For the last 20+ years of my research in Africa I have been struck by the emergence of new mental health challenges in Africa but on which literature is virtually absent. Most prominent of these is the emergence of brain degenerations from a variety of causes and their subsequent mental health challenges e.g. HIV neuropsychiatric disorders, the multitude of dementias in all ages, war-related and other psychological trauma, epilepsy well as the old-age related brain degenerations. It is on these challenges that I have dedicated my research effort, hence my interest in this mental health research projects.
I graduated from Makerere University Medical School, in Kampala, Uganda in 1977, completed my medical internship and then enrolled in post-graduate psychiatry. I left Uganda in 1980 and joined the University Of Toronto in Canada where I completed my post-graduate training in Psychiatry with Psychosomatics super-specialization in Liaison Psychiatric Intensive Care. The title of my post-doctoral research was Gilles Della Tourette Syndrome a 10-year follow up study. I worked in Canada at Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, a University Of Toronto affiliated Hospital for teaching Rural and Periurban Psychiatry and founded their first Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. Later I worked at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill, Ontario, as Director of the Psychiatric Crisis Intervention and Liaison Service there. My research and publications in Canada were in Psychosomatics and Intensive Care Psychiatry (Eating disorders, Sleep disorders, Touretteâ€™s Syndrome and Psychiatric Intensive Care Units).
In 1999, after 20 years, I returned to Uganda and founded the African Psycare Research Organization, APRO, a mental health NGO with the express intention to research, teach and consult on mental health problems in this country. For the last 17 years, together with my students and later colleagues, I have trained psychiatrists, psychiatric clinical officers (Psychiatric assistants), psychologists and have produced numerous PhDs. I have carried out research in the mental health problems of mass trauma (war-conflict), of HIV/AIDS, AIDS orphans and Psycho-geriatrics etc. I have won numerous grants and awards, published/co-published numerous papers, written books, started journals, convened conferences etc. I was awarded the Fulbright New Century Scholar (NCS) award in 2001 to research the mental health problems of mass trauma in Africa, being one of 30 top scholars in the world who got the NCS award as a celebration of the turn of the century. I have been editor-in-chief of two journals: The African Journal Of Traumatic Stress and The Makerere University Research Journal.
Positions and employment
2013 Professor & Senior Researcher, Dept. of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Makerere University
2009 Consultant Psychiatrist & Chairman of Medical Advisory Board, Nakasero Hospital
2005 Senior Consultant, Peter C. Alderman Foundation
2005 Consultant Psychiatrist, Kampala Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
2002 Consultant Psychiatrist, Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
2001 Senior Researcher, Mental Health Program, School of Medicine, Makerere University
2000 Consultant Psychiatrist, Mildmay Center for HIV/AIDS Care, Kampala, Uganda
2000 Consultant Psychiatrist, Infectious Disease Institute, Mulago Hospital Hill, Kampala, Uganda
2008 2013 Chief & Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Makerere University, Uganda
2002 2008 Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
Other experience and professional membership
2010 Member, Association Of Psychiatrists Of Uganda
2010 Board Member, Hospice Africa, Uganda
2004 Member, African Association of Psychiatrists and Allied Professionals
2000 Member, Uganda Psychiatric Association
2000 Member, Uganda Medical Association
1999 Director & Founder, African Psycare Research Foundation
1985 Member, Ontario Medical Association
1985 Member, Canadian Medical Association
1985 Member, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
1994 Ugandan Chairman and Founding Member, Friends of Makerere Association
1984 Member, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
1984 Member, Medical Council of Canada
2010 to 2014 African Representative, World Cultural Psychiatry Association
2005 to 2014 Board Member, Butabika Psychiatric Clinical Officers Training School
2005 to 2008 Chair, Mulago Hospital Research and Ethics Committee
2002 to 2005 Deputy Chair, Publications Board, Innovations At Makerere Committee (I@Mak.Com)
2001 - 2005 Former Chairman, Entebbe Hospital, Uganda
2001 - 2002 Member, Sub-Saharan African Network Against Torture and Organized Violence
2000 - 2003 Former Chairman, Rainbow International School
2000 - 2002 Vice-Chairman, Eastern Africa & Great Lakes Regional Network on Psychotrauma
2015 World Association Of Cultural Psychiatry (WACP) Award for Cultural Psychiatry
2014 Peter C Alderman Foundation (PCAF) Lifetime Achievement Award
2013 Makerere University College Of Health Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award
2001 Fulbright New Century Scholar Award
2001 Uganda Society of Health Scientists Award
2001 Honorary Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, Makerere University
1982 Medical Research Council of Canada Award
1968 First prize, UN Human Rights Essay Competition for High Schools (Uganda)
1967 American Field Service Scholarship for High School study in California, USA
C. CONTRIBUTION TO SCIENCE
1. Cognitive functions in HIV+ patients: Establishing evidence related to cognitive function among people living with HIV has been a key area of Dr. Musisiâ€™s research. His recent studies have investigated prevalence of depression among people living with HIV, including among Ugandan adolescents in urban areas.
