McSilver Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Hadiza Osuji Awarded NIH Loan Repayment

PUBLISHED ON September 15, 2016

McSilver Institute Postdoctoral Fellow and Community Collaborative Board (CCB) member Hadiza L. Osuji, PhD, was recently awarded funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program to support her continued involvement in research to close the knowledge gap regarding African immigrant women’s mental health.

The highly competitive program was established by Congress and designed “to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers.” It repays up to $35,000 annually of a researcher’s qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research.

Dr. Hadiza Osuji (center left) tours a child rehabilation center in Uganda with Dr. Beverly Pringle (center right), Chief of the NIH's Global Mental Health Research Program, Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health


Dr. Osuji, who was born and raised in Nigeria, previously served as the McSilver Institute’s Chief Program Officer from 2011 to 2015; she earned her PhD in public health while working full-time in that position. She had previously obtained her Master of Public Administration while working full time on mental health promoting and HIV prevention studies and raising her six children.

As a member of the CCB at the McSilver Institute and other institutions where the institute’s Inaugural Director, Dr. Mary McKay, had previously worked, Dr. Osuji was involved in numerous community-based participatory research studies. Soon after joining the CCB in 2000, she was hired as a Research Assistant for the National Institute of Mental Health-funded study called CHAMP (Collaborative HIV Prevention and Adolescent Mental Health Project), where she administered the programs of research, facilitated child and parent HIV/AIDS groups, coordinated CCB meetings, and transcribed in-depth interviews, among other responsibilities. She subsequently worked on other federally funded research projects focused on prevention and intervention services for urban youth and their families, holding research roles including project coordinator, parent/peer facilitator, program trainer, data analyst and evaluation coordinator.

According to Dr. Osuji “These experiences provided me with substantial quantitative skills and clinical training in working with culturally diverse, urban low income populations. Over the years, as my career progressed, my public health interests grew into an ardent need to develop cutting edge interventions and health programs that could address the health and mental health disparities faced by underserved urban populations of color, and specifically the African immigrant population. This support from the NIH Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program will enable me to benefit from the great mentorship of Dr. Mary McKay, advance my skills in mixed methodology, achieve my goal of becoming an independent researcher, and address the serious mental health challenges of African female immigrants, a growing population in the US made vulnerable by trauma exposure, poverty, displacement and numerous stressors specific to gender within their cultural context.”