It is critical to support, mentor, and cultivate a group of talented emerging scholars – particularly young African scholars – with the potential to lead the next generation of behavioral health research in the region. Hence, the SMART Africa Center is dedicated to providing leadership opportunities for a cadre of young scientists (doctoral and postdoctoral candidates and assistant professors) committed to social and behavioral research in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Global Child Health Fellowship program, established by the SMART Africa Center, ensures that the most dedicated and talented new investigators are able to benefit from mentoring relationships with renowned researchers who have an established research portfolio in the region.
As part of this fellowship program, junior scientists and senior mentors partner to co-author presentations and papers, collaborate on intervention research, and participate in grant writing. We believe that this approach bolsters the empirical research and knowledge base of contextually and culturally congruent, theory-driven interventions for children and adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to the benefits to the child and adolescent mental health field, the proposed approach of building the skill set and leadership potential of junior scientists through strategic mentorship will likely bring more interest, authenticity, and long-term commitment to the field.
Currently, SMART Africa Center sponsors nine promising junior scientists from U.S. and Sub-Saharan African institutions with a network of committed and active senior mentors. For updates on what global fellows are doing, please see the Global Fellows Corner: Selected Highlights page.