Meet our Doctoral Researchers
Aishat Abdu is a PhD Candidate at the School of Human Nutrition, McGill University under the supervision of Prof. Grace Marquis and her doctoral committee members Prof. Richmond Aryeetey (University of Ghana) and Prof. Franque Grimard (McGill University). Her doctoral research aims to explore and understand measures of empowerment among rural women farmers and its linkage to their nutritional status in three-districts of the Eastern region of Ghana. Her results are aimed to inform the development of a locally tailored instrument for measuring women’s empowerment in the district. Aishat completed her Bachelor’s in Dietetics at Ahfad University for Women (Sudan) and holds a Master’s in Human Nutrition from McGill University. Over the years, Aishat has built her experience working within rural communities on issues related to health and nutrition of children, adolescent girls and women.
As a QEScholar, Aishat is collaborating with her Research Placement Partner (RPP), Grameen Foundation, a global non-profit organization dedicated to enabling the poor, especially women, to create a world without poverty and hunger. Aishat will expand her research skills in quantitative and qualitative data analysis as well as build her knowledge on the pro-WEAI tool, women’s empowerment and gender within the Ghana context through examining data from smallholder cocoa farmers in the Brong Ahafo region in Ghana. Aishat hopes to use this opportunity to connect and build networks with people working in the field of gender and women’s empowerment both locally and internationally for her future works.
Afua Atuobi-Yeboah is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon under the supervision of Prof. Richmond Aryeetey, and her doctoral committee members Prof. Richard Adanu and Dr. Gloria Folson. Her doctoral research aims to explore and understand what the drivers of improved change in maternal anaemia are in the Eastern region of Ghana between 2008 and 2018 to inform nutrition policy and programming. Afua has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science and a Master of Philosophy in Nutrition from the University of Ghana. She also holds a certificate in Monitoring and Evaluation from Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
She is a Fellow of the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and an alumnus of the African Nutrition Leadership Programme (ANLP), North-West University and African Doctoral Academy (ADA), Stellenbosch University. Her research work has focused on nutrition-sensitive and specific interventions aimed at improving nutrition, health and overall livelihoods of rural women and their households particularly children and adolescents in Ghana. She has experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methods including study designs, surveys, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, and net-map. As a QEScholar, Afua is collaborating with her Research Placement Partner, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to expand her research skills in mixed methods, and social network analysis. Afua will enhance her leadership and professional research capacity, whiles broadening her network to understand the diversity and connection between nutrition and agriculture.
Priscilla Boadi is a first-year Ph.D. researcher in the School of Human Nutrition at McGill under the mentorship of Dr. Grace Marquis. Priscilla was born and raised in the southern part of Ghana. She discovered her passion for women’s empowerment, poverty alleviation, and other food security related issues as she encountered poverty in the farming community in which she grew up. Priscilla obtained her Bachelor’s degree at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana) and her Master’s degree as a MasterCard Foundation (MCF) Scholar at the University of British Columbia (UBC). While at UBC, she had the opportunity to explore the field of food security while interning with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome, Italy as well as when volunteering with the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada.
As part of her QES project, Priscilla will be exploring ways of integrating the concept of food self-reliance into training models for effective entrepreneurial development among adolescent girls and women in the Upper Manya Krobo District of Ghana. As a QEScholar, she aims to combine knowledge, skills, and experience to build a career in pursuit of transforming the lives of women and youth found in rural communities globally in addition to transforming their food systems. Priscilla believes that there is much potential in women and the youth to change our food systems (and the world as a whole) and through the QES LINkIN-Ghana Program, she is set to unlock that potential.
Loloah Chamoun a second-year Ph.D. researcher in the School of Human Nutrition at McGill under the supervision of Dr. Hugo Melgar-Quinonez. Her doctoral research aims to assess the feasibility of an akokono (palm weevil larvae) fortification of an existing ready-to-eat cereal-legume mix, and its potential effectiveness on treating iron-deficiency anemia in women of reproductive age in Ghana. Loloah holds a Bachelor of Science with distinction in Food Chemistry from McGill University as well as a Master’s of Science in Public and Environmental Health, with a specialization in Toxicology and Risk Analysis, from Université de Montréal. Loloah led a team from McGill, which earned first place at the “Developing Solutions for Developing Countries” competition in Chicago in 2015. Her team developed an instant hummus mix that incorporated insects aimed to be used under emergency circumstances.
As a QEScholar, Loloah hopes to collaborate with a local industry or non-profit organization that will be her Research Placement Partner to help them examine communities’ practices and beliefs related to insect consumption and the possibility of implementing a test intervention in communities. Moreover, Loloah looks forward to working in partnership with the local Research Placement Partner in training local women farmers in Ghana to farm akokono as a means of earning stable year-long incomes.
