December 16, 2016

The 2016–2017 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) are:

  • Maria Elisa Cabrera, M.H.S.M. (Uruguay) has more than 5 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Prior to accepting her Humphrey Fellowship, she served as an accountant for the National Drugs Assembly and the National Drug Board in the Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Uruguay. She coordinated administrative assistance to drug treatment centers, assessing the unique needs of each institution and ensuring that their budgets were consistent with their program objectives. During her fellowship, Ms. Cabrera seeks to enhance her knowledge about substance abuse counseling, drug policy, and program evaluation, as well as establish strong contacts with organizations involved in international drug policy in the Americas. In addition, she hopes to use her fellowship experience to design and expand substance abuse programs and collaborate in the economic evaluation of cannabis legalization laws in Uruguay.
  • Gilbert Habonimana, M.D. (Burundi) is a general practitioner with a certificate in emergency surgery and obstetric care. He was the medical director of Matana Hospital for 3 years where he focused on health policy and management to address the health needs of underresourced communities. Dr. Habonimana has worked as a maternal and child technical and program officer with Pathfinder International on projects funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. He is currently the medical coordinator at Burundi Development, providing technical assistance to health facilities in cost-effective service delivery and advocating with potential donors. During his fellowship, Dr. Habonimana hopes to acquire public health knowledge and skills to provide him with a stronger background for working in the areas of health policy and management.
  • Samuel Cudjoe Hanu, M.Sc. (Ghana) is a psychiatric nurse manager at Accra Psychiatric Hospital. He earned a master’s degree in addiction studies from the International Program in Addiction Studies, which is jointly offered by King’s College London, Adelaide University (Australia), and VCU. Mr. Hanu is a part-time mental health and psychiatric nursing tutor at a private nursing training school in Accra, and an examiner for the nursing and midwifery council of Ghana. He is a member of the West African Drug Policy Network and a fellow of the West African College of Nursing and the Ghana College of Nurses and Midwives. During his fellowship, Mr. Hanu wants to learn about evidence-based drug abuse prevention, education, and treatment—particularly the use of psychotherapy in drug abuse treatment—and strategies to effectively influence public policy.
  • James Mongare Kenga (Kenya) is a counseling psychologist who serves as a social welfare officer at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison in charge of substance abuse training, counseling, and program coordination. He trains inmates, peer counselors, and other professionals on drug abuse and relapse prevention. Mr. Kenga also works as a volunteer substance abuse counselor and participates in antidrug campaigns sponsored by Kenya’s National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse. In addition, he is a project coordinator with women’s groups on economic empowerment, gender mainstreaming, and poverty eradication. During his fellowship, Mr. Kenga will focus on designing evidence-based substance use prevention and treatment programs, developing skills to conduct surveys, learning about health care systems, and influencing policymakers to adopt effective drug control strategies.
  • Olajumoke “Jummy” Koyejo, M.D. (Nigeria) is a consultant psychiatrist at the largest subtance abuse unit in Nigeria, the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Yaba in Lagos, where she now works as a consultant psychiatrist in the largest substance abuse unit in Nigeria. She is also a regional manager and head of the mental health team for the international health promotion nongovernmental organization Live Well Initiative. Dr. Koyejo is a certified trainer in use of the Addiction Severity Index. She conducts occupational mental health services in cooperation with corporate organizations, especially transport companies, in educating their drivers about the effects of drug abuse on their jobs and health. During her fellowship year, Dr. Koyejo seeks to increase her knowledge of research, addiction prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. She hopes to learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy and telepsychiatry, acquire skills in outpatient drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation, and improve her public speaking and media technology skills.
  • Gulnar Magauina, M.D. (Kazakhstan) is an allergist, immunologist, and the head of the Department of Family Medicine in the Republican Diagnostic Center, where she implemented safety and quality standards, initiated patient-centered services, and introduced triage, tracer, and timeout concepts. As a result of these improvements, the Republican Diagnostic Center was certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation in 2014. Her Humphrey Fellowship is focused on public health policy management. Dr. Magauina seeks to enhance her skills in evidence-based management in public health, health care, and family medicine. She also plans to increase her knowledge about international insurance and to learn strategies for working with international insurance companies. In addition, she wants to expand her knowledge about primary immunodeficiency and orphan diseases, new diagnostic and treatment methods, and anaphylaxis management.
