The majority of the world’s population lives in low-income countries with extremely limited access to mental health care. This gap is largest in African nations, which have the world’s lowest ratio of mental health professionals: just 1.4 per 100,000 people. For more than a decade, a multinational team of researchers has been exploring ways to close that gap for nearly 50 million orphans in Africa. With a new, five-year $3.4 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, the team led by professor Kathryn Whetten is testing how to help orphans in the Bungoma, Kenya, region.
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More than 150 Duke faculty members focus their scholarship, teaching, and outreach on the African continent. At the Sanford School, Professor of the Practice Phyllis Pomerantz started working for the World Bank in 1979 as an economist and rural development specialist. She went on to become leadership posiotions in Southern Africa, Zambia and Mozambique. She now shares her knowledge and experience with students studying international development.
Professor of the Practice Emeritus James Joseph served as U.S. Ambassador to South Africa during Nelson Mandela’s presidency. In 1999, the Republic of South Africa awarded Ambassador Joseph the Order of Good Hope, the highest honor bestowed on a citizen of another country.
In addition, the Duke Center for International Development offers executive education programs and training in finance and tax policy in the region.
And the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy has sponsored the Menell Media Exchange conference in South Africa each summer since 2000.
"I grew up in a small village in Kenya, an informal settlement called Korogocho. It’s the third largest slum in Kenya. I heard of this scholarship by the Ford Foundation. It was extremely competitive. So I applied for this scholarship, and I got it. And it was a good scholarship because if you got it, you could go to any university in the world, provided you were qualified. Duke was always my first choice. Even if I got the scholarship now, I would still come to Duke." - Raphael Obonyo MPP’13