May 15, 2018, by Emma Thorne
Major international award for Health Psychology alumna
As a mother-of-two and with a full-time job, Anitha Menon was not convinced that a PhD from an internationally-recognized institution was a dream she could achieve.
However, the flexibility of the UK education system allowed her the chance to work at her own pace, with constant academic support and to successfully complete her doctoral degree in Health Psychology at the University of Nottingham.
The qualification led to her becoming an Associate Professor in Health Psychology at the University of Zambia – the first female Professor of Psychology in Zambia – and winning a major international award from the British Council.
Professor Menon said: “Studying at The University of Notingham was a great experience due to the exposure it gave me. While at Nottingham, I had the chance to meet and interact with many British and international scholars. My PhD supervisor, Prof Cris Glazebrook was a true inspiration and great to work with. She was always there for me to turn to for both academic as well as professional advice.
“All the staff in the department as well as the international office were friendly, helpful and available. I also loved the campus grounds, especially the walks around the lake and daffodils during spring time. I consider myself fortunate to have studied at this University with such rich history and international reputation.”
Professor Menon was recently honoured with a Professional Achievement Award 2018 (for the Sub-Saharan Africa Region) from the British Council, which recognizes alumni whose work has created change in their chosen profession.
In addition to her teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Department of Psychology and School of Public Health, Professor Menon undertakes research into the issue of HIV and well-being of adolescents, sexual harassment and communication skills of health practitioners.
Her expertise led to her being appointed as chair of the university’s committee on HIV and AIDS, which coordinates all of its HIV-related activities and policies.
She has acted as team leader for various national and international research projects including the DFID-funded Development for Higher Education (DelPHE) partnership with the University of Nottingham, which led to a more relevant approach to the application of psychology in teaching and training of health practitioners.
Through her research projects and fundraising activities, she has brought in more than $6 million to the University of Zambia, which has been used to support research and service-related activities as well as capacity building of staff members and infrastructural development such as procurement of psychological tests and the establishment of a library, laboratory and classroom.
Professor Cris Glazebrook said: “I was thrilled to hear of Anitha’s well deserved award. She was a really excellent PhD student working in the extremely important field of mental health in HIV positive adolescents. Our collaboration has had a lasting impact for me, and I am sure for my lucky undergraduate medical students whose projects she helped to supervise during their field trips to Zambia.”