About us

The 2019 Short Course is a partnership between Queensland University of Technology, Stellenbosch University and the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health.

Meet the 2019 Course Participants

The Australia-based Team

Meet the 2019 Teaching Team

Professor Robert Schweitzer

Professor Robert Schweitzer is a well-recognised expert in mental health and cultural contexts with extensive experience working in Africa and with African communities in Australia. This is reflected in his role at the Queensland University of Technology, where he established the post graduate program in clinical psychology, and plays a leading role in the training of clinical psychologists for positions in Australia and overseas. As such, he heads the teaching of psychopathology including topics such as assessment, diagnosis and interventions.

Dr. Kate Murray

Dr. Kate Murray is Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology and Counselling at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). A primary focus of her research, teaching, and advocacy work is focused on adapting health systems to work more effectively with diverse populations. She has teaching experience across a wide range of health disciplines in the areas of mental and physical health among diverse populations.

Dr Julie King

Dr Julie King, Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Social WorkFaculty of Health,Queensland University of Technology. Before joining the academy Dr King was a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Manager in the areas of ophthalmology, disability, rehabilitation and palliative care.  Her Master of Public Health (Tropical Health) from UQ was awarded the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine Medal and a Dean’s commendation for academic excellence.  She also has a PhD in medical anthropology from QUT. Dr King is a medical anthropologist with a strong interest in disability and gender in low and middle income countries.  She takes a human rights and inclusive development approach to working in numerous countries in the Asia-Pacific and Africa.  She has conducted training in Nepal, Fiji, Cambodia and Tanzania in the areas of disability, human rights and gender. Throughout her career, Dr King led the design and development of many Australia Awards Short Courses for participants from Africa, Asia and the Pacific in areas of disability and gender inclusive development.   Dr King teaches in the areas of human rights, disability, international social work and research methods.

Dr Leonie Cox

Dr Leonie Cox is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. Leonie has extensive clinical nursing experience in the mental health field and she teaches and publishes on mental health and social and emotional well-being focussing on the relationships between history, society, culture and health. Her take on this relationship embraces the philosophy of cultural safety promoting a social justice approach to how nurses work with marginalised people in society. Leonie is a medical and social anthropologist whose ethnographic work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has an emphasis on the intersection of colonial history, contemporary policy and practice, knowledge, power, class, race relations and well-being.

Mr Ali Drummond

Mr Ali Drummond, a Torres Strait Islander man, descendant of the Dauareb people of Murray Island and the Wuthathi people of North East Cape York, is Lecturer in the School of Nursing and holds several leadership positions concerning Indigenous Australian Health: Board Director, The Lowitja Institute; President, QUT Oodgeroo Alumni Chapter; Member, Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives; Member, the Principal Committee Indigenous Caucus, and advisor to NHMRC. Ali holds a Master of International Public Health from The University of Queensland, and a Bachelor of Nursing Science from James Cook University. He has been recognised through multiple QUT scholarship awards, including an Indigenous Postgraduate Research Award Scholarship.

Dr Francis Acquah Francis

Dr Francis Acquah Francis, a leading and influential person in the Mental Health field, has over 30 years’ experience as a Psychiatric Nurse in public and private health care. Francis is the Clinical Director of Positive Mental Health Program. Since arriving in Australia in 1986, Francis has made major contributions to the lives of Africans through his service in the field of Mental Health. Francis has an interest in Trans-Cultural Psychiatry and is a strong advocate for refugees and immigrants, especially for those in the African-Australian community. Francis organised the first community and professionals’ forum to educate African mental health professionals and others about mental illness in Australia. In 1994 Francis wrote a thesis on “Mental Health of Immigrants and Refugees to Multicultural Australia: A clinician’s perceptive”. Francis is a Mental Health First Aid instructor and has used his experiences to educate the community about mental health and the need to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems. Francis is a Community Mental Health Trainer and was involved in the delivery of “Stepping Out of the Shadows: Reducing Stigma in Multicultural Communities” in Victoria. He is the President & Founding Director of the Mental Health and Health and Well-being Foundation: – http://mhwbf.org. Francis has been involved in consultation and liaison with a wide range of mental health and other human service providers who respond to the acute needs of people experiencing a psychiatric crisis. Francis contributed to producing the report, “African Communities and Settlement Services in Victoria: Towards better service delivery models” [published as Nsubuga-Kyobe, A. & Dimock, L. (2002), La Trobe University, Melbourne]. Francis previously received the Meritorious Service Award for his Outstanding Voluntary Contribution to Victoria’s African Communities, given by the Victorian Multicultural Commission. Francis is a Fellow of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses awarded by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.

