Psychiatry Lecturer Awarded Atlantic Fellowship for Equity in Brain Health

Psychiatry lecturer at UKZN’s School of Clinical Medicine Dr Khanyo Ngcobo has been awarded the Atlantic Fellowship for Equity in Brain Health.

The Atlantic Fellows programme is based at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) at the Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin in Ireland in partnership with the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) in the United States.

The GBHI strives to reduce the scale and impact of dementia locally and globally by training and supporting a new generation of leaders to develop and translate research evidence and innovation into more informed and effective policy and practice.

This fellowship is awarded to individuals who are committed to effecting change in the brain health community with an ability to implement effective interventions in vulnerable communities.

‘I am grateful to be selected as one of the 2021–22 Fellows. In my experience of working in mental health, issues that surround dementia care include stigma which often leads to delayed help-seeking; dementia screening of our population; and the lack of community dementia programmes and caregiver support programmes,’ said Ngcobo.

‘This fellowship offers me a chance to engage in projects and effective interventions aimed at advancing brain health giving me knowledge I can take back to my country with me once the fellowship is complete. I am really excited about this great opportunity.’

As an Atlantic Fellow, Ngcobo will have access to unique opportunities provided by the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, the School of Psychology and School of Medicine, Trinity’s partner hospitals and Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing as well as through collaboration with the institute’s many partners across disciplines, geographic boundaries and fields of expertise within the university and around Ireland.

Access to this impressive pool of expertise will assist her deliver on her own unique vision about how to lead major change in dementia prevention across the globe. The training will transcend continents as GBHI partners with UCSF and the other six Atlantic Fellows programmes worldwide.

Ngcobo leaves for Trinity College Dublin later this year.

Said Psychiatry Head of Department Professor Bonga Chiliza: ‘We thank Khanyo for the honour she has brought to the University of KwaZulu-Natal through her achievements and leading by example. We wish her the absolute best for the new journey. Well done on receiving this globally recognised and much-deserved award.’

Ngcobo, a specialist psychiatrist working at the King Dinuzulu Hospital in Durban, obtained her MBChB from UKZN’s Medical School in 2010, going on to be awarded a CMSA Fellowship in Psychiatry in 2019. She attained her Master’s degree (MMed-Psychiatry) from UKZN in 2020.

She has a very keen interest in research and is currently involved in numerous projects around dementia, including screening for dementia and feasible interventions. She is also involved in mental health and dementia advocacy and outreach where she works with a community-based programme offering dementia care and support to clients and their caregivers.

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Supplied