We are a small, Scottish-registered charity, run entirely by volunteers, both in Scotland and Malawi. It is managed by a Board of Trustees in co-ordination with a Management Committee and our primary funder is the Scottish government.
Dr Madeline Osborn, FRCPsych.
Retired General Adult Psychiatrist, Edinburgh, Scotland
Madeline trained in psychotherapy and general psychiatry in Scotland and England and has developed mental health services in both rural and deprived inner-city areas of the UK. Her recent work has been with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland and the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland. She became involved with SMMHEP in 2011, since when she's developed a firm commitment to Malawi’s mental health services.
Dr Donncha Mullin
Donncha trained first as a Physiotherapist in Glasgow and worked for a short spell in Zambia before returning to Glasgow to study Medicine and then on to Edinburgh where he completed his Core Psychiatry training in 2019. Donncha and his wife Shalini, a Paediatrician, volunteered in Malawi from September 2019 up until they had to come back to the UK due to COVID-19 in April 2020. Donncha was an assistant lecturer in Psychiatry at the College of Medicine, Blantyre, working under the Head of Department, Dr Kazione Kulisewa. He had a variety of roles while in Malawi including teaching Psychiatry to the undergraduate medical students, examining these students, performing clinical work, and updating the postgraduate Psychiatry curriculum. In June 2020, Donncha and Dr Rob Stewart were co-editors of the Malawi Quick Guide to Mental Health. He is now a clinical-academic Psychiatry SpR in NHS Lothian and is doing a PhD exploring the link between slow walking speed in mid-life and developing dementia in later life. Volunteering with SMMHEP was one of the best decisions of Donncha’s short career to date! The energy, enthusiasm and intelligence of the students at the College of Medicine was fantastic and the support offered by the other SMMHEP trustees during the period of volunteering was top notch.
Dr Carol Robertson,
General Adult Psychiatrist in Aberdeen, Scotland
Involved with SMMHEP since 2008, Carol has been lucky enough to travel to Malawi many times to teach the undergraduates, She has also been part of the ECT training at times. Prior to becoming Secretary, she was the volunteer co-coordinator for SMMHEP. Her experience with the organization has widened her horizons both professionally and personally. She never fails to learn from hertrips to Malawi - from the students as well as the patients. Contact with staff at Zomba and The College of Medicine has also significantly added to her enjoyment of her time in "The warm heart of Africa". Volunteering can however have its challenges - and indeed would not be such a valuable experience if it did not. She would highly recommend to any colleagues the "Malawi Experience".
Douglas Blackwood. FRCP, FRCPsych, FRSE
Emeritus Professor of Psychiatric Genetics, University of Edinburgh, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Scotland.
Douglas trained at the Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry, London and was appointed Senior Lecturer in the Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh in 1982, then professor of Psychiatric Genetics in 1998.
He is am a key member of the Edinburgh psychiatric genetics group which established a Tissue Bank of DNA samples from over 7000 patients and relatives and contributed to large scale, genome-wide association and sequencing studies carried out by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortia (PGC) and the Wellcome Trust UK10K project. In family studies the Edinburgh group also identified several genes, including DISC1, implicated in psychiatric illness.
A trustee of SMMHEP since it was established as a charity in 2008 and a member of the management group, Douglas has made several visits to the College of Medicine to teach on the MB BS course. He helped set up the MMed (Psychiatry) curriculum in 2010 and has attended each of the annual Malawi Mental Health Conferences since their inception in 2010.
Honorary Treasurer and Accounts Manager
Mr Iain Macleod
Iain has been retired for 12 years and became involved with SMMHEP as he wished to continue doing something he felt was worthwhile. His career has been entirely related to finance and administration, including posts at British Linen Bank, as Group Secretary of Barratt Development plc, and with Montagu Evans. Iain was instrumental in converting the Charity to its current SCIO status, a requirement set by Scottish Government to enable it to continue with its grant funding.
Dr Sarah Leslie, retired Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Sarah trained in Glasgow then worked as a CAMHS consultant, latterly as Lead Clinician, in the Scottish Borders where she brought up her family. Since retiring she has volunteered twice with SMMHEP in Malawi. Teaching the medical students there has been an exhilarating and inspiring experience and it renewed her interest in general psychiatry and in teaching. I wish I had done it earlier in my career! Sarah has been the volunteer organiser and a SMMHEP trustee since 2018.
