A PhD student in Psychiatry under the auspices of CAPRISA, Ms Adele Munsami, is the 2016 recipient of the Victor Nell-SACNA Endowment for the Study of Neuropsychology in South Africa.
This endowment is a one-time bi-annual grant aimed at providing financial assistance in support of postgraduate studies towards a qualification in Psychology.
Munsami, who also holds a Masters in Research Psychology (cum laude) from the College of Humanities says she is grateful to the SA Clinical Neuropsychological Association (SACNA) for recognising her research and acknowledging her potential to make a special contribution to the area of neuropsychology in South Africa, a relatively new and challenging frontier in addressing the HIV pandemic in the country.
‘This award creates an opportunity for me to develop locally relevant and culture specific neuropsychiatric tools that can be used in a South African health care setting. This award is especially humbling as it aims to honour the work of Professor Victor Nell by building capacity in the field of cross-cultural neuropsychology in South Africa.
‘I am especially grateful to have the opportunity to interact with some of the leading minds in this field and to develop under these auspices as an early career scientist. This award marks the beginning of a challenging but extremely rewarding road ahead and will serve as my motivation to strive for and achieve excellence in my contribution to the field,’ she said.
The Endowment will be used as a seed fund to adapt and contextualise a cognitive reserve and health literacy uptake of psychometric tools that will be translated into isiZulu, and used in a South African setting.
It will allow suitable neurocognitive tests to be contextualised and used in this setting as well as broaden the neuropsychological knowledge base within the context of HIV and AIDS in South Africa. This will subsequently assist in tailoring successful and sustainable prevention and treatment programmes.
Munsami is currently a Study Co-ordinator in the Advanced Clinical Care Programme (ACC) at CAPRISA, which aims to establish regional health centres and high level capabilities for advanced management of patients with HIV and AIDS, TB and drug resistant TB, in all districts in KwaZulu-Natal and the North West Province.
‘I currently oversee monitoring and evaluation of activities in the ACC. In addition, I am also a co-investigator on a file review currently being conducted in KwaZulu-Natal and am actively involved in data management and analysis using statistical analysis software, to produce outputs of study related data.
‘I also assist with the training and mentorship of intern psychologists at CAPRISA.’
Her qualifications include: Bachelor of Social Science – UKZN; Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Research Psychology – UNISA, and Masters of Social Science – Research Psychology (cum laude) – UKZN.
She is currently a Doctoral candidate under the College of Health Sciences’ School of Clinical Medicine Discipline of Psychiatry under the auspices of CAPRISA.
She is supervised by Professor Jonathan Burns from UKZN’s Psychiatry Department and Professor John Joska of UCT’s Division of Neuropsychiatry and the Mental Health Research Unit.
Accolades include the 2014 Columbia University-Southern African Fogarty AITRP Traineeship (CU-SA Fogarty AITRP) (CAPRISA Fellowship) and in 2015 she graduated with Masters of Social Science (Research Psychology) – cum laude.