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College of Humanities & Sciences

Psychology Department

2010-2011 Fellows

For the 2010-2011 year, VCU hosted eight Humphrey Fellows from Kosovo, Tunisia, Russia, Brazil, Nigeria, Egypt, and Thailand.

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Ms. Dafina Muqaj

Pristina, Kosovo

Ms. Dafina Muqaj, from Pristina, Kosovo, earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Pristina, where she is currently in the second year of a Master's degree program in Child and School Psychology. For the past four years, Ms. Muqaj has worked as a psychologist at "Labyrinth," a drug prevention and treatment center. In this position, she worked directly with clients, most of whom are heroin users. Her treatment responsibilities included conducting individual and group therapy sessions and counseling parents. Ms. Muqaj was also responsible for school-based prevention services. Other projects that Ms. Muqaj's has worked on include implementation of a harm reduction program sponsored by the Global Fund, developing a methadone maintenance program, and conducting a qualitative study to map drug use sites. During her Fellowship, Ms. Muqaj wants to expand her knowledge about drug treatment programs and addiction research.

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Dr. Dorra Amira

Tunis, Tunisia

Dr. Dorra Amira, from Tunis, Tunisia, received her undergraduate degrees in Pharmacy and Biology from the University of Monastir and a Master's degree in Toxicology in 2003 from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tunis. Dr. Amira is currently a Associate Professor of Toxicology at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Monastir, while also working in the Poison Information Center, laboratory of toxicology, in Tunis. The focus of Dr. Amira's work is on the identification of prescription drugs and drugs of abuse. Dr. Amira has completed two internships in toxicology laboratories; one in Poitiers, France and one in Paris, France. She also is a member of the Tunisian Society of Clinical Biology. Through the Humphrey Fellowship, Dr. Amira plans to enhance her knowledge of drug abuse and analytical methods so that she can improve procedures in toxicology laboratories in her country. She also plans to develop greater knowledge about substance abuse prevention and treatment so that she can use this information to help address the drug problems of Tunisia.

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Dr. Maia Rusakova

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Dr. Maia Rusakova, from St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation, graduated from the St. Petersburg University of Culture in 1995 and obtained her Ph.D. from the Sociological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2002. Dr. Rusakova has been studying deviant behavior since 1994, with a specific focus on health and well-being, and she is also active in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention. Dr. Rusakova is the co-founder and current director of the Regional Non-Governmental Organization of Social Projects in the Sphere of Populations' Well-being "Stellit", located in St. Petersburg and working across Russia and in other Russian-speaking settings. She is also currently working as the head of the sector of Sociology of Deviance and Social Control in the Sociological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In addition, she is an associate professor in Sociology at St. Petersburg State University. Her Fellowship goals are to learn new tools for the prevention of risk behavior among different target groups that could be implemented in the Russian Federation and to develop distant learning programs with the assistance of US experts.

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Dr. Mário Sérgio Sobrinho

São Paulo, Brazil

Dr. Mário Sérgio Sobrinho, from São Paulo, Brazil, obtained his Master's degree in 2002 and his Ph.D. in 2009 from the Law School of the University of São Paulo. He is a public prosecutor in Sao Paulo State and represents the Public Ministry in a criminal court that also adjudicates drug abuse cases. During his Fellowship year, Dr. Mario Sergio Sobrinho seeks to broaden his knowledge of drug abuse prevention, treatment modalities and drug courts. His Fellowship goals are to learn about police procedures, judicial drug abuse cases and the drug courts system and he hopes to help the Brazilian judicial system by teaching others who are interested in improving judicial methods regarding drug abuse cases.

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Dr. Moses Abayomi Ojo

Lagos, Nigeria

Dr. Moses Abayomi Ojo, from Lagos, Nigeria, obtained his medical degree from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife. He qualified as a Psychiatrist in 2007 having completed the residency program of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. During his residency training at the Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospital in Yaba, Lagos, he worked in various units of the hospital including adolescent, forensic and substance abuse. Dr. Ojo is currently the consultant psychiatrist coordinating community education and prevention programs, hospital clinical work and research in the drug abuse unit of the hospital. During his Fellowship year, Dr. Ojo plans to enhance his knowledge and practical skills in the treatment and prevention of substance abuse as well as research on the common drugs of abuse in Nigeria.

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Dr. Omar El Shahawy

Cairo, Egypt

Dr. Omar El Shahawy, from Cairo, Egypt, obtained his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Ain Shams in Cairo in 2002 and his Diploma of Total Quality Management for Health Care Reform from the American University in Cairo, in 2006. He then obtained his Masters Degree in Public Health (with MERIT) from the Royal Tropical Institute and the Vrjie University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2007. Prior to coming to VCU, he was working at the University of Ain Shams' General Medical Management and delegated to the Public Health Department as a researcher and trainer, focusing primarily on adolescent tobacco use. During his Fellowship, Dr. El Shahawy seeks to enhance his experience in drug abuse policy and prevention, with a particular focus on gender issues in adolescent and marginalized groups. He hopes to use his experience at VCU to enhance his public health competencies in fields related to substance abuse research and prevention, primarily in the area of tobacco use.

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Ms. Oranooch Sungkhawanna

Bangkok, Thailand

Ms. Oranooch Sungkhawanna, from Bangkok, Thailand, earned her Bachelor's degree in English from Chiang Mai University in 1988 and a Master's degree in Public Administration from Thammasat University in 2002. Ms. Sungkhawanna is a senior foreign relations official in the Office of the Narcotics Control Board of Thailand where she works on national drug control policy and international cooperation for drug control. Ms. Sungkhawanna has extensive knowledge of a wide variety of substance abuse topics ranging from counternarcotics policy to substance abuse program development. She has actively participated in several international workshops and symposia where she has demonstrated her expertise in the substance abuse field. Ms. Sungkhawanna's motivation to increase her substance abuse knowledge stems from a desire to search for solutions to a problem that has plagued Thai society (and other countries in the region) for several years and which has had profound negative consequences, especially among youth. She seeks to enhance her experience in drug abuse control policy, and hopes to use her Fellowship experience to design and implement more effective drug control policies and to expand the use of evidence-based substance abuse treatment and prevention programs in Thailand.

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Dr. Rogerio Alves da Paz

Porto Alegre, Brazil

Dr. Rogerio Alves da Paz, from Porto Alegre, Brazil, obtained his medical degree from the University of Caxias do Sul Medical School and completed a residency in Psychiatry at the Health Sciences Federal University of Porto Alegre. He is a forensic and clinical psychiatrist affiliated with the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP). Since March, 2007 he has been the Director of Teaching and Research at the state psychiatric hospital in Rio Grande do Sul (Hospital Psiquiátrico São Pedro). Since 2000, Dr. Alves da Paz has also been the psychiatrist in charge of Catholical Congregation Pia Copiosa Redenção , an urban rehabilitation program for young, drug-addicted women in Porto Alegre. He also worked as a psychiatrist at the Instituto Psiquiátrico Forense Mauricio Cardoso from 2000 to 2005 and helped implement the program of progressive discharge in that hospital. During his Fellowship year, Dr. Alves da Paz seeks to know how the US has dealt with crack epidemics, to learn about rehabilitation programs for drug users in general, and drug-related public policies. His Fellowship goal is to establish collaborative relationships with treatment programs in the US.

Video created by 2010-11 VCU Humphrey fellows

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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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