a. Akena, D, Musisi S, Kinyanda E (2010). A comparison of the clinical features of depression in HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients in Uganda. African Journal Of Psychiatry, 13(1): 43-51
b. Nakasujja N, Skolasky L, Musisi S et al (2010). Depression Symptoms And Cognitive Function Among Individuals With Advanced HIV-infection In Uganda. BMC Psychiatry, 10:44.
c. Musisi S, & Kinyanda E (2009). The Emotional and Behavioral Disorders In HIV-sero-positive Adolescents In Urban Uganda. East African Medical Journal, 86(1): 16-24.
d. Nakasujja N, Musisi S, Walugembe J et al (2007). Psychiatric Disorders Among The Elderly On Non-Psychiatric Wards In An African Setting. International J Psychogeriatrics. 19:4 691-704
2. Effects of antiretroviral therapy on cognitive functions in HIV+ patients: Dr. Musisiâ€™s work has investigated the complex intersections between depression, substance use and prolonged adherence to antiretroviral therapies, as well as the role of cognitive function in HIV transmission risk.
e. Nakasujja N, Allebeck P, Musisi S, et al (2012). Cognitive Dysfunction among HIV-positive and HIV- negative Patients With Psychosis In Uganda. PLoS One, 7(9): e44415.
f. Akena DH, Musisi S, Joska J & Stein D (2012). The Association Between AIDS-Related Stigma And Major Depressive Disorder Among HIV-Positive Individuals In Uganda. PloS One, 7(11): e48671.
g. Senyonyi RM, Underwood LA, Suarez E, Musisi S et al (2012). Cognitive behavioral therapy group intervention for HIV transmission risk behavior in perinatally infected adolescents. Health, 4(12): 1334-1345.
h. Nakimuli-Mpungu E, Bass JK, Musisi S et al (2011). Depression, Alcohol Use and Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review. AIDS Behavior, 16(8):2101-18.
3. Mental health treatment for people living with HIV: Recently, Dr. Musisi has engaged in intervention studies to understand optimal evidence-based treatments for people living with co-morbid depression and HIV. One aspect of this area of focus has been to work with practitioners to connect traditional and contemporary approaches to mental wellness in African populations.
i. Wagner GJ, Ghosh-Dastidar B, Robinson E, Ngo VK, Glick P, Musisi S, Akena D (2017). Effects of Depression Alleviation on Work Productivity and Income Among HIV Patients in Uganda. Int J Behav Med. doi: 10.1007/s12529-017-9642-7. [Epub ahead of print].
