September 7, 2017

Twelve 2017–2018 NIDA Hubert H. Humphrey Drug Abuse Research Fellows from 11 countries have begun their studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. The fellows are:

  • Ayesha AlHosani (United Arab Emirates) Ms. AlHosani holds a clinical diploma in psychology from UAE University. She is a health educator at the National Rehabilitation Centre where she runs community campaigns in health education, prevention, and promotion and manages a school-based drug prevention program. As part of earning credentials from the U.S. Department of State-supported International Center for Credentialing and Education of Addiction Professionals, Ms. AlHosani conducted an assessment of adolescents and a qualitative study about factors influencing substance abuse among UAE women. In 2017, Ms. AlHosani joined the Abdulaziz bin Humaid Leadership Program. She is interested in learning about the challenges that different countries face within the substance abuse field and in evidence-based prevention programs that can be adapted for implementation in her country.
  • Rabia Hanif (Pakistan) Dr. Hanif is a senior psychologist at the New Horizons Care Center, which provides free treatment and rehabilitation to patients suffering from substance use disorders. She manages the agency’s internship program; conducts patient intakes, screenings, and assessments; provides counseling; and prepares patients’ treatment plans. Dr. Hanif is a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)-certified national trainer and has served as a national consultant for a UNODC drug awareness campaign. For 3 years, she served as an associate director for the Pakistan Chapter of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals. Dr. Hanif has conducted awareness camps, seminars, and workshops designed to provide knowledge about addiction and reduce the stigma associated with drug abuse. Dr. Hanif also serves as a counselor and motivational speaker for SOS Children’s Village-Karachi. She earned a master’s degree in psychology and a master’s of philosophy in clinical psychology from the University of Karachi. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology, with a specialty in drug addiction. Her goal during the fellowship is to learn new evidence-based treatment approaches that she can incorporate into her practice.
  • Chen Shmilo, L.L.M. (Israel) Mr. Shmilo is the director of public policy for the Israeli Medical Association (IMA), where he advises the organization on legal and political issues and advocates for public health policies such as tobacco-free zones and health care accessibility. He is also the coordinator of an IMA task team promoting women in medicine and the IMA public health forum. His career began as a parliamentary advisor to the chairwoman of the largest opposition faction in the 19th Knesset. He initiated and led the Open Democracy Forum to promote governmental transparency and improved legislative processes in Israel. During his Humphrey Fellowship, Mr. Shmilo seeks to gain additional knowledge in public health policy and understand the impacts of health inequalities. He aspires to improve his skills in public speaking, project management, and evidence-based decision-making.
  • Martin Agwogie, Ph.D., M.B.A. (Nigeria) Since 1996, Dr. Agwogie has worked at the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency where he organizes drug abuse prevention programs, psychosocial treatment and rehabilitation of persons with substance use disorders, and collation and analysis of drug treatment data. He also coordinates the agency’s Multi-Media Drug Control Initiative. He is a UNODC-certified Master Trainer on Treatnet and a Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) national trainer. Dr. Agwogie is a member of the Nigerian Technical Working Group on Drug Use survey and a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals. He holds a doctorate in educational psychology from Ahmadu Bello University, a postgraduate diploma in hospital management from University of Lagos, and, a master’s degree in business administration and human resource management from the National Open University of Nigeria. During his Humphrey Fellowship, Dr. Agwogie seeks to acquire more psychosocial skills for effective drug dependency treatment and relapse prevention as well as improve his knowledge about public health approaches to drug addiction, evidence-based drug abuse prevention, treatment and drug demand reduction policies.
  • Shatha Alanbar (Saudi Arabia) Ms. Alanbar is a speech-language pathologist specializing in adult neurogenic speech and language disorders at King Abdelaziz Medical City (National Guard Hospital), which is a main trauma hospital in Saudi Arabia. In addition to her clinical work, Ms. Alanbar advocates for people with aphasia, supports prevention efforts for trauma-induced speech-language disorders, develops support groups for individuals with speech-language problems, develops Arabic diagnostic and assessment tools, educates nurses in speech-language and swallowing pathologies, and promotes safe driving campaigns. Ms. Alanbar is joining the Humphrey Fellowship to improve her clinical and research skills in the speech-language pathology field for use in Saudi Arabia.  
  • Shibendu Bhattacharjee, M.S. (India) Mr. Bhattacharjee works with children at risk for substance abuse or legal involvement as program manager for the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) Juvenile Drug De-Addiction Centre. With his team, he has developed standard operating procedures and a pedagogy, which includes an innovative curriculum. One of his most noteworthy achievements has been the development of an on-the-ground facilitator’s training program that is the only one of its kind in India. The SPYM program has received national awards for innovation and research in substance abuse and was named the best childcare institution in India. During his Humphrey Fellowship, Mr. Bhattacharjee hopes to strengthen his knowledge of addiction program best practices, strengthen skills in research and evaluation, and design a countrywide program to train and mentor other human service and education professionals covering substance use prevention, treatment, client rehabilitation, and client re-integration into society.
