It Takes A Village To Do Research

In this blog, I am focusing on the people who are vital to the research. Each person brings vital ingredients to ensure that the research is rigorous and complete. The Bidibidi Refugee Resettlement participants walk kilometers to participate in the research without food and water. They are all living with HIV and taking Antiretroviral Therapy […]

Root Cause

In my journey through the field of global health, particularly within refugee and migrant populations, I’ve witnessed firsthand how poverty and social determinants profoundly impact mental health. On the first day of our visit to the Bidibidi refugee settlement, our zone was receiving its monthly food rations. The food was being distributed from a guarded […]

Unjani…The greeting of Durban, South Africa

The sounds of Durban are Amapiano with a mix of traditional Zulu music. The people have been warm and welcoming since arriving in Durban, South Africa, to continue my LEAD training at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). I went with field research staff to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, for a few fieldwork days. Pietermaritzburg is a […]

Refugees Matter…Beyond June 20th (World Refugee Day)

“To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult; it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory.” – Tennessee Office for Refugees June 20th was World Refugee Day. With more than 37.6 million people who identify as refugees (UNHCR, 2023), I am in awe of the strength, courage, and resilience of people who have […]

A Journey Through Uganda

Spending the past two weeks in Uganda has been a transformative experience, filled with invaluable lessons and enlightening encounters. From the bustling streets of Kampala to the serene yet challenging environments of the Bidibidi and Rhino refugee settlements, my journey has been one of discovery, learning, and deep engagement. The First Days: Masaka, Uganda Our […]

Uganda’s Traditional Dances: A Celebration of Joy

Rhythmic drums. Swayed hips. Angular bending of arms, legs, and torso. Stomped feet. Fluid movements. Electric smiles. Since my arrival in Uganda, I have been captivated by the rhythmic Ugandan dances. For example, the traditional dance performed by children from Kimaanya Primary School stands out to me. Before the performance, I was mesmerized by their […]

“Ugandan Imprints: A Journey through LEAD Fellowship and Beyond

LEAD fellowship and visiting Uganda was an amazing and eye-opening experience for me. It was humbling to be part of a large group of trainees across different programs and learn about their work and interests. The forum was rich in knowledge, and engaging with beneficiaries during sessions and panels was genuinely heartwarming.   The initial […]

Reflecting on what has past and looking ahead at what’s to come

Being part of the LEAD training program for me represents a significant and meaningful milestone in attempting (and succeeding) to build out a career and be recognized as a LGBTQ+ global mental health researcher. Naturally I started my career in LGBTQ+ health research in the HIV and sexual health field. However, over time I became […]

“There and Back Again” …A Journey through Ugandan Schools. (Part One)

What has an African school got to do with it? Everything! In a continent where poverty rates are soaring, community needs are high and resources remain low. Education- when properly crafted and enchanted, becomes that magic wand through which individuals could potentially rewrite their futures and hopefully rally their communities to crawl out of poverty. […]

What Does Community Based Research Have to do with it? Experiences from the field Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone Bonthe District

I had the opportunity to travel to Bonthe District in Sierra Leone to participate in a pilot study by Research Program on Children and Adversity (RCPA) in partnership with Caritas Freetown, Tulane University, Boston College, Kenema Government Hospital Sierra Leone and the University of Makeni Sierra Leone. The study entailed collecting data for 12 families […]

Visit to Bolomoni Health Center III at Bidibidi Refugee Settlement

As part of my LEAD fellowship, I am involved in the “COVID-19 and Health Disparities Research Pilot Study (PI: Nhial Tutlam)” within the Bidibidi refugee settlement. On July 3rd, I had the opportunity to visit the Bidibidi settlement, accompanied by my secondary mentor, Dr. Anita Kabarambi, and the pilot study coordinator, Isaac Kwesiga. Uganda stands […]

From Uganda to Missouri: Legal Challenges to LGBTQ Health

As a LEAD Fellow, I have been working on a project with Dr. Patricia Cavazos-Rehg that looks at preferences for parental involvement in digital health interventions among LGBTQ teens with eating disorders. I have also spent my first few weeks in St. Louis meeting with faculty across WUSTL and having fruitful conversations ranging from developing […]

Three Visits, Three Themes: Insights from Masaka-based Site Visits

During my time in Masaka, Uganda, I observed several ICHAD projects focused on economic wellness, dyadic (child-guardian tandem) research, and family-based intervention. These experiences were both educational and socially rewarding as I engaged with three different project teams. From these observations, I identified three key lessons. Efficiency strategies implemented by the research teams stood out […]

Arriving into Kiryandongo

As part of my LEAD fellowship, I am working on a project in Kiryandongo Refugee settlement with UNICEF and Washington University. Using PhotoVoice methodology, we are exploring the social support provided by well-established Women’s Collectives in several countries, including Uganda. We are partnered with a local NGO, TPO Uganda, that works to strengthen protection, psychosocial […]