j. Wagner GJ, Ghosh-Dastidar B, Robinson E, Ngo VK, Glick P, Mukasa B, Musisi S, Akena D (2016). Effects of Depression Alleviation on ART Adherence and HIV Clinic Attendance in Uganda, and the Mediating Roles of Self-Efficacy and Motivation. AIDS & Behaviour, [Epub ahead of print]
k. Nakimuli-Mpungu E, Wamala K, Okello J, Alderman S, Odokonyero R, Mojtabai R, Mills EJ, Kanters S, Nachega J, Musisi S (2015). Group support psychotherapy for depression treatment in people with HIV/AIDS in northern Uganda: a single-centre randomised controlled trial. Lancet HIV, 2(5): e190â€“e199.
l. Ngo VK, Wagner GJ, Nakasujja N, Dickens A, Aunon F, Musisi S. (2015). Effectiveness of antidepressants and predictors of treatment response for depressed HIV patients in Uganda. International Journal of STDS and AIDS, 26(14):998-1006.
m. Musisi S, Wagner GJ, Ghosh-Dastidar B, Nakasujja N, et al (2013): Depression And Sexual Risk Behavior Among Clients About To Start HIV Antiretroviral Therapy In Uganda. International Journal Of STDs & AIDS, 0956462413495186, 08/13/2013
4. Mental health and mass trauma in Uganda: Dr. Musisiâ€™s long-term research focus is the emergence of new mental health challenges in Africa. Where literature was virtually absent, Dr. Musisi has published extensively and collaboratively on brain degenerations from a variety of causes and their subsequent mental health challenges, including HIV neuropsychiatric disorders, dementias, war-related and other psychological trauma, epilepsy, and age-related brain degenerations. These contributions include two edited books: i) Psychiatric Problems of HIV/AIDS in Africa and Their Management,Fountain Publishers, Kampala, Uganda, (2009) and ii) Brain Degenerations and Dementia in Sub-Saharan Africa. Springer-Verlag Publishers, New York, NY. USA (2015). In addition, Dr. Musisi founded the African Psycare Research Organization for mental health research, training and consulting. He was awarded the Fulbright New Century Scholar award (2001) to research the mental health problems of mass trauma in Africa (1 of 30 top scholars who got the award as a celebration of the turn of the century).
n. Nalugya-Sserunjogi J, Rukundo GZ, Ovuga E, Kiwuwa SM, Musisi S, Nakimuli-Mpungu E (2016). Prevalence and factors associated with depression symptoms among school-going adolescents in Central Uganda. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health, 10:39.
o. Adaku A, Okello J, Lowry B, Kane JC, Alderman S, Musisi S, Tol WA (2016). Mental health and psychosocial support for South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda: a needs and resource assessment. Conflict & Health, 10(1):18.
p. Okello J, Nakimuli-Mpungu E, Klasen F, Voss C, Musisi S, Broekaert E, Derluyn I (2015). The impact of attachment and depression symptoms on multiple risk behaviors in post-war adolescents in northern Uganda. Journal of Affective Disorders, 180:62-7.
q. Okello J, De Schryver M, Musisi S, Broekaert E, Derluyn I. (2014). Differential roles of childhood adversities and stressful war experiences in the development of mental health symptoms in post-war adolescents in northern Uganda. BMC Psychiatry, 14:260.
5. Traditional healing for mental illness: Mental health practitioners in Africa have to be aware of the effect of culture on symptom presentation and health seeking behavior for mental illness among the populace.
r. Musisi S, Okello ES and Abbo C (2010). Culture And Traditional Healing In Conflict / Post-Conflict Societies. African Journal Of Traumatic Stress, 1(2): 80-85.
s. Abbo C, Ekblad S, Waako P, Okello E, Muhwezi M &Musisi S (2008). Psychological distress and associated factors among the attendees of traditional healing practices in Jinja and Iganga districts, Eastern Uganda: a cross-sectional study. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2:16.
t. Okello, E &Musisi S (2006). Depression as a clan illness (eByekika): An Indigenous Model of Psychotic Depression among the Baganda of Uganda. World Cultural Psychiatry Research Review, 1(2): 60-73.
u. Okello E, Abbo C, Musisi S, et al. (2006). Incorporating Traditional Healers In Primary Mental Health Care In Uganda. Makerere University Research Journal, 1(2).