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College of Humanities & Sciences

Psychology Department

2008-2009 Fellows

For the 2008-2009 year, VCU hosted 7 Humphrey Fellows from Romania, Bangladesh, Ghana, Czech Republic, India, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine.

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Dr. Adrian Octavian Abagiu

Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Adrian Octavian Abagiu, from Bucharest, Romania, graduated from the Bucharest University of Medicine in 1987, and he earned a Ph.D. in Medical Science in 2000. He has been a senior doctor in Infectious Diseases since 1994 and he was the head of the Infectious Diseases department of the Bucharest Prison Hospital until 2000. Currently he is working as senior doctor in Infectious Diseases at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Bucharest and as medical coordinator for the ARENA Center, the first low threshold center for methadone maintenance in Romania. During his fellowship, Adrian hopes to learn more about substance abuse prevention and treatment, especially for multiple drug abuse and about program development and evaluation for direct clinical services for patients with co-occurring disorders.

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Dr. Munir Ahmed

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dr. Munir Ahmed, from Dhaka, Bangladesh, obtained his Medical, MPH and Diploma in Health Economics degree in 1989, 2003 and 2004 respectively, all from Dhaka University. From 1991-2002, he worked in the tribal tea plantation area of Bangladesh where malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy and alcohol addiction are endemic. He joined CARE's harm reduction program in 2004; a program focused on injection drug users and heroin smokers. Since early 2006 he is the team leader of operations for CARE's HIV program. During his Fellowship year he hopes to enrich his knowledge regarding drug treatment modalities, policies, prevention, drug-overdose management, drug control legislation and self-help groups. He seeks experience in drug abuse research, program monitoring and evaluation, and rehabilitation and social reintegration of drug users.

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Mr. Daniel Akwasi Amankwaah

Accra, Ghana

Mr. Daniel Akwasi Amankwaah, from Accra, Ghana obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and French in 1994 from the University of Ghana where he also earned his LLB Degree in 2007. He is currently the head of the Legal Liaison Unit of the Ghana Narcotics Control Board. Prior to that, he was the head of the Demand Reduction Department of the Board. He was also responsible for UNODC demand reduction activities in Ghana. He worked extensively with NGOs in substance abuse prevention and education. During his Fellowship, Daniel will focus on substance abuse policy and criminal justice. Daniel also seeks experience in designing effective and efficient substance abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs.

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Dr. Petr Popov

Prague, Czech Republic

Dr. Petr Popov, from Prague, Czech Republic, graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the Charles University Prague in 1987, where he also completed his specialty in psychiatry in 1991 and his postgraduate specialty in drug abuse in 1997. He is head of the division of substance abuse services of the General Faculty Hospital Prague and head of the Department of Addictive Disorders at the Czech Institute of Postgraduate study in medicine; positions he has held since 1999. Dr. Popov is chairman of the Czech Society of Addictive Medicine. He has attended psychiatry and addictions conferences and training workshops throughout Europe and in the U.S. During his Fellowship year, Dr. Popov hopes to broaden his knowledge of drug treatment modalities, policies, prevention and drug control legislation. He also seeks experience in professional training programs and evidence-based practices so that he can implement these in the Czech Republic.

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Dr. Tekendra Kumar Rai

Sikkim, India

Dr. Tekendra Kumar Rai, from the State of Sikkim, India, obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Marathwada University, Aurangabad, India, in 1990. After completing his MD in Pharmacology in 1996, he joined the Drugs Cell in the Department of Health in the State of Sikkim, where he was responsible for the enforcement of Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Currently, he also oversees the Sikkim Anti Drugs Unit of the State in the capacity of Programme Officer. He framed the "Sikkim Anti Drugs Act" to control abuse and trafficking of prescription drugs in the State. During his Fellowship, Dr. Rai will focus on enhancing his knowledge about substance abuse policy, prevention and research and drug control legislation, especially regarding prescription drugs. He also seeks to learn about the relationship between HIV/AIDS and injection drug use, particularly among adolescents and women.

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Dr. Muna H. Sawwaf

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Dr. Muna H. Sawwaf, from Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, obtained her MBCHB from King Saud University in 1989, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery with honors. She completed her fellowship in General Psychiatry in 1994. Dr. Sawwaf also has post graduate training in women's mental health, with specialization in the field of drug addiction, from the University of London. She also completed a postgraduate diploma in psychological medicine, from the University of Dublin. She is currently a consultant psychiatrist and head of the department of psychiatry at King Fahd General Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Sawwaf is a member of the scientific advisory board of Mentor Arabia and Mentor International, a nongovernmental organization that deals with drug abuse prevention programs. In 2007 she was awarded an International Fellowship from the American Psychiatric Association. Her Fellowship goals are to learn more about the management of drug addiction in women, and behavioral and pharmacological treatments. Dr. Sawwaf also seeks experience in drug abuse research, program planning and designing effective and efficient prevention programs.

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Mr. Oleksii Smirnov

Kyiv, Ukraine

Mr. Oleksii Smirnov, from Kyiv, Ukraine, works for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine and coordinates the activity of HIV-prevention projects of the Southern Ukraine as a Senior Program Officer. He has MA degrees from Warsaw University and the Central European University in Budapest. Mr. Smirnov organized three waves of Participatory Site Assessments (PSA) that identified sub-groups of injecting drug users (IDUs), locations where they congregate, and their migration. As a result of the PSAs, local NGOs have implemented evidence-based practices in different regions of Ukraine. Since HIV/AIDS is spread mostly among IDUs in Ukraine, during his Fellowship Oleksii wants to broaden his knowledge about new strategies of work with this vulnerable group, particularly in the field of harm reduction, rehabilitation and substitution therapy. Substance abuse policy and drug control legislation are his other fields interest.

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This is a program of the US Department of State, administered by the Institute for International Education.



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