Emmanuella Ellis is a second-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Bioresource Engineering at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Michael Ngadi. Her research focuses on understanding the food value chain, particularly common uses of beans, and determining value-added options for different consumer groups. Emmanuella obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics at University of Ghana and McGill University, respectively. Her master’s research focused on farmers’ willingness to pay for crop insurance. In 2018 she won the first place at the HEC Montréal Social Business Creation competition as part of the McGill start-up project “Kajou.”
As a QEScholar, she will be interning with her Research Placement Partner MotherFood (Montreal), an international organization focused on developing and distributing nutrient-rich foods necessary to meet daily nutritional needs. She will be working on developing new products from beans and developing partnerships with Ghanaian food manufacturers. As a QEScholar, she hopes to build her leadership, research, and interpersonal skills, which will be extremely useful for future work in the food and agricultural sector.
Mona Ghadirian is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Human Nutrition at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Grace Marquis and the support of her doctoral committee members, Dr. Neil Andersson (McGill University) and Dr. Naa Dodua Dodoo (University of Ghana). Her doctoral research aims to understand how community-led video nutrition education plays a role in influencing nutrition literacy among adolescent girls in the Upper Manya Krobo District, Ghana. Mona has a Bachelor of Arts and Science in International Development and Biomedical Science from McGill University and a Master's of Public Health from the University of Waterloo. She has worked with the Junior Youth Empowerment Program for over eleven years and has developed a passion for community-based nutrition education among adolescents.
As a QEScholar, Mona collaborated with her Research Placement Partner, World Vision Ghana, to help them evaluate their nutrition and health training activities in the Upper Manya Krobo district. Mona has used the QEScholar opportunity to expand her communication and research skills through workshops at McGill. The Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (FAES) supported her field visit to Lucknow, India to learn about the implementation of a community-led video education model for health promotion among rural women and youth that was coordinated by the non-governmental organization, PATH. She was also supported by FAES to participate in a unique community-led video education training in the United Kingdom. With all of this training in hand, Mona started collecting the baseline data for her doctoral project in Ghana in December 2018.
Faustina is a young researcher who holds a MSc. in Applied Health Social Science and an undergraduate degree in Psychology with Philosophy and Classics. She obtained both degrees from the University of Ghana. She is currently a doctoral student at the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research, aspiring to become a Development Expert. Faustina’s goal is to contribute to the development of nations through research, teaching as well as the promotion of good educational and healthcare practices. Faustina is a former recipient of the WHO International Postgraduate Scholarship in Implementation Research, where she received training and mentorship that has strengthened her competencies in utilizing research to enhance the implementation, adoption and utilization of interventions.
As a QEScholar, Faustina's key role is to conduct a process evaluation of the QES LINkIN-Ghana project. The outcome of the evaluation is to determine whether the LINkIN-Ghana program is meeting its objectives as well as inform the implementation of future QES-AS capacity building programs.
Sandra Boatemaa Kushitor has academic training in sociology, psychology, and a Ph.D. in population studies. In her research, she draws on theoretical and methodological perspectives from the social sciences to understand population health. Currently, her research focuses on three distinct, yet related areas of population health: population shifts (disease patterns and mortality, urbanization, dynamics of family change,); public health nutrition (nutrition-related non-communicable diseases, foodways, the nexus between food environment and health) and governance (food system governance, health system governance).
Her publications have focused on non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors, hypertension prevalence, treatment and control, health system response to NCDs, and food system governance in Ghana, Eswatini, and South Africa. Her work has influenced food system innovations in the Western Cape Province in South Africa through Transformation-labs and policy dialogues with public officials at the office of the Presidency and the office of the Premier of the Western Cape government. She is a project manager at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana, and a postdoctoral fellow at the Food Security Initiative, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
As a QES scholar, Sandra will collaborate with World Vision Ghana as her Research Placement Partner. World Vision Ghana is a Christian Relief Agency that empowers women, children, and communities to improve their health and livelihood outcomes. Sandra will contribute to a project that improves dietary practices among households by examining food beliefs, perceptions, and practices of husbands and how these influence household dietary practices. Her community engagement activities will form part of the LinkINg Up initiative based at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana. LinkINg Up is an initiative that supports women farmers in three districts in the Eastern Region of Ghana. She will analyze dietary practices of rural women (including meal frequency, types of food consumed, source of meals, and snacking behaviors) using a 3-day 24-hour recall, and the risk of overweight and obesity. Based on the findings of the analysis, she will design a dietary intervention consisting of dietary education, and ‘taste it sections’ to help the women plan their meals, control portion size, and address food beliefs that limit the adoption of healthy dietary practices.
