Ghana Platform

The University of Michigan has a vibrant, long-standing relationship with many institutions in Ghana, including the University of Ghana and its affiliated Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and its affiliated Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, the University of Cape Coast, the University of Development Studies, the Ghana Health Service and the Ghanaian Ministry of Health. These relationships date back to the 1980s, when Dr. Timothy Johnson, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at UMMS, partnered with Ghanaian colleagues to develop an in-country post-graduate training program for Obstetrician/Gynecologists that is still going strong today. To date, 140 of the 142 graduates of the program still practice or hold leadership positions in Ghana.

The doors opened by Dr. Johnson have led to the development and ongoing growth of a Ghana-Michigan Platform of Engagement. The Ghana-Michigan Platform is hallmarked by a variety of activities that span departments, disciplines, institutions, and even philosophical approaches to addressing global health challenges and tackling health disparities. 

Primary Ghanaian Partners
GHS: Ghana Health Service
KATH: Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, affiliated with KNUST (Kumasi) KBTH: Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, affiliated with UG (Accra)
KNUST: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi)
MOH: Ministry of Health
NMIMR: Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (Legon)
NHRC: Navrongo Health Research Center (Navrongo)
UCC: University of Cape Coast (Cape Coast)
UDS: University of Development Studies (Tamale)
UG: University of Ghana (Accra)

View list of Global REACH Faculty Associates collaborating in Ghana here.

UMMS Receives New USAID Grant: Preventing Maternal and Neonatal Mortality in Rural Northern Ghana

Cheryl Moyer, PhD, MPH, lead UMMS investigator

The University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) has been partnering with a number of institutions in Ghana since the 1980s, developing a portfolio of research and training activities that encompass emergency medicine, family planning, sickle cell anemia, physical medicine and rehabilitation, triple negative breast cancer, maternal and infant mortality, and maternal and neonatal care.

A new $1.44M award from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will help add to that collaborative body of work, funding the examination of social, cultural and behavioral factors influencing maternal and neonatal mortality in three regions of northern Ghana. Led by UMMS faculty Dr. Cheryl A. Moyer, Assistant Professor of Learning Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Senior Research Specialist Mira Gupta, Global REACH, the three-year project will partner with the Navrongo Health Research Center to take a comprehensive approach to addressing the determinants of maternal and neonatal mortality. 

Read more from the University of Michigan Health Systems Headlines here.

Research Training Programs

Northern/Pacific Global Health Research Fellows Training Consortium (NPGHRFTC)

2012 Fogarty Fellow, Nauzley Abedini (left), with co-worker in the pediatric unit, Suntresu Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana
  • The Northern/Pacific Universities Global Health Research Training Consortium is a partnership between the Universities of Washington, Hawaii, Michigan and Minnesota.  The Consortium is one of several across the United States that hosts the Global Health Fellowship Program, which is sponsored by the Fogarty International Center and several other institutes and offices of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Global Health Fellowship Program replaces the Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars and Fellows Program in offering 11-month clinical research training for post-doctorate trainees and doctoral students in the health professions. This five-year grant supports the research training of postdoctoral fellows from the health science fields and involves more that 20 US universities as well as educational institutions in China, Ghana, Kenya, Peru, Thailand, and Uganda.
  • Joseph Kolars, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives at the U-M Medical School, serves as the Principal Investigator for U-M and will lead the education metrics portion for the Consortium.
  • UMMS made four inaugural awards in Summer 2012, one each to a US scholar and a US fellow, and two international fellows. (Read more here.) 

  • Fellows Related to Ghana 

    Ms. Nauzley Abedini (2012-2013), a 4th year UMMS student, was one of the first recipients of the new NPGHRFTC awards. Her work focused on maternal and child health at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. She was mentored by Dr. Cheryl Moyer, managing director of Global REACH, and Dr. Pamela Martey, head of the NICU at Suntresu Hospital in Kumasi.

    Also awarded in the 2012-2013 round of funding was Dr. Constance Opoku, the only Family Physician in the Tamale Teaching Hospital in Ghana. Dr. Opoku used her award to receive additional women’s and family medicine training under the mentorship of Dr. Katy Gold, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan, and Kathryn Spangenberg, Director of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Polyclinic.

    Dr. Rockefeller Oteng (2013-2014) was awarded an 11-month fellowship at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). Dr. Oteng, who is an instructor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UMMS, spent 2013-2014 working on a project to explore the impact of the introduction of Emergency Medicine as a specialty at KATH on patient outcomes.  In May 2014, Dr. Oteng, MD was awarded the Global Emergency Medicine Academy Globalization and Advancement Award at the national meeting of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine.  Read more here.