  • Svetla Borisova, M.D. (Bulgaria) Dr. Borisova is a psychiatrist in the addictions unit of Varna University Hospital. She provides services for patients with substance use disorders, focusing on detox therapy and treatment of psychiatric comorbidities. She also provides counseling and leads sessions with patients and their families. During her Humphrey Fellowship, Dr. Borisova hopes to gain professional and academic experience through coursework and research in prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. Her interests include pharmacotherapy and cognitive therapies. She has a special interest in the neurobiological basis of different types of addiction and would like to gain experience in conducting neurocognitive assessments and using neuroimaging methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Dr. Borisova seeks to improve the management of substance use disorders, not only in the hospital where she works, but also throughout the city of Varna and the country of Bulgaria. Therefore, she would like to learn more about evidence-based substance abuse prevention and treatment programs and their implementation at the community level.
  • Zaira Zambelli Taveira, D.D.S., M.P.H. (Brazil) Dr. Taveira has 13 years of dental experience, including 10 working in indigenous health care. In 2012, she earned a master’s in public health at the University of Brasilia, where she studied telemedicine for indigenous peoples. Dr. Taveira is a social policy analyst in the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health within Brazil’s Ministry of Health. She provides leadership for 33 professionals who assist her in supporting 23 multidisciplinary teams (250 medical professionals) that provide primary health care to 36,866 people in 202 tribes. With her teams, she monitors and evaluates health care actions for child and maternal health, tuberculosis and leprosy control, HIV/AIDS programs, vaccination programs, food and nutritional surveillance, oral health, mental health, health education, and more. As a Humphrey Fellow, Dr. Taveira wants to advance her knowledge related to indigenous health policy and its management. Her special interests are in control programs, health promotion, and chronic disease prevention. She hopes that her studies in the United States and partnerships with Brazilian programs will help her to design effective and holistic community-oriented programs to reduce mortality and morbidity in indigenous populations in Brazil.
  • Zau Ring, M.B.B.S. (Burma [Myanmar]) The People’s Republic of China and the Burma (Myanmar) Ministry of Health have both certified Dr. Zau in malaria control and malaria field management. As a government medical officer, Dr. Zau has been assigned to a state general hospital, a drug dependency treatment hospital, and two remote township health departments where he led both clinical care and public health activities. Since 2011, he has led prevention and control activities for malaria and dengue hemorrhagic fever on the Kachin Statewide Vector Borne Diseases Control Team. He also served as a World Health Organization malaria field project coordinator in 2013–2014. During his Humphrey Fellowship, Dr. Zau hopes to analyze public health policy approaches to delivering universal health coverage and health equity. He wants to develop and institute the most appropriate public health policies and systems, given his country’s limited resources. He also wants to know how to reduce narcotic and psychotropic substance abuse and to manage emergency response and resettlement for conflict-affected people.
  • André Kiepper, M.P.H. (Brazil) Mr. Kiepper is a health manager and institutional development analyst at the Ministry of Health Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, where he is a member of the Institutional Program Working Group on Crack, Alcohol and Other Drugs. Throughout 2014, Mr. Kiepper led four national electronic petitions to the federal senate related to drug problems. This resulted in eight public hearings and a legislative proposal, submitted to the Commission on Human Rights and Participative Legislation, to reform Brazilian drug policy. From 2008 to 2012, Mr. Kiepper worked at the Rio de Janeiro Transit Department, where he gained experience on a sobriety checkpoint program. During his fellowship, he will focus on the impacts of drug reform policies and the cross-cultural perspectives that influence both Brazilian and American health care systems. 
  • Tran Hoang Huyen Tram, M.S. (Vietnam) Ms. Tram is deputy director of the department of science and technology and social debating advisor at the Haiphong Union of Science and Technology Associations, where she contributes to addiction policy matters and advocates for addiction treatment. In 2015, Ms. Tram served on a pilot project on medication-assisted recovery support services, which has since expanded to other cities in Vietnam. She is a national master trainer for the Universal Treatment Curriculum sponsored by the International Centre for Credentialing and Education of Addiction Professionals. Ms. Tram’s goals are to improve drug abuse control, holistic health care policy, and health systems. During the Humphrey Fellowship Program, she plans to learn about public and private health care systems, including system financing and human resources management.
  • Alireza Bayat (Iran) works for the Iranian National Center of Addiction Studies (INCAS) and has worked closely with the Sexual Health Group at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences to research and coordinate the delivery of sexual health services for vulnerable groups, especially drug users and LGBT individuals. He has overseen substance abuse training, counseling, and program coordination in the sexual health group and has developed and implemented a community-based skill-building approach to reduce sexual risk behaviors for men and women with substance abuse disorders. Mr. Bayat also has experience in HIV/AIDS prevention. Mr. Bayat’s objective is to increase the quality of life related to sexuality in his country.