Meet our Early Career Researchers
Dr. Eric Afful-Dadzie is an Information Systems Lecturer at the University of Ghana. He is the recipient of the 2017/2018 most promising researcher award at the University of Ghana Business School. As a social computing researcher, Eric uses several modern computational methodologies and tools to understand and solve social problems. He employs data analytics, preference modeling, and decision aiding methods in his research. Eric obtained his Doctoral and Master’s degrees in Informatics from Tomas Bata University and Czech University of Life Sciences, respectively. He has always had a passion for community-based programs especially those that empower underprivileged groups in society. Eric is interested in means to empower and equip women and adolescent with convenient and low-cost financial technologies.
His past research has examined preferences, aversions, and fears of rural women farmers in the area regarding FinTech products in Ghana. Eric is excited about being a QEScholar since this will afford him the opportunity to interact with his Research Placement Partner, World Vision Canada, and hone his research skills to contribute to improving the lives of the marginalized in society.
Hayford Mensah Ayerakwa
Dr. Hayford Mensah Ayerakwa holds a Master of Philosophy degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ghana, and a PhD in Social and Economic Geography from Lund University, Sweden. His PhD thesis analysed the interplay that exists between the various forms of agricultural engagements (own food production) by urban households in both urban and rural areas as well as rural-urban food linkages (food transfer receipts) and how they contributed to urban household food security in small and medium sized cities in Ghana. Currently, Hayford’s research interest has been how to use adult and distance learning methodologies to influence food pedagogies, nutritional outcomes, and livelihoods in both urban and rural settings.
Hayford currently works as a lecturer at the University of Ghana Leaning Centres, School of Continuing and Distance Education and doubles as the head of the Cape Coast Learning Centre of the University of Ghana. As a QE Scholar, Hayford aims at looking at the agricultural asset ownership and control rights among women in the context of Upper Manya Krobo District and how these rights (if any) translates into food and nutrition outcomes, and livelihoods in the Upper Manaya Krobo District. The QES is expected to broaden Hayford’s research experience and skills as well as provide him the opportunity for networking and future collaborations with other researchers.
Aaron Kobina Christian
Dr. Aaron Christian holds an MPhil in Nutrition (2007) and a Ph.D. in Population Studies (2016) both from the University of Ghana, Legon. His work has been focused on intervention projects targeted towards improving the health and nutrition outcomes of women and children. Aaron’s doctoral research examined how household vulnerability and climate variability influence food security and health outcomes. Currently, he is a Research Fellow in the Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. Additionally, he is working as a program manager for a pilot research project designed to develop, adapt, and test a set of interventions in the fisheries value chains in Ghana aimed at mitigating anemia among women.
The QES LINkIN-Ghana program will afford Aaron an invaluable opportunity to expand his research skills and collaborators. He is particularly interested in working with Research Placement Partners that work in the area of women’s empowerment to develop women empowerment scales that are sensitive to household health and nutrition outcomes in both agrarian and non-agrarian communities.
Naa Dodua Dodoo
Naa Dodua Dodoo is a lecturer at the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), University of Ghana where she also obtained both her M. Phil and PhD. degrees. Naa’s primary research focus is on understanding how African women conceptualize and understand their status and the social, economic and cultural institutions that contribute to the continually lower status of women compared to men in Africa, and indeed, in the rest of the world. She has more than a decade of experience conducting both qualitative and quantitative field research in different settings and among different population groups. She has also conducted research in the areas of general and reproductive health of women and adolescents and education and well-being of children. Essentially, she believes that the problems that are faced by vulnerable people can be alleviated by genuine, well conducted research, which informs policy and practitioners.
For her QES fellowship, she is investigating “Husbands’ role in the entrepreneurial success of rural women in Ghana,” in a bid to enhance our understanding of the strategies women entrepreneurs in rural areas employ to combine work and family life and the role of husbands in promoting successful entrepreneurship ventures by their wives. Further, together with study communities, the research will propose and test various community-focused strategies to promote husbands’ support for wives’ participation in business.
Thomas Anning Dorson
Dr. Thomas Anning Dorson is a lecturer at the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Ghana Business School. His research focuses on exploring how innovation activities of firms across emerging markets/developing economies (with a special emphasis on enterprises and small-to-medium entrepreneurs) influence their success, growth, and their general competitiveness. He also studies innovation for social impact and economic empowerment. Thomas has a Bachelor of Science in Administration, Master’s of Philosophy, and a Ph.D. from the University of Ghana. His Ph.D. focused on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Firm Performance in Emerging Markets. Before joining the University of Ghana Business School as a full-time faculty, Thomas worked in the hospitality sector for more than half a decade.