    UMMS student, Andrew Gardner (2014-2015), began his NPGHRFTC project in July 2014.  Mr. Gardner is looking at the prevalence of alcohol use with trauma in an Emergency Department (ED) setting in Ghana. He is working with the Ghana-Michigan Emergency Medicine Collaborative, which is comprised of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, Ghana Ministry of Health, and the University of Michigan Department of Emergency Medicine and School of Nursing. Read more here.

UMMS Contact

Cheryl Moyer, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Learning Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Managing Director, Global REACH, UMMS


PARTNER I Fellows enjoy a dinner party at the home of Co-I, Dr. Cheryl Moyer

Ghana-Michigan Postdoctoral and Research Trainee NEtwoRk: Investing in Innovation (PARTNER II)

  • PARTNER II is a five-year (Aug 2012-July 2017) grant funded by the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health.  The program is co-Directed by Dr. Thomas Robins (School of Public Health) and Dr. Cheryl Moyer (UMMS). The overall objective is the strengthening of interdisciplinary research capacity in Ghana and at the University of Michigan to address global health challenges in low- and middle-income countries.  A key strategy to accomplish this goal is the annual selection of 3 one-year post-doctoral fellows to form an interdisciplinary team focused on specific area of concern.  The teams consist of 2 post-docs from Ghana and 1 post-doc from the US, together with senior scientist mentors at the University of Michigan (UM) and at institutions in Ghana. 

  • Ghanaian postdocs come from PARTNER institutions: the University of Ghana, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, and Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

  • Three fellows participated as part of the 2013-2014 PARTNER II fellowship program, which focused on Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH) Challenges in Ghana—specifically small-scale gold mining in Ghana. 

  • Six fellows were selected to work on one of two interdisciplinary teams in 2014-2015: maternal and neonatal health (MNH) research in Ghana, or global health technology research and design (GHT). The fellows trained at the University of Michigan (UM) in Ann Arbor from August 2014 through February 2015, then returned to Ghana to work full time on their research from March 2015 through August 2015.

UMMS Contact

Cheryl Moyer, PhD, MPH
Co-I and Co-Project Director, PARTNER
Assistant Professor of Learning Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Managing Director, Global REACH, UMMS

Clinical Training Programs That Include Research Training

Ghana-UM Emergency Medicine Partnership

  • The Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is an NIH-funded program to enhance medical education in Africa. The 5-year MEPI program (2009–2014) has expanded the Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative clinical training program to include research capacity development and interdisciplinary training that includes emergency medicine nurses as well as physicians. MEPI is led by Principal Investigator, Professor Peter Donkor, former Pro Vice-Chancellor, KNUST. Dr. William Barsan, Professor and former Chair of UM’s Department of Emergency Medicine, serves as lead from UMMS.  To date, 11 residents have graduated as specialists, attained Ghana College of Physicians & Surgeons membership status, and have leadership positions; 19 residents are currently in training, and 10 residents have participated in emergency medicine rotations at UMMS and other international medical institutions. Thirty-seven nursing students (26 from KATH and 11 others from across the country) have been admitted into the 1-year Diploma in Emergency Nursing curriculum developed and approved by KNUST. 

  • Related work with the Taubman Health Sciences Library
    UM’s Taubman Health Sciences Library (THSL) was one of five grant recipients in the Elsevier Foundation’s 2013 Innovative Libraries program.  Gurpreet Rana, MLIS, THSL Global Health Coordinator, is the lead investigator. The project aims to create an integrated, evidence based information skills curricula to enable the Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative (GEMC) to strengthen education, research, and clinical care capacity of emergency care services in Ghana. It builds on the collaborative GEMC project, a partnership between KNUST, KATH, the MOH, and UM’s Department of Emergency Medicine and School of Nursing.

  • More information about the Ghana-UM emergency medicine partnership is available here.

UMMS Contact

Jamila Yakubu, MPH
MEPI Program Manager, UMMS

Initiatives in Otolaryngology

  • The Department of Otolaryngology is working with partners at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to help establish an otology program in Kumasi that will expand both training and clinical practice around chronic ear surgeries. Drs. Mark Prince, Jeff Moyer, and David Brown visited Ghana in October 2013 to meet with key leadership at KATH to identify priority areas for collaboration, and in May 2014 the department hosted Dr. Alex Oti Acheampong from KATH at their annual dissection course. 

