I am a practicing psychiatrist and MRC Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Global Mental Health. I am currently based full-time in Lilongwe, Malawi, where I am seconded to Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit. I am Co-I and in-country mental health lead on Generation Malawi and Healthy Lives Malawi.
I have been involved in mental health research and capacity development in Malawi since 2005, including 2 periods full-time in the Department of Mental Health, College of Medicine (2008-12 and 2018-2019). My research focus has been on the mental health of mothers and associations with infant growth and development. I conducted qualitative and quantitative studies in Malawi with supervision from Professor Frances Creed (UofManchester) and Prof Atif Rahman (UofLiverpool). I completed my PhD by Publication at Uof Edinburgh in 2016.
I worked as an NHS consultant perinatal psychiatrist in Manchester and Edinburgh and currently practice at St John of God Hospitaller Services, Lilongwe.
I am a founding trustee of the Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project that has provided psychiatry teaching to over 700 Malawian medical students since 2006. SMMHEP has received >£1million funding from Scottish Government. SMMHEP established an Annual Malawi Mental Health Research and Quality Improvement Conference; to date, 7 annual conferences have been held. Whilst I was Head of Department of Mental Health at COM, SMMHEP supported the establishment of an MMed (Psychiatry) postgraduate programme. Prior to 2011 there was no postgraduate psychiatry training in Malawi. The first 3 trainees qualified in 2017 and four new trainees commenced the programme in 2017/18.
From 2018-19, I was country director for the Wellcome-funded African Mental Health Research Initiative (AMARI), a capacity building collaboration between University of Zimbabwe, Addis Ababa University, University of Malawi, University of Cape Town, KCL and LSTM. I continue to co-supervise 4 AMARI PhD fellows, one of whom is adapting a psychological intervention for perinatal depression in Malawi.
I was country lead for a University of Edinburgh MRC-funded pump-priming grant to develop research collaboration in Malawi (NESP, PI Prof Andrew Mcintosh). With this funding, we launched the African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health, a pan-African collaboration aiming to improve maternal mental health in Africa through education, advocacy and service development.
Co-I and Malawi lead for Generation Malawi: A study of family, maternal and childhood mental health (MRC GCRF MR/S035818/1, PI – Prof Andrew McIntosh, 2019-24)
Co-I on Healthy Lives – Malawi: Intergenerational Cohort of Chronic Conditions (Wellcome Trust LPS, PI – Prof Amelia Crampin (UofGlasgow) 2019-2025)
Co-I and Malawi lead for A Network For Studying Psychological Resilience In Low-And Middle-income Countries (NESP) (MRC MR/R01910X/1, PI – Prof Andrew McIntosh, 2018-19)