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24 November 2011

Humanities research the focus of new head of HSRC programme

Kim Trollip
Press Release

Professor Arvin Bhana has been appointed as executive director of the Human and Social Development (HSD) research programme at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). He holds a PhD in Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in the United States, is a registered clinical psychologist and an adjunct associate professor in the School of Psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Bhana, who joined the HSRC in 2002, was the deputy executive director of HSD. He is a member of a number of South African and international professional organisations, and serves as editor and reviewer of various scholarly journals, including the international advisory board for Critical Public Health. He is affiliated to the Centre for Public Mental Health Research and Training, an associate member of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Unit (ADARU) at the MRC, and chair of the scientific committee for the Clinical Psychology Division of the International Psychology Congress (2012). He also serves the Professional Board for Psychology of the Health Professions Council of South Africa and is a member of the Global Advisory Group on HIV and Sex Education (UNESCO).
Prof. Bhana’s publication record spans the authoring and co-authoring of more than 60 conference presentations, two books, chapters in books, and over 50 journal articles. His recent publications focus on alcohol and drug abuse trends, the role of gender in risk-taking behaviour, family protective factors in reducing risk for children and youth,  and mental health policy issues in developing countries. Most recently he was part of consortium that won one of three National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants on mental health targeting Africa, Asia and South America as well as the largest international UK Department for International Development (DFiD) grant for mental health.
On his vision for the HSD research programme, Bhana said HSD is a nascent developing programme with a strong focus on both social sciences and humanities research.  “The multi-disciplinary focus that is at the heart of the humanities has a good fit to HSD given that we a team with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and interests. Our strategy will be to advance ways in which scientific knowledge can translate into working knowledge – knowledge that people can actually use to improve their lives and that can contribute to building a knowledge economy”.
The CEO of the HSRC, Dr Olive Shisana, welcomed the appointment of Prof Bhana and said that through his astute leadership the critical work of the Human Social Development research programme at the HSRC is vital in responding to social changes within South Africa.
For more information contact: Ms Ina van der Linde on 0823310614