Dr David Crossley
David spent a year as a secondary school teacher in Western Kenya before his first degree in Theology at Cambridge but then went onto train in Medicine at Manchester and qualified as a GP before a seven month stint as a Government Medical Officer in Zimbabwe. He then returned to the UK to train in psychiatry with specialist training in Old Age Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. He's kept up links with Zimbabwean mental health and got involved with SMMHEP after moving to work in Glasgow where he's been the Clinical Lead for Psychotherapy.
Social Media and website
Dr Lindsay Mizen, Consultant Intellectual Disabilities Psychiatrist and Senior Clinical Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
Lindsay completed her medical degree and an intercalated degree in psychological medicine at the University of Glasgow before moving to Edinburgh for psychiatry training. She took time out of training to do a neuroscience PhD and is now a Consultant in the Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability in Lothian and a Senior Clinical Researcher at the University of Edinburgh. She first heard about SMMHEP from a colleague in 2011 and couldn’t wait until she was able to join the project! It didn’t disappoint and although she’s only been out to Malawi once so far, she loved it and became a trustee a few months later in 2018. Lindsay found the opportunity to focus solely on teaching whilst in Malawi, without balancing it with clinical and research work, invigorating. The students were so enthusiastic and it was a pleasure to spend time with them sharing cultural experiences, not just medical knowledge.
Dr Robert C. Stewart
Rob is a psychiatrist with a special interest in mental illness affecting women during pregnancy and the postnatal period. He is a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Global Mental Health at the University of Edinburgh. He has been involved in mental health research and capacity development in Malawi since 2005, including two periods full-time in the Department of Mental Health, College of Medicine (2008-12 and 2018-2019). He is a founding trustee of SMMHEP and is also a founding member and interim convener of African Alliance for Maternal Mental Health (AAMMH).
Dr Jen Ahrens
Jen graduated from Glasgow Medical School in 1999 and started training in Psychiatry in the West of Scotland in 2004, with a short spell in London, before returning to Glasgow for higher training, completing her CCT in 2011. She first went to Malawi for 3 months as a registrar in 2009 to undertake the teaching rotation for the 4th year medical students. She found the experience of teaching the students and meeting the patients in Zomba Mental Hospital so rewarding that she applied for a post at the College of Medicine in 2011, initially appointed as Lecturer and then taking on the role as Head of Department in 2012. She was there until 2015 during which time, with funding from a Scotland Malawi Development Grant, she and SMMHEP continued developing the undergraduate teaching, commenced the MMed post-graduate programme in Psychiatry between the College of Medicine and the University of Cape Town with SMMHEP’s first three registrars, held an annual Mental Health Research and Practice Development Conference amongst many other projects. She was project lead, together with Dr Sheila Gilfillan, for the Mental Health in Primary Care District Project, adapting the MHGap for use in Malawi and delivering training to 500 health care workers in 5 districts in Southern Malawi. On return to the UK, She took up a consultant post in an Early Intervention in Psychosis Service in East London, but remain committed to the development of SMMHEP, on the management committee and as a Trustee.
Dr Sheila Gilfillan
Sheila became a consultant psychiatrist in 1993 and has worked in general adult and rehabilitation psychiatry ever since. She became involved with SMMHEP after returning to the UK after a two year career break in the USA. In 2012 she went out to teach the medical students for six weeks and this sparked a new interest in Global Mental Health. Sheila was appointed a Visiting Lecturer at the College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi in 2013 and worked as one of the project leads on a three year grant awarded to SMMHEP which delivered training to 500 primary health care workers in five districts in Malawi.
Dr Jennifer Mutch
Higher Trainee, Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability, South East Scotland
After completing her initial postgraduate training in the north east of England Jen worked as a psychiatry trainee in Sydney, Australia before locum posts in neurology and general medicine back in the UK. She completed core training in psychiatry on The Maudsley Training Programme and has since taken up posts in intellectual disability psychiatry. She has a postgraduate diploma in Global Health, Non-communicable Diseases, and is currently studying for a Masters in Public Health.
Jen enjoyed two trips to Malawi in 2019 and has been a trustee of SMMHEP since 2020. She would strongly encourage higher trainees to consider volunteering with SMMHEP; it’s a fantastic opportunity to develop your teaching skills in a highly stimulating and rewarding setting.
Dr Anita Ganai
Anita works in Elderly Mental Health in the West of Scotland. She first volunteered for SMMHEP in 2016 and having found this such a rewarding experience, she returned to Malawi in 2019. She was delighted to be made a Trustee in 2020.
Associate Professor Chiwoza Bandawe, Clinical Psychologist in the College of Medicine in Blantyre