July 23, 2024

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Dartmouth Scholars Awarded Research Internship at AKU’s Brain & Mind Institute

3 min read

We are thrilled to announce that three outstanding Dartmouth College Scholars have been awarded a prestigious scholarship by the Dickey Center for International Understanding and Dartmouth, Center for Global Health Equity​ to pursue a research internship at the Aga Khan University’s Brain & Mind Institute (BMI). These scholars have demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication in their academic pursuits, and we extend our warmest congratulations to them. 


“I am immensely grateful to the Scientists at the Brain & Mind Institute for providing an intellectual environment of excellence that trains the next generation of African scientists, physicians, and policymakers. We hope that this will be the first of many exchanges between the two institutions to support local capacity building and global research and education,” said Prof Thomas Thesen of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Promoting Local Capacity Building and Global Research 

This internship marks the beginning of a promising collaboration between Dartmouth University and AKU-BMI. With the goal of supporting local capacity building and advancing global research and education, we anticipate that this exchange will be the first of many fruitful endeavors. By fostering partnerships and collaborations between researchers, healthcare providers, policymakers, and community organizations, we aim to create a robust network that will drive impactful research projects in the future.

“The BMI-Dartmouth internship program is an essential step towards building capacity and advancing leadership in neuroscience and mental health within Kenya. It provides a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between international study and local impact, and to cultivate the next generation of change-makers in East Africa,” said Dr Kendi Muchungi, Instructional Designer & Partnerships Manager, BMI. 

Exciting Internship Project

 The BMI-Dartmouth Scholars will be actively engaged in a variety of projects during their internship, each contributing to the advancement of neurological research and mental health interventions. 

“Looking ahead, we are committed to shaping the brilliant young minds of today for a better tomorrow,” said Prof Cyprian Mostert, Health Economist at BMI and one of the mentors.

In this project, the interns – Winnie Brenda Waiya, Bob Moriasi and Pauline Nyandusi- will work on various aspects of neurological research in Kenya. They will be involved in identifying and mapping stakeholders and partners involved in neurological research, including researchers, healthcare providers, policymakers, and community organizations. This analysis will help establish collaborations and partnerships for future research projects.

The interns will also utilize their expertise in data analysis, visualization, and interpretation to support data science projects. They will work with datasets, applying statistical and machine learning techniques to extract meaningful insights that contribute to the advancement of neurological research.

Recognizing the importance of community engagement, the interns will develop strategies to engage Kenyan communities, policymakers, and other stakeholders on mental health interventions. This will involve tailoring messages to different target audiences, aiming to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues.

Working closely with researchers, the interns will assist in developing data analysis plans for qualitative and quantitative studies on brain health. They will help identify research questions, design studies, and employ appropriate methods to analyze data, enhancing research capabilities and contributing to the understanding of brain health.

“As an intern at AKU’s Brain & Mind Institute, I am honored to contribute to neurological research and mental health interventions in Kenya. This opportunity fuels my passion for neuroscience and paves the way for future collaborations, driving impactful advancements in brain health worldwide,” said Winnie Brenda Waiya.

This opportunity for the Scholars to embark on a research internship at the BMI not only recognizes their exceptional talent and dedication but also highlights the shared goal of promoting local capacity building and advancing global research and education. The interns’ involvement in various aspects of research, data analysis, community engagement, and the development of data analysis plans will not only contribute to the advancement of neurological research and mental health interventions but also enhance research capabilities and deepen the understanding of brain health. This internship serves as a catalyst for ongoing collaboration and opens doors for future fruitful endeavors in the field of neuroscience and mental health.


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