Thomas’ QES activities will focus on innovation for social, health, and economic development. As a QEScholar, Thomas aims to improve his research skills while being trained in the design and implementation of an integrated approach to improving the economic and nutritional well-being of women.
Dr. Duah Dwomoh holds BSc. Mathematics and Statistics (University of Cape Coast), MPhil in Mathematics (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology) and a Ph.D. in Public Health with specialization in Biostatistics. His Ph.D. was in the area of malaria risk prediction Model in the presence of missing values. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of D&D Statistical Consulting Services Limited and a lecturer with the University of Ghana, School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics. His area of specialization includes generalized linear models, sampling and complex survey design, quantitative techniques for impact evaluation of intervention/program/policy in the area of social and health sciences, financial risk and health outcomes using difference in differences, matching procedures, regression discontinuity and randomized designs), statistical prognostic/diagnostic modelling of diseases, financial risk evaluation and market trend analysis.
He has expertise in risk prediction models in the presence of missing values, mathematical modelling of infectious disease using deterministic and stochastic models based on systems of differential equations. He has also supervised undergraduate projects and postgraduate thesis in Public Health, Health Informatics, and Biostatistics. Has served as a consultant to a number of local and foreign organizations. As part of the general QES activities, Dr. Dwomoh will study factors influencing access to productive financial resources, participation in agriculture and nutrition of women living in rural Ghana using data from complex surveys between 2000-2020.
Emmanuel Awuni Kolog
Dr. Emmanuel is a Faculty member at the Department of Operations and Management Information Systems (OMIS) of the University of Ghana Business School. Previously, Emmanuel worked as a Post-doctoral research affiliate with the University of Eastern Finland. Emmanuel holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science with an interest in text-based affect detection and MSc in Software Engineering from the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). Additionally, Emmanuel holds a MBA degree in International Business Management from the Business School of Lapland University of Applied Sciences in Finland. Emmanuel’s Ph.D. research was multi-disciplinary research that intersected computing, psychology, and linguistics. He developed a text-based domain-specific corpus which was later leveraged for the affect detection. The corpus has since been made publicly available for research purposes.
Emmanuel’s research interest spans the areas of human language technologies (affect and sentiment detection), text mining, learner analytics and and information and communication technologies (ICT) for development. As a QEScholar, Emmanuel expects to improve his capacity in community-based research and develop his networking with other researchers. With the QES funding, the goal of his research is to use ICT to help women farmers in Upper Manya Krobo district to acquire knowledge on the best practices of agriculture and nutrition.
Matilda Essandoh Laar
Dr. Matilda Essandoh Laar, MPH, Ph.D. is a Lecturer at the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, School of Agriculture, University of Ghana. Her background is in Human Nutrition (McGill University, Canada) and Public Health (University of Minnesota, USA). Her research interests have focused on nutrition education in health systems, the development of monitoring and evaluation tools in the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Nexus, and the role of food environments in the food security of mothers and children in low-resource settings. Currently, her research seeks to understand the choice of food retail outfits in poor urban households in Ghana. As an early career researcher, the QES will offer her the opportunity to collaborate with experts in business and education to improve her competencies in agriculture-related entrepreneurship- an important aspect of the food environment and nutrition-sensitive food systems dialogue.
She believes that training adolescent girls (who are the next generation of mothers) with entrepreneurial skills and nutrition education through the school curriculum will empower them to engage in rewarding nutrition-sensitive enterprises that can contribute to shaping local food systems and transitioning diets, and promote food security for themselves, their households, and others in their communities.
Frances Baaba da-Costa Vroom
Dr. Frances Baaba da-Costa Vroom is a Lecturer with the Department of Biostatistics at the School of Public Health. Her research focusses on how mobile health (mHealth) can be leveraged for health care interventions. She is also interested in individuals’ technology acceptance in health care delivery. Baaba has a Masters in Health Informatics and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Ghana. Her Phd focussed on assessing the feasibility of mobile phones for reporting mass drug administration data for the Lymphatic Filariasis Control Programme in Ghana. Baaba is interested in leveraging mobile technology for health promotion. Her QES activities will focus on reaching rural women with health and nutrition information using mobile technology. Baaba seeks to enhance her research skills as a QES Scholar and develop her capacity in community engagement as well.
Dr. Rita Yeboah, is a Lecturer at the Department of Teacher Education, School of Education and Leadership, University of Ghana. Rita holds an MA and Ph.D. in Art Education both from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Her Ph.D. research focused on using recycled materials to design and develop interactive teaching and learning materials for learning Creative Art, Basic Design and Technology and General Knowledge in Art. Rita’s research focuses on instructional resources design and development from recycled materials, educational technologies (game-based learning and flipped classrooms), teacher education and professional development, education and sustainability.