The South Africa-based Team

Professor Leslie Swartz

Professor Leslie Swartz is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He trained as a clinical psychologist and has a particular interest in disability rights issues, especially in low-income contexts. He was founding editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Disability, is Associate Editor of Transcultural Psychiatry and International Journal of Disability, Development and Education and he has published widely on disability and mental health issues.  Prof Swartz was Senior Research Partner for the DFID-funded Research Programme of the Southern African Federation of the Disabled, training disability activists from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe in research skills related to disability rights.  He regularly conducts research and academic writing training workshops in South Africa and other countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Botswana.

Professor Ashraf Kagee

Professor Ashraf Kagee is Distinguished Professor, former chair of the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University, and co-Director of the Alan Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health. He is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, an author of over 160 academic publications, and a rated researcher with South Africa’s National Research Foundation. Professor Kagee’s research area is in public mental health in general and in the area of HIV and behaviour more specifically. He has published extensively on HIV, mental health, and adherence to antiretroviral therapy. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Health Psychology, The Counseling Psychologist, and Psychology, Health and Medicine. He has also served on the International Scientific Advisory Board of the 2017 AIDS Impact Conference, as Chair of the Committee of Health Psychology of the 2012 International Congress of Psychology, and on the World Health Organisation Working Group on the Classification of Stress-Related Disorders for the International Classification of Diseases. Professor Kagee has supervised numerous doctoral and masters students over the years, including students enrolled the MPhil programme in public mental health.

Associate Professor Katherine Sorsdahl

Associate Professor Katherine Sorsdahl is the Co-Director of the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health at the University of Cape Town. Prof. Sorsdahl’ s primary research areas include: i) improving access to and the quality of care for people living with mental disorders; ii) developing and adapting evidence-based interventions for the South African context; and iii) integrating evidence-based mental health services into health systems with a focus on task shifting. Apart from her research, Prof Sorsdahl is involved in capacity building of students from Africa and elsewhere through the MPhil in Public Mental Health.

Prof Crick Lund

Crick Lund, BA (Hons), MA, MSocSci (Clinical Psychology), PhD, is Professor of Global Mental Health and Development in the King’s Global Health Institute, Health Services and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, and Professor in the Alan J. Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town. He trained as a clinical psychologist at the University of Cape Town in the mid-1990s and was subsequently involved in developing post-apartheid norms for mental health services for the national Department of Health. He worked for the World Health Organisation (WHO) from 2000-2005, on the development of the WHO Mental Health Policy and Service Guidance Package, and has consulted to several countries on mental health policy and planning. He was a founding member of the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health and served as its first Director, from 2010 to 2017. He was also the CEO of the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME), a DFID funded research consortium focusing on the integration of mental health into primary care in low resource settings (2011-2019) and Principal Investigator of the AFrica Focus on Intervention Research for Mental health (AFFIRM) U19 NIMH Collaborative Hub (2011-2016). His research interests lie in mental health policy, service planning and the relationship between poverty and mental health in low and middle-income countries.

Dr. John Parker

Dr. John Parker, Psychiatrist and Director Spring Foundation at Lentegeur Hospital, John Parker is a Specialist in OPD and Medium Term Care at Lentegeur Hospital. He is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at UCT. He qualified as a doctor in 1990 and has have been working in psychiatry within an African context since 1995, initially as a medical officer in the Eastern Cape before going on to specialize in Cape Town. His specializes in Public Mental Health, Social Psychiatry and the Environment, Mindfulness and Recovery in Mental Illness. He is a founding member and director Spring Foundation at Lentegeur, which aims to re-design what a psychiatric hospital, looks like, feels like, is and does using ecological principles. Translated lente geur means “the essence or aroma of spring” and this project is transforming a large psychiatric hospital in an impoverished area by bringing alive the metaphor inherent in this name as the re-birth of hope through reconnection with the world.