Kathleen Sikkema, professor of psychology and neuroscience, global health, and psychiatry and behavioral sciences, has been selected as the first Gosnell Family Professor of Global Health at Duke University.
The newly endowed professorship was made possible by a gift from Arthur and Page Gosnell that was matched with funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Matching Grant.
The professorship recognizes a scholar of eminence and excellence in the field of global health who holds faculty appointments in the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) and Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.
“Dr. Sikkema’s appointment to this professorship represents a well-deserved recognition of her academic achievements and her ability to forge collaborations across multiple disciplines,” said Randall Kramer, the Juli Plant Grainger Professor of Global Environmental