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College of Humanities & Sciences

Psychology Department

2018-2019 Fellows

For the 2018-2019 year, VCU welcomes nine fellows from Brazil, China, Georgia, India, Nepal, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and West Bank.

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Lal Bahadur Kunwar

Dhangadhi, Nepal

Mr. Lal Bahadur Kunwar is from Dhangadhi, Nepal. He has medical training and a master's degree in public health. Mr. Kunwar is currently the deputy director of Possible, a community health care NGO that works with the Nepal Ministry of Health via a public-private partnership. He designs, oversees and implements integrated healthcare programs through a Community Health Workers network. His work increasingly involves the use of technology to strengthen the delivery of community-level follow-up care for chronic disease patients. He is passionate about developing effective, affordable healthcare systems that integrate hospital and home-based services for rural patients. Mr. Kunwar has more than 10 years of experience in the public health sector including as a lecturer of public health at Pokhara University, as a program manager of Aasaman Nepal, a children's rights NGO, and as a government health assistant. During his fellowship, Mr. Kunwar aims to improve his ability to manage non-communicable disease, child and maternal health, and mental health services at the community level. He also wants to enhance both his quantitative and qualitative research skills in public health.

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Kaudstubh Sharma, Ph.D.

Chandigarh, India

Dr. Kaustubh Sharma is from Chandigarh, India. He earned his post-graduate degree in internal medicine and also holds a master's degree in police administration. In 2001, he joined the Indian Police Service and headed Firozepur and Fatehgarh Sahib districts. He has served in the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan as a police chief administrative officer. He later became the deputy commissioner of police in Amritsar. Dr. Sharma also has experience as the zonal director for the Narcotics Control Bureau of India, where his efforts led to establishing opioid substitution therapy centres in local jails. He is currently the deputy inspector general of police in the organized crime control unit, in Punjab. Dr. Sharma's various policing assignments have given him extensive exposure to drug interdiction operations on the Indo-Pak border and he has been closely involved with tackling the drug problem in the state of Punjab. He was awarded the UN Peace Medal, President's Police Medal for Meritorious Services, and the Director General's Commendation Medal. During his fellowship year, Dr. Sharma's focus areas are on inter-agency coordination for effective drug control, the study of evidence-based prevention strategies and on strategies to prevent the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs.

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Lefate Makunyane

Johannesburg, South Africa

Lefate Makunyane is from Johannesburg, South Africa. He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of South Africa and a master's degree in development studies from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. Mr. Makunyane has over ten years of experience in managing and monitoring youth development programs, mental health and substance use prevention, gender-based violence, capacity building, and research. He also has worked on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s loveLife Campaign and a UNICEF/Lesotho Government Youth Ministry Program focusing on HIV/AIDS, substance use prevention, and life skills development. From 2011 to 2014, Mr. Makunyane was the assistant director of the National Department of Basic Education where he worked on the national drug strategy as a member of the Inter-departmental Technical Task Team. Mr. Makunyane is currently a project manager at the African Youth Development Fund for the Ke Moja anti-drug program and the UNICEF-funded National Department of Basic Education Drug Prevention and Management Program. In this position, he conducts research and assessments on the impact of anti-drug programs. Mr. Makunyane's goals for his fellowship are to enhance his knowledge of public health policy, innovative substance use prevention strategies, treatment programs, and research methods.

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Hanan Kharabshah

Jericho, Palestine

Ms. Hanan Kharabshah is from Jericho, Palestine. In 2008, she earned a bachelor's degree in nursing science from Ibn Sina College, Palestine. After graduating, she volunteered in outreach programs for people in remote areas, especially Bedouin communities. In 2009, she began working for Jericho Governmental Hospital in the medical and surgical wards and shortly after became the ward manager of the ICU department. In 2015, she earned a master's degree in public health from Birzeit University. She now holds the position of surgical ward manager and focuses on management, basic nursing care, patient advocacy, and health education. In addition to her clinical work, Ms. Kharabshah is involved in numerous community and professional activities. These include volunteering in outreach programs for refugees in Palestine and Jordan, conducting research and serving as an active member of the Lancet Palestinian Health Alliance. During the Humphrey Fellowship, Ms. Kharabshah will focus on improving her research, counseling and public speaking skills. She also hopes to learn more about U.S. preventive medicine and current health policies and practices to help her in developing evidence-based programs in Palestine.