  • Daniela Ocaña-Gordillo (Ecuador) has worked for 5 years in the National Drug Observatory of her country’s Office of Drug Prevention, where she has been responsible for designing and conducting quantitative and qualitative studies to assess drug use patterns in specific target populations. Ms. Ocaña-Gordillo also has extensive experience working with individual communities to identify community needs and to design and conduct interventions to address those needs. In addition, she has been active in developing public policies and laws to address Ecuador’s drug problems. During her fellowship, Ms. Ocaña-Gordillo would like to improve her research skills, especially in epidemiology and biostatistics. She plans to use her new research skills to conduct studies that lead to a greater understanding of heroin and opioid use in Ecuador. Ultimately, she wants to use this information to develop more effective treatment and prevention programs and policies to reduce adolescent substance abuse.
  • Huyen Pham, M.P.H. (Vietnam) has been a senior researcher for drug policy-related studies with the Center for Research and Training on HIV/AIDS (CREATA) at Hanoi Medical University since 2009. She works primarily in the areas of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS health policy, exploring opportunities for the implementation of harm reduction strategies in Vietnam. She implements CREATA’s goal to be a bridge between policymakers, treatment and service providers, and drug users. She has worked with several international partners including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. During her fellowship, Ms. Pham seeks to learn about drug abuse treatment, training, and U.S. drug policies and programs. She also hopes to network with other fellows and professionals to facilitate future cooperation and research on evidence-based drug policies and practices.
  • Marisa Rodrigues, M.D., M.Sc. (Mozambique) is a child health advisor for the Maternal and Child Survival Program where she works to support the Ministry of Health in its efforts to improve children’s health and reduce child mortality. She has also promoted improvements in infant and child nutrition with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, crisis intervention, health communication, and working with underserved communities. She has worked extensively with programs funded in part by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Dr. Rodrigues is also an educator, teaching at the National Health Institute for Sciences in the departments of public policy and nutrition. During her public health policy Humphrey Fellowship, she plans to improve her skills in the area of evidence-based programs for maternal and child health and nutrition. She is especially interested in social and behavior change communication and addressing health disparities.
  • Igor Salvatierra, M.D. (Bolivia) founded the Medical Genetics Unit of Arco Iris Hospital in La Paz where he provides genetic counseling to patients with hereditary disorders. He also conducts research on the causes, risks, and frequency of birth defects, including those resulting from the use of alcohol during pregnancy. His major interest is identifying patterns of epigenetic mechanisms involved in intellectual disabilities in patients with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). During his fellowship year, Dr. Salvatierra seeks to expand his skills and abilities in research methods, update his knowledge about the most recent molecular genetics techniques, and share new experiences with peers in molecular genetics research. In addition, he plans to pursue other interests in public policy for alcohol use prevention during pregnancy, along with working on improving his skills in early diagnosis and treatment for patients with FAS. Dr. Salvatierra’s long-term objective is to increase the quality and quantity of research in his country.
  • Salman Shahzad, Ph.D. (Pakistan) is a consultant clinical psychologist and an assistant professor in the Institute of Clinical Psychology (ICP), University of Karachi. As an internationally certified addiction trainer, he is conducting training on the treatment and prevention of substance use disorders (SUD) and leading the research and training unit for the prevention and treatment of SUDs at the ICP. He is a member of the editorial board of a number of international scientific journals and is active as a researcher. Dr. Shahzad's work focuses on monitoring and evaluating programs, epidemiology of and psychosocial risk factors for substance use, and stigma related to SUDs and HIV/AIDS. During his fellowship, Dr. Shahzad will focus on developing advanced skills and scientific knowledge in assessing, monitoring, and evaluating substance use prevention and treatment interventions and programs, community coalition building, and epidemiological research methods. He wants to use his new skills to strengthen services for the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and to inform drug policies in Pakistan.
  • Nazish Yousaf, M.Sc. (Pakistan) is an assistant psychologist in the social welfare department of the Drug Addicts Rehabilitation Center in Muzaffarabad, where her responsibilities include providing psychosocial support to female victims of domestic violence and treating ensuing psychological problems. In addition, she is involved in the assessment and diagnosis of individual cases and in the preparation of case histories, diagnostic reports, and treatment plans. Ms. Yousaf conducts psychological tests and analyzes test results to inform therapy and behavioral modification for drug addicts and their rehabilitation. During her fellowship, she plans to enhance her knowledge of substance abuse treatment and relapse prevention. She also wants to learn about new counseling techniques and evidence-based treatment programs for people addicted to drugs, and to learn research skills that would help inform drug policy.