UMMS Contact
Jeffrey Moyer, MD, FACS

Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, UMMS

Addressing Maternal Mortality

  • Dr. Frank Anderson, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is working with colleagues in Ghana on several initiatives aimed at reducing maternal mortality. These include studies of preeclampsia for the development of clinical, policy, and technological interventions to improve detection at the community level, the use of magnesium sulfate at rural and district levels, and the use of fetal assessments at the district and teaching hospital levels. In addition, Dr. Anderson has supervised students from the Minority and Health Disparities International Research Training Program (MHIRT) who have worked with the district medical officer in the Botsomtwe District of the Ashanti Region of Ghana to implement active surveillance of maternal mortality to replace the current system of voluntary reporting. 

UMMS Contact

Frank Anderson, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UMMS, Clinical Associate Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health

Adult and Pediatric Sickle Cell

  • Dr. Andrew Campbell (2nd from left) is shown with his students as they present their Sickle Cell Anemia research at Student Global Health Day.

    Andrew Campbell, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, has been working with colleagues at UG/KBTH Adult and Pediatric Sickle Cell Clinic for the past 6 years and Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital in Accra for the past year on projects related to determining the sickle cell disease phenotype within the Ghanaian population. Dr. Campbell’s collaborative efforts in Ghana have involved the participation of 14 students over the past 7 years, including 2 medical students and 2 MPH students. Dr. Cambell’s primary collaborators in Ghana include Dr. Onike Rodrigues, Dr. Fredericka Sey, Dr. Charles Antwi-Boasiako, and Dr. Eric Sifah 

UMMS Contact

Andrew Campbell, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, UMMS

Factors Affecting Motivation for Rural Practice Among Midwifery Students in Ghana

  • Dr. Jody Lori, Associate Professor of Nursing, and Dr. Sarah Rominski, Senior Research Associate at Global REACH, work with a team of investigators in Ghana to understand factors influencing third-year midwifery students’ willingness to work in rural areas. To date, students at 15 of the 16 public midwifery training schools have been surveyed. In total, more than 700 third-year midwifery students who are about to graduate and enter the workforce will be surveyed. The study, funded in part by a small grant from the African Social Research Initiative at the University of Michigan, will enable the Ghanaian MOH to create and test incentive packages for midwives and will provide a framework from which the preferences of other cadres of health workers can be assessed.

UMMS Contact

Sarah Rominski, PhD, MPH

Senior Research Associate, Global REACH, UMMS

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

  • A young boy at the Orthopedic Training Institute in Nsawam.  Most therapy devices are made by local people informally trained in their crafts.

    The International Rehabilitation Forum is a Michigan-based not-for-profit academic consortium that supports sustainable medical rehabilitation in low-resource countries.  For more than a decade, Ghana has been the key laboratory and platform for that work.  Advancements included: change in the WHO World Disability Report based on research at UM that showed essentially no available PM&R in sub-Saharan Africa, and development with University of Ghana of the Language Independent Functional Evaluation, a video-based functional assessment that bypasses language and literacy, now used on 4 continents. Compelled by this work, the president of Ghana recently announced the formation of a national rehabilitation center.  Dr. Andy Haig leads the global effort while Dr. Sean Smith coordinates efforts within Michigan.

UMMS Contact

Andrew Haig, MD

Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Medical Director, FGP Tele-Medicine Program, UMMS

Stigma, Adolescent Sexual Health, and Contraception

  • Kelli Stidham Hall, PhD, MS, Research Investigator in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Institute for Social Research, has been working with colleagues in Ghana to explore the role of stigma as a barrier to family planning among young women. Supported by funds from the University of Michigan Office of the Vice President for Research and the African Studies Center, Dr. Hall’s project aims to understand relationships between adolescent sexual reproductive health stigma and rates of modern contraception and family planning service use among a diverse community cohort of Ghanaian adolescents.

UMMS Contact
Kelli Stidham Hall, PhD
Research Investigator in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Institute for Social Research

Collaborative Faculty Research


Stillbirth and Early Neonatal Deaths in Northern Ghana (SANDS)

  • Grandmothers participating in Dr. Cheryl Moyer’s SANDS project in
    Navongo, Ghana
    Dr. Cheryl Moyer, Managing Director of Global REACH and Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Health Sciences, worked with partners in northern Ghana and the US to combine quantitative data from the Navrongo Demographic Surveillance Site and qualitative data from interviews with more than 250 community members and healthcare providers to explore the prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal periods in rural northern Ghana. The SANDS team – dubbed the Navrongo Maternal and Neonatal Health Consortium – has published nine manuscripts from the resulting data addressing such things as the predictors of stillbirth, early neonatal mortality, and neonatal mortality, as well as the social and cultural factors associated with care seeking, nutrition, and decision-making. 

