Lecturer in the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Department of Psychology at the College of Health Sciences at the University of Ghana
Richard Appiah has lectured at the College of Health Sciences of the University of Ghana since March 2015. Prior to joining the University of Ghana, he worked as the lead implementer (mental health arm) on the Escaping Poverty (EP) project, collaborating with the Innovations for Poverty Action and Heifer Ghana, where he developed mental health and strengths-based intervention modules and led the implementation of the EP and related projects in 165 rural poor communities across four regions of Ghana. He also practised as a clinical psychologist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for two years. Richard obtained his BSc. in Nursing and M.Phil. in Clinical Psychology degrees from the University of Ghana, and a Ph.D. in Health Sciences with Positive Psychology from the Africa Unit for Transdisciplinary Health Research, North-West University, South Africa, in May 2020. His doctoral research project translated and validated the Twi versions of six selected mental health and well-being measures, and developed and evaluated a 10-session, two-hourly, once-weekly group-based multicomponent positive psychology intervention program (the Inspired Life Program), designed to promote mental health, build resilience, and increase vocational productivity in rural poor adults in Ghana.
When conducting research with populations from highly collectivistic, low literate, and socioeconomically disadvantaged settings in sub-Saharan Africa, researchers, often unintentionally, apply the universal ethical guidelines (UEGs; e.g., the informed consent [IC]) to the local context without much consideration of the distinct sociocultural norms and practices of the people. Largely, the Western individual-based and autonomy-oriented IC model conflicts with the African/Ghanaian collectivistic social orientation. Richard’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Center for African Studies will focus on developing a diversified, context-appropriate IC framework that takes into account both the UEGs and the local standards and values of the rural, highly collectivistic, and low literate Ghanaian population, using a multistakeholder approach. Such an effort could prevent ethics dumping and safeguard the integrity of the research process.