Ama de-Graft Aikins is a Visiting Fellow at LSE Health and Senior Lecturer at the Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana. She is a social psychologist with a primary interest in representations and experiences of chronic physical and mental illnesses among African communities. Her doctoral research, completed at the LSE in 2004, was a large scale qualitative study that examined experiences of rural and urban Ghanaians living with diabetes and provided a systematic account of illness experiences to improve care and policy in Ghana. She received an ESRC Postdoctoral Award in 2004, based at the University of Cambridge, to extend the theoretical and policy implications of this research. Her current research focuses on risk factors of diabetes, with particular reference to representations of food, body image and obesity and the development of primary prevention in Ghana. She is involved in the development of a chronic non-communicable diseases strategic plan for Ghana's Ministry of Health.
In 2006, Ama received a British Academy grant to establish the UK-Africa Academic Partnership on Chronic Disease, an academic network which now consists of 40 members from the social and medical sciences based in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, The Netherlands, Malaysia, South Africa, the UK and the US. The network aims to develop interdisciplinary models for chronic disease research, intervention and policy to attempt to address the public health challenges for Africans both in Africa and in the diaspora. Major outputs of the partnership include a special issue on Africa's Chronic Disease Burden, published by the online open access journal Globalization and Health in 2010 (visit www.globalizationandhealth.com/series) and a forthcoming special issue on Ghana's chronic disease burden in Ghana Medical Journal (March 2011). Originally hosted by the University of Cambridge, the network is now hosted by LSE Health with support from the Regional Institute for Population Studies and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana.
Ama has conducted independent research on chronic non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases of poverty, mental health and health systems policy and research for institutions in Ghana (Ghana's Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, University of Ghana Medical School), the UK (University College London, St George's Hospital Medical School, The British Academy, LSE Health) and for international organizations (Overseas Development Institute, DANIDA, Management Sciences for Health, World Health Organisation (WHO)).
de-Graft Aikins, A. (in press). Mental illness and destitution in Ghana: a social psychological perspective. In Emmanuel Akyeampong, Alan Hill and Arthur Kleinman. (Eds). Culture, Mental Illness and Psychiatric Practice in Africa. Indiana University Press.
de-Graft Aikins, A (2011). Culture, diet and the maternal body: Ghanaian women's perspectives on food, fat and childbearing. In Maya Unnithan-Kumar and Soraya Tremayne (Eds). Fatness and the Maternal Body: Women's experiences of corporeality and the shaping of social policy. Oxford: Berghahn Books.
de-Graft Aikins, A., Unwin, N., Agyemang, C. Allotey, P., Campbell, C and Arhinful, D.K. (2010). Tackling Africa's Chronic Disease Burden: from the local to the global (Editorial). Globalization and Health, 6:5.
de-Graft Aikins, A, Boynton, P. and Atanga, L.L. (2010) Developing Effective Chronic Disease Prevention in Africa: insights from Ghana and Cameroon. Globalization and Health, 6:6.
Agyei-Mensah, S. and de-Graft Aikins, A. (2010). Epidemiological transition and the double burden of disease in Accra, Ghana. Journal of Urban Health, 87 (5), 879-897.
Allotey P, Reidpath DD. Yasin, S, Chan C, de-Graft Aikins A. (2010) Rethinking Health Systems: a focus on chronicity. Lancet. (Published Online, November 11, 2010. DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61856-9)
Agyemang, C., Addo, J., Bhopal, R., de-Graft Aikins, A., and Stronks, K. (2009). Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and established risks factors among populations of sub-Saharan African descent in Europe: a literature review. Globalization and Health, 5: 7.
de-Graft Aikins, A and Marks, D.F. (Eds) (2007). Special Issue: Health, disease and healthcare in Africa. Journal of Health Psychology, 12(3).
de-Graft Aikins, A. & Ofori-Atta, A. (2007) Homelessness and mental health in Ghana: everyday experiences of Accra's migrant squatters. Journal of Health Psychology, 12(5), 761-778.
de-Graft Aikins, A. (2006) Reframing applied disease stigma research: a multilevel analysis of diabetes stigma in Ghana. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 16(6), 426-441.
de-Graft Aikins, A. (2005). Healer-shopping in Africa: new evidence from a rural-urban qualitative study of Ghanaian diabetes experiences. British Medical Journal, 331, 737.