UMMS Contact

Cheryl Moyer, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Learning Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Managing Director, Global REACH, UMMS

Access to Family Planning Services

  • Sarah Rominski, PhD, MPH, Senior Research Associate at Global REACH, is working with colleagues in Ghana to explore the issues surrounding access to abortion care. With a small grant from the African Studies Center, she is conducting qualitative interviews with women seeking comprehensive abortion care or care for post-abortion complications, as well as healthcare providers and community members in and around Kumasi. The goal is to investigate the reasons women choose to bypass the formal healthcare system and seek abortion services from untrained providers in unsafe locations, causing unnecessary death and disability. 

UMMS Contact

Sarah Rominski, PhD, MPH
Senior Research Associate, Global REACH, UMMS

Impact of Method Choice on Contraception Continuation in Ghana

  • Vanessa Dalton, MD, MPHAssociate Professor, Director, Program on Women's Health Care Effectiveness Research, along with UM colleagueSarah Rominski, PhD, MPH, Senior Research Associate at Global REACH, have received support from the UM Institute for Research on Women & Gender to conduct a small study to examine the value of method choice in contraception continuation. Despite the desire to limit and space births, consistent and continued use of modern contraception is low; and this may be dependent on how well services and products offered meet the needs of the clients.  Working with faculty at two hospitals in Ghana (Dr. Emmanuel SK Morhe at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, and Dr. Ernest Maya at the Ridge Hospital in Accra) the team hopes to interview 300 women as they leave family planning clinics to ascertain: 1) Ghanaian women's preferred method of family planning prior to counseling; 2) the congruence between stated preference and eventual method and change in method choice after counseling; and 3) associations between method of choice and continuation of method at 6-month and 1-year intervals.  300 women will be enrolled in the study. 

UMMS Contact

Sarah Rominski, PhD, MPH
Senior Research Associate, Global REACH, UMMS

Sexual and Reproductive Health in Cape Coast Ghana: Attitudes and Behaviors of University Students

  • Sarah Rominski, PhD, MPH, Senior Research Associate at Global REACH, is working with colleagues at the University of Ghana to survey students regarding their sexual behaviors and attitudes towards reproductive and sexual heath. Though early sexual experiences are not uncommon in Ghana (by age 20, 83% of women and 56% of men have had sex), reports on adolescent sexual behavior have noted a need for more information to explain the gap between awareness of sexual and reproductive health services and actual utilization of these services. Moreover, sexual coercion is a common occurrence with one in four sexually experienced young women saying that they have ever been forced against their will to have sexual intercourse. Although much of the existing evidence shows the levels and patterns of risky sexual and health behaviors and outcomes among adolescents, little evidence exists to explain why young people behave as they do. Data derived from this survey will be used towards designing and implementing effective reproductive health programs.

UMMS Contact

Sarah Rominski, PhD, MPH
Senior Research Associate, Global REACH, UMMS

Ethnic Differences in Triple Negative Breast Cancer


  • Dr. Lisa Newman, Professor of Surgery and Director of the UM Breast Care Center, has been working with her Ghanaian colleagues for many years on the genetics of breast cancer in Ghana. In 2013, her team established a state-of-the-art teleconference center at KATH. This system supports weekly, live audiovisual tumor board discussions of KATH breast cancer patients by the UM and KATH staff together, as well as videoconferencing of UM breast cancer lectures and symposia at KATH. In collaboration with Drs. Max Wicha and Sofia Merajver at UMMS, this research team has also created a series of tissue microarrays and xenografts for unique studies of the biology of breast cancer in women with African ancestry, as represented by African American and Ghanaian breast cancer patients. This program has recently been expanded to include the Tamale Teaching Hospital in Tamale, Ghana. Dr. Newman was recognized for this work when she was chosen as one of The Detroit News’ Michiganians of the Year for 2012.

UMMS Contact

Lisa A. Newman, MD, MPH, FACS
Professor of Surgery, UMMS, and Director, University of Michigan Breast Care Center