Meet Our Wadsworth International Fellows: David Mensah

Continuing on with our spotlight of the Foundation's Wadsworth Fellowship recipients we'd like to introduce you to David Mensah. With the support of the Wadsworth International Fellowship, David Mensah will continue his training in medical anthropology at Northern Arizona University, hosted by Michelle Parsons.

Born and raised in Ghana, I obtained my BA degree in cultural anthropology at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, where anthropology has offered an undergraduate degree program since 2009. My MA degree is in medical anthropology from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff. I am now in my second year in the Interdisciplinary Health Ph.D. program at NAU with an emphasis on psychosocial health combined with medical anthropological approaches. I am inspired by anthropological perspectives in mental health and drug addiction research that address treatment provision and improve care.


My research interest draws on medical anthropological approaches to mental illness and drug addiction stigma. My proposed dissertation aims to understand interpersonal and structural stigma processes in Ghana and how they impact persons with mental illness and mental healthcare structures including professions, institutions, sectors, financing, and policy. Through my research I aim to add to and build on the medical anthropological literature by examining interpersonal and structural stigma processes that impact mental healthcare. By testing my hypothesis that interpersonal and structural stigma is co-produced through social exchange, I aim to assess whether stigma is connected to social exchange resulting in the exclusion of the stigmatized from social interactions.

As a Ghanaian with solid training in anthropology, I believe a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary health will sharpen my research acumen to contribute both to the anthropology of global mental health and culturally attuned psychiatric care in Africa. I chose the Interdisciplinary Health Ph.D. program at NAU because it has academic resources to enhance my academic training and faculty members that are deeply rooted in medical anthropological approaches to global health issues.

I am passionate about mental healthcare in Ghana and I aim to establish a psychosocial health research institute with a major focus on mental health research in Ghana to promote the study of mental healthcare across the continent. I believe that anthropological understanding and approaches to mental health research are crucial to the promotion of mental healthcare in Ghana and Africa and beyond.