Dr. Byansi joined the School of Social Work in 2022 after completing his NIH-funded postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis. His research program focuses on developing, adapting, and testing interventions focused on child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing, particularly for those living in low-resource settings. He examines structural barriers that contribute to and sustain health disparities that impede young people from accessing and using mental health services.
His most recent work explored the effect of combination interventions on depressive symptoms and mental health services engagement among school-going adolescent girls in southern Uganda—a low-resource country in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The findings highlighted how combination interventions (e.g. economic empowerment and mental health interventions) might enhance adolescents’ access to, and engagement with, community-based mental health interventions. These findings are valuable for many adolescents living in low-resource settings and will inform the development of combination interventions that enhance mental health service engagement among female adolescents in particular and adolescents in general in low-resource settings, both in Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States in areas with limited access to mental health services.
Dr. Byansi has engaged in several studies focused on HIV risk reduction, adherence to HIV, medication, economic empowerment, and child and adolescent mental health. In the past decade, Dr. Byansi has engaged in several children and adolescent-focused NIH-funded longitudinal studies in Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, and the United States. His collaborative research thus far has impacted service organizations, policymakers, and community stakeholders by advancing the understanding of the link between individuals, families, and communities to their external environments.
With funding from the Fogarty International Center at the National Institute of Health (NIH), Dr. Byansi is currently examining the impact of COVID-19 and its related control measures on the mental health and wellbeing of young adults (18-24 years) as well as access to and use of HIV medication in rural Uganda. This is vital because many low-resource settings like Uganda have been proportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic leading to tremendous disruptions in the normal life of young people.
Dr. Byansi received a PhD in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, a Master of Social Work degree from New York University Silver School of Social Work, and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Makerere University in Uganda.
Byansi, W., Galvin, M., Chiwaye, L., Luvuno, Z., Kim, A.W., Sundararajan, R., Tsai, A.C., & Moolla, A. (2023). Adverse childhood experiences, traumatic events, and mental health among adults at two outpatient psychiatric facilities in Johannesburg, South Africa: a crosssectional analysis. BMC Psychiatry 23, 581. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-023-05085-0
Byansi, W., Sensoy Bahar, O., Mary, M.M., Neilands TB & Ssewamala, F. (2022) The short-term impact of multiple family group and family economic empowerment on depressive symptoms of adolescent girls in Uganda. The Suubi4Her cluster randomized experiment. Journal of Adolescent Health. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.04.008
Motley Jr, R. O., Byansi, W., Siddiqi, R., Bills, K. L., & Salas-Wright, C. P. (2022). Perceived Racism based Police Use of Force and Cannabis Use among Black Emerging Adults. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 100430. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2022.100430
Byansi, W., Nabunya, P., Muwanga, J., Mwebembezi, A., Damulira, C., Mukasa, B., ... & Ssewamala, F. M. (2021). The relationship between life satisfaction, personal health, quality of life, and medication adherence among adolescents living with HIV in southwestern Uganda. Journal of Public Health, 1-8.
Cavazos-Rehg P, Byansi W., Doroshenko C, Neilands T, Anako N, Sensoy Bahar. O, Kasson E, Nabunya P, Mellins CA, Ssewamala FM (2021). Evaluating potential mediators for the impact of a family-based economic intervention (Suubi+Adherence) on the mental health of children and adolescents living with HIV in Uganda. Social Science and Medicine, 113946.
Byansi, W., Brathwaite, R., Calvert, M., Nabunya, P., Sensoy Bahar, O., Damulira, C., ... & Ssewamala, F. M. (2021). Relationship between mental health and HIV transmission knowledge and prevention attitudes among adolescents living with HIV: Lessons from Suubi+ Adherence Cluster Randomized Study in Southern Uganda. AIDS and Behavior, 1-13.
Okumu, M., Nyoni, T., & Byansi, W. (2021). Alleviating psychological distress and promoting mental wellbeing among adolescents living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, during and after COVID-19. Global Public Health, 1-10.
Child Mental Health in HIV-impacted Low-Resource Settings in Developing Countries: Global Research Fellowship. FIC 3D43TW011541-02S1 ($76,000)
This supplement examines the Impact of COVID-19 on the mental health functioning of young adults (18-24 years) living with HIV in Uganda. Role: Supplement PI
March 2019: Researcher Resiliency Training Program Fellowship, National Institute of Mental Health (R25MH118935; $3,000) Principal Investigators: Mary McKay PhD, Sean Joe, PhD, Fred Ssewamala, PhD.
National Institute of Mental Health Pre-Doctoral Fellow (#R25MH118935). Research Resilience Training Program in mental health in low resource settings, Washington University in St. Louis 2019-2020
Silver Fellow, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research New York University 2015-2017
Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)
December 2015 to present