Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Professor Ama de-Graft Aikins

Ama de-Graft Aikins is Professor of Social Psychology and Dean of International Programmes at the University of Ghana (UG). She received her PhD in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Cambridge. Her research and publications focus on experiences and representations of chronic physical and mental illnesses, Africa's chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) burden and the social psychology of knowledge in African settings. She has led, and participated in, interdisciplinary NCD research projects with colleagues from UG, University of Amsterdam, New York University (NYU), LSE, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Monash University, Malaysia.

Ama de-Graft Aikins has supervised graduate theses in Social Psychology, Social Policy, Public Health and Population Studies at UG, LSE, LSHTM, NYU and the University of Sussex. She has contributed to the development of training models for early career researchers in the social sciences and humanities in Africa through her association with the British Academy (BA), the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the African Studies Association, UK (ASAUK) and the LSE African Initiative. She is a senior visiting fellow at the LSE and a fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Project at the IAS

Professor de-Graft Aikins intends to spend her fellowship at the IAS completing a book project that has been accepted for publication by the International African Library (IAL). Titled Sugar Disease, Bitter Medicine: Living with Diabetes in Ghana, the book focuses on a longitudinal social psychological study of diabetes experiences in Ga Mashie, a poor community in Accra, and will draw on mixed method data gathered from over 500 community members over six years. She will blend the social psychological data with a social history of Ga Mashie, the medical history of diabetes, the political economy of medical pluralism and NCD policy, and the role of the mass media in shaping social representations of NCDs in Ghana. The book aims to fill a disciplinary and policy gap in public and community health in Africa by offering a critical social psychological study of an under-researched public health crisis in an urban poor community that faces complex developmental challenges.