For the 2009-2010 year, VCU hosted seven Humphrey Fellows from Brazil, Ukraine, Iraq, Malaysia, Burma, Nigeria, and Uruguay.
Mrs. Rawnak Aqrawi
Mrs. Rawnak Aqrawi, from Erbil, Iraq, obtained her Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1979 from the University of Baghdad. She has worked in both frontline pharmacy services and as a communication director in rural and urban settings as well as at the Iraq Ministry of Health. Mrs. Aqrawi is a member of the National Mental Health and Substance Abuse Council in the Ministry of Health, and contributed to the development of policies and procedures for the Council. She also has been instrumental in developing the draft of Iraq's drug control law, and she is a member of the Iraqi Society for Addiction Medicine. Mrs. Aqrawi has participated in training in Jordan, Egypt, the United Kingdom and the United States, where she focused on community-based substance abuse prevention and treatment programs as well as the role of public education. For her Humphrey Fellowship, she would like to obtain training and direct experience in substance abuse programs in the US.
Dr. Murilo Battisti
São Paulo, Brazil
Dr. Murilo Battisti, from São Paulo, Brazil, obtained his bachelors in psychology from the University of São Paulo in 1999, and a Ph.D from the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP) in 2009. He is currently a researcher for the Brazilian Center for Information on Psychotropic Drugs (CEBRID-UNIFESP). In addition, he is a member of the Brazilian National Council on Drug Policies (CONAD). During his Fellowship year, Dr. Battisti seeks to broaden his knowledge of prevention, treatment modalities and public policies with focus on ecstasy and club drug use. His Fellowship goals are to learn new tools in substance abuse research to support evidence-based practices and policies in Brazil, particularly for youth.
Dr. Thanda Khin
Dr. Thanda Khin, from Yangon, Myanmar, obtained her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the Institute of Medicine 1 in 1994 and her Master's Degree in Health Social Science from Mahidol University, Thailand in 2007. She has extensive experience in managing HIV/AIDS related projects for international non-governmental organizations and the United Nations. She is currently a national staff member of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in Myanmar, where as the Project Coordinator she is responsible for a partnership project focusing on injection drug use and HIV/AIDS. During her Fellowship, Dr. Khin seeks to develop greater knowledge about epidemiology and project evaluation related to drugs and HIV/AIDS, and to learn more about drug abuse program development and research.
Ms. Chinyere Celestina Okonkwo
Ms. Chinyere Celestina Okonkwo, from Anambra State in southeastern Nigeria, obtained a Diploma in Social Work and B.Sc. (with honors) in Psychology from the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1994 and 1999, respectively. She also obtained a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Lagos. Prior to coming to VCU, she was working as a Clinical Psychologist on the drug unit at the Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos. In this position she was responsible for managing and coordinating psychological assessments and treatment for substance abuse patients, as well as other patients. During her Fellowship year, she hopes to improve her clinical skills and her knowledge of psychological management of substance abuse, prevention, and rehabilitation. Ms. Okonkwo also seeks experience in conducting substance abuse research that will inform the development of better services for patients/clients and the entire community. In addition, when she returns to Nigeria, she hopes to improve the quality of substance abuse services by teaching others who are interested in substance abuse management, prevention and rehabilitation.
Ms. Gabriela Olivera
Ms. Gabriela Olivera, from Montevideo, Uruguay, obtained her psychology degree from the State University of Uruguay in 1993 and her post-graduate training in drug abuse in 1999 at Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. She is currently Chief of the Demand Reduction Unit of the National Drugs Assembly for the Presidency of Uruguay, and she has been working on drug abuse policy at the Health Ministry since 1995. She is also a member of the National Commission on Tobacco Control and serves as the Uruguay General Coordinator for the Global Tobacco Youth Survey (GYTS) and the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS), sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ms. Olivera co-authored “OAS - CICAD Hemispheric Guidelines on School-based Prevention,” Group Demand Reduction Experts, 2005. During her Fellowship, Ms. Olivera seeks to enhance her experience in drugs abuse policy, including a particular focus on gender issues, and she hopes to use her Fellowship experience to design and expand evidence-based substance abuse programs in Uruguay.
Dr. Mohd Muzafar Shah bin Mohd Razali
Tanjong Malim, Malaysia
Dr. Mohd Muzafar Shah bin Mohd Razali, from Tanjong Malim, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Malaya in 2010. He is also on the faculty of Sultan Idris Education University in Tanjong Malim. Before joining Sultan Idris Education University, Dr. Muzafar was a primary school teacher for ten years and a secondary school teacher and counselor for four years. He was also the Head of the Drug Abuse Education and Prevention Unit at the Kuala Lumpur State Education Department for one year. Currently, he teaches drug abuse education and prevention at the undergraduate level and drug abuse counseling at the postgraduate level. He is also involved in developing the drug abuse prevention curriculum for the Ministry of Education and conducting research for the National AntiDrug Agency of Malaysia. During his Fellowship, Dr. Muzafar will study the development and evaluation various models of school and community-based substance abuse prevention programs. He had began the development of an instrument to measure risk and protective factors for adolescent drug abuse. He will proceed to the development and evaluation of evidence based drug abuse prevention programs in Malaysia.
Mr. Valeriy Ryabukha
Mr. Valeriy Ryabukha, from Chernihiv, Ukraine, graduated from the Higher Military College in Yekaterinburg, Russia in 1987 and National Law University in Kyiv in 1998. He is the Legal and Police Advisor for the HIV/AIDS Governance Project of the United Nations Development Prmunirogramme in Ukraine. Prior to his current position, he served in the Migration Department of Ukraine, Police and Soviet Army. Mr. Ryabukha led the development of the Education against Drugs Program, a substance abuse and crime prevention program for adolescents. Based on his analysis of prevention programs in the United States, England, Ireland and Ukraine, the Education against Drugs Programme is now conducted in secondary schools throughout his native city of Chernihiv. During his Fellowship, Mr. Ryabukha wants to continue his study of substance abuse prevention programs in order to identify effective models that could be implemented in his native Ukraine.