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Tea Kordzadze

Rustavi, Georgia

Ms. Tea Kordzadze is from Rustavi, Georgia. She earned a bachelor's degree in English and
German languages from Ilia State University, as well as bachelor's degree in social psychology and a master's degree in social sciences from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. Since 2010, while working for the Georgian Harm Reduction Network, her primary focus has been on human rights and drug policy issues. In recent years, Ms. Kordzadze has been instrumental in creating major changes in Georgia regarding healthcare rights related to hepatitis C, HIV/AIDs prevention, advocacy for health-based drug polices, and the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users. In 2014, Ms. Kordzadze played a major role in developing specific recommendations on drug policies and health rights in Georgia during a treaty review by the UN Human Rights Committee and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Her efforts led to an advocacy campaign at the national level to implement these UN recommendations into legislation and practice. Currently, she works for an addiction research and counseling center as a researcher. During her Humphrey Fellowship, Ms. Kordzadze seeks to improve her knowledge of evidence-based drug abuse prevention and treatment.

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Marcelo Martov

Montevideo, Uruguay

Mr. Marcelo Martoy is from Montevideo, Uruguay. He earned two law degrees from the University of the Republic of Uruguay. In 2016, he obtained a postgraduate diploma in criminal law and drugs. He is a candidate professor and associate member of the Legal Practice Department at the University of the Republic. He began his public service career in 2011 at the National Tax Office. Currently, Mr. Martoy works as a legal advisor at the National Drug Board of the Presidency of the Republic of Uruguay, where he oversees the confiscation of assets from drug trafficking and money laundering to finance substance abuse prevention, education and treatment programs. During his fellowship, Mr. Martoy, will study different approaches to drugs and criminal law and its implications for human rights and substance use disorder treatment services. He will specifically focus on the impact of the regulation of the cannabis market in Uruguay. Mr. Martoy also seeks to enhance his knowledge regarding social inclusion models and substance use disorder treatment programs as an alternative to prison. Mr. Martoy's also hopes to improve his skills in conducting interdisciplinary research, managing projects and public speaking.

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Rhea Ramnarine

New Grant, Trinidad and Tobago

Ms. Rhea Ramnarine is from New Grant, Trinidad and Tobago. She obtained a bachelor's degree in biochemistry with a concentration in chemistry at the University of the West Indies. In 2010, she acquired a master's degree in forensic science at King's College London. Since 2011, Ms. Ramnarine has worked as a toxicologist at the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre, the primary forensic testing facility in her country located in Port of Spain. Her duties include analyzing biological and non-biological specimens for the presence of alcohol, drugs and poisons, making pharmacokinetic models, preparing reports to be used in court and providing expert witness testimony. Ms. Ramnarine's objectives during her fellowship is to continue to elevate the standards of drug testing in her country, and gain the knowledge and skills needed to develop and establish new policies and procedures to evaluate emerging trends in drug abuse and potential overdose cases.She also wants to learn more about the pharmacology of drugs of abuse and develop skills in communicating science to laypersons.

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Duanduan Yuan

Beijing, China

Ms. Duanduan Yuan is from Beijing, China. She earned a master's degree in journalism from Guangzhou Jinan University in 2012, and she is currently a senior reporter at Southern Weekly Newspaper in Beijing, focusing on health and medical news. For the past seven years, Ms. Yuan has covered a diverse range of topics such as cancer, rare childhood diseases, pollution and food safety with forceful, sharp and timely stories. She is a recipient of a number of awards, both in China and internationally, including a 2016 Cancer World Journalism Award and the 2014 Global Health Reporting Contest, sponsored by the International Center for Journalists. She is also a three-time winner of a China Environmental Press Award (2013 to 2015), which is jointly organized by the Guardian (UK) and As a Humphrey Fellow, Ms. Yuan wants to advance her knowledge related to mental health policies and management. She is interested in learning about how to use media to advance disease control, health promotion, and public education. Yuan's goal is to design an effective and holistic communication program to increase mental health awareness among the Chinese population and policy makers.

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Nicola Worcman, Ph.D.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dr. Nicola Worcman, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earned both her medical degree and her specialist's degree in psychiatry from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In 2015, Dr. Worcman also received a master's in psychology from Paris Diderot University. For her thesis, entitled "Psychoanalysis and Harm Reduction: The Possible Dialogues," she investigated how psychotherapists and psychiatrists can work more effectively in public institutions that use a harm reduction approach. Upon returning to Rio, she put her research into practice while working in the public health care system for drug users. There, she worked as a psychiatrist and carried out projects targeting underprivileged communities where she helped young drug users to develop leadership and collective strategies to address issues important to them. Additionally, she led a committee that developed strategies for strengthening the mental health care network and served as a professor in Rio's medical internship program. During her fellowship, Dr. Worcman's goal is to improve her knowledge of evidence-based drug abuse prevention and harm reduction programs. In addition, she wants to learn more about drug reform policies and their impact on health care systems, specifically in countries like Brazil that are affected by drug trafficking.

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