mentor for newly qualified Speech and Language Therapist working in Accra, Ghana. On this project, Awurabena contributes as a Volunteer Research Intern to the West African Londoners Chronic Care (WALCC) study of the Chronicity and Care in African Context project.