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.

Research Training Programs

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

  • 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 UM Medical School, serves as the Principal Investigator for UM and works with Cheryl Moyer, PhD, MPH, to identify and mentor trainees.
  • UMMS has made 12 awards since 2012. Five of the twelve awards have supported research projects in Ghana including one post-doctoral fellowship for 2015-2016:

    April Bell, MPH, is a research fellow at the University of Michigan whose long-term goal is to develop, implement, and disseminate interventions to address women’s health in sub-Saharan Africa. During her Fogarty Fellowship year she seeks to determine the impact of “near-miss” mortality on 1-year maternal and neonatal survival at three hospitals in southern Ghana. “Near-misses” are usually defined as life-threatening events in which a mother or an infant nearly dies, but doesn’t. Women who experience near-miss are at great risk of dying and experiencing a range of other adverse outcomes during the year following the near-miss, yet relatively little attention has been paid to those women and neonates who survive the complications that are the main cause of maternal and neonatal mortality. The specific aims of her study are to determine the 1-year survival rate of women and infants who experienced a near-miss event and to identify the clinical, social, and cultural factors that are associated with that survival. Ms. Bell will be co-mentored by Dr. Cheryl A. Moyer, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Learning Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Richard Adanu, Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Ghana.

UMMS Contact

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


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

  • 2014-2015 Partner II Fellows and their UM mentors enjoy a cold December day in Ann Arbor

    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, including: the University of Ghana, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), the Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

  • Three fellows participated as part of the 2013-2014 PARTNER II program, and six fellows were selected to work on one of two interdisciplinary teams in 2014-2015: maternal and neonatal health research in Ghana, or global health technology research and design. The fellows trained at the University of Michigan 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 Associate 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.  KNUST and UM have enjoyed a MEPI partnership since 2009, and while formal funding ended in 2014, work continues to train more physicians and nurses in Emergency Medicine, build research capacity, and enhance interdisciplinary training. MEPI was 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, served as lead from UMMS with the majority of the on-the-ground leadership provided by Dr. Rocky Oteng.

    While the MEPI program awaits the potential for future funding, the broader Ghana Michigan Emergency Medicine Collaborative (GMEMC) shows no signs of deceleration. As of September 2015, 21 emergency medicine residents will have graduated from the residency training program in Kumasi, with an additional 27 residents still in training.  What began as a one-year diploma program in emergency nursing has transitioned to a 2-year Bachelors of Science in Emergency Nursing program, and to date, more than 100 nurses have completed or are currently in this program.

    The GMEMC is also working with St. Paul’s Hospital Millenium Medical College (SPHMMC) in Ethiopia to facilitate a Ghanaian/Ethiopian partnership to advance emergency medicine training.  Such a “south-south” collaboration will allow SPHMMC to learn from Ghana’s challenges and opportunities in starting their own emergency medicine training program. 

  • 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

William Barsan, MD
Professor of Emergency Medicine

Ghana-Michigan Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Partnership

  • The Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Michigan continues to expand its partnership with the KATH Otolaryngology Department in Kumasi and the KNUST School of Medicine. The department has worked with its Ghanaian partners to construct a state-of-the-art temporal bone laboratory, the first in West Africa, that has been instrumental in expanding capacity for otologic surgical training and care provision in Ghana. In addition to the teaching opportunities provided by the temporal bone laboratory, in-country training of surgeons in the operating rooms at KATH continues, with 2 weeks of intensive surgical training for faculty, fellows, and residents completed. These mini-fellowships, directed by faculty from Michigan and assisted by senior surgeons in Ghana, provides KATH surgeons hands-on training in otologic surgery. In addition to these hands-on initiatives, which are planned quarterly, the department has sponsored senior surgeons from KATH to attend the department’s annual temporal bone course and observe otologic surgery at Michigan.

    Michigan and KATH/KNUST will be holding a joint head and neck surgery dissection workshop that will be drawing surgeons from the entire country of Ghana in the Fall of 2015. This course will be given at KNUST in the anatomy lab and will involve faculty from both Universities. The Department will also begin an ACGME-accredited rotation for Michigan residents in the Department of Otolaryngology at KATH in the summer of 2016. This opportunity will also allow KATH residents to come to Michigan to observe a range of specialty-specific cases

UMMS Contact
Jeffrey Moyer, MD, FACS

Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, UMMS

Addressing Maternal Mortality

  • Dr. Frank Anderson, Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been working on several projects in Ghana, including documenting the factors that led to the retention of the more than 140 OBGYNs trained in Ghana since the 1980s, as well as demonstrating the impact that OBGYNs have on health facilities and the health system. One example is electronic fetal monitoring. Dr. Anderson and colleagues have shown that through the implementation of known technologies adapted to the local setting, stillbirth and early neonatal mortality can be significantly reduced.  Dr. Anderson is also working to improve community-level maternal mortality surveillance. Working with students from the Minority and Health Disparities International Research Training Program (MHIRTand colleagues at the Ghana Health Service, these research activities have resulted in the development of a simple 4-question survey to provide surveillance for maternal mortality at the community level. 

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

Midwifery in Ghana: Role Modeling and Rural Retention

  • Dr. Jody Lori, Associate Professor of Nursing, Dr. Cheryl Moyer, Assistant Professor of Learning Health Sciences, and Dr. Sarah Rominski, Senior Research Associate at Global REACH, are working with a team of investigators in Ghana to explore factors influencing third-year Ghanaian midwifery students’ willingness to work in rural areas, as well as exploring what final-year trainees report learning during their clinical training. Preliminary results suggest role modeling by preceptors has a powerful influence on trainees. The study takes place in the 16 public midwifery schools throughout Ghana and includes more than 700 final-year midwifery students. 

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



Collaborative Faculty Research

Preventing Maternal and Neonatal Death (PREMAND)
  • A research team from Global REACH and the Department of Learning Health Sciences received a 3-year, $1.44 million dollar grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to examine the social, cultural, and behavioral factors influencing maternal and neonatal mortality in northern Ghana.  The University of Michigan team is led by Department of Learning Health Sciences Assistant Professor Cheryl Moyer, PhD, MPH,  who shares project leadership with Dr. John Williams from the Navrongo Health Research Centre, one of three research outposts of the Ghana Health Service.
  • Project Co-Director Dr. Cheryl Moyer (left) reviews a map of project districts with Ghanaian colleagues

    PREMAND brings together a diverse group of researchers and practitioners as well as “on-the-ground” stakeholders who are eager to find new ways to decrease morbidity and mortality in their communities. The team includes social scientists who are working to quantify the impact of social and cultural factors on outcomes, clinicians who are hoping to learn from ‘near-misses’ and patterns of death, and mapping experts who aim to simplify complex information by mapping events and their correlates.

The PREMAND project was launched in September, 2014 to:

  1. Improve understanding of maternal and neonatal deaths and near-misses (mothers and babies who nearly die) by implementing “social autopsies” of deaths and “socio-cultural audits” of near-misses.  These tools will provide an in-depth understanding of the social and cultural factors surrounding the death or illness, including such things as traditional practices, symptom recognition, and care-seeking.
  2. Use geographic technology to map socio-cultural trends contributing to maternal and neonatal deaths and near-misses. This geographic component is intended to highlight variations in beliefs, practices, and care-seeking so that results can inform localized decision-making for communities, government leaders, and donors.
  3. Engage community members in programming tailored to address the unique challenges featured in their specific maternal and neonatal profile. Maps, data, and small pilot grants will be shared with communities and their stakeholders to encourage the development of locally-driven solutions.  

Read a Global REACH impact article here.

UMMS Contact

Cheryl Moyer, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Learning Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Associate 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