AAU confers professorship on Dr. Atalay Alem

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Addis Ababa University (AAU) has conferred professorship on the second psychiatrist in the institution’s history. Atalay Alem (Ph.D.) is a noted scholar and researcher in the field of psychiatry at the university.  The first professorship was given to another veteran psychiatrist Mesfin Araya (Ph.D.), who, according to records, made great contribution to the first Psychiatric Hospital in Ethiopia, Amannuel, and a well-known professional in medical faculty. The board’s decision was in due consideration of the contributions of Prof. Atalay to the field both in teaching and research, said the press release sent to The Reporter.

Prof. Atalay Alem qualified in medicine in 1983 form Addis Ababa University, Faculty of Medicine. He worked as a junior medical officer and medical director of Adigrat District Hospital following his qualification as a medical doctor. After one year of experience with general medicine, he joined Amanuel Hospital, the only psychiatric hospital in the country where he gained good knowledge and on- the-job training for three years. After that, he got his training in clinical psychiatry at Victoria University of Manchester through an overseas scheme where he obtained diploma in psychiatry in 1989. In 1997 he obtained his Ph.D. from Umea University in Sweden. Professor Atalay also worked for the Ministry of Health as a psychiatrist for a number of years and as a medical director of Amanuel Mental Hospital for six years before he joined Addis Ababa University as an Assistant Professor in 2000. Currently, he is a consultant psychiatrist at Amanuel Hospital in addition to his academic position at Addis Ababa University.

On the other hand, he is also one of the leading researchers in the country in the field of mental health. His main focus of research for the last 18 years has been epidemiology of mental disorders in rural, urban, semi-nomadic and isolated islander communities, childhood disorders and child labor. He has been a principal and co-investigator of the Butajira Mental Health Project which is following cohorts of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder since 1998 to describe the course and outcome of these disorders. Cases for the cohorts were identified by screening over 68,000 adults from a predominantly rural population and it is one of the largest community surveys in the world for major mental disorders. He has attracted over one million USD research grant from different international donors and has been instrumental for 10 completed Ph.D.s in mental health by sponsoring and co-supervising.

Source: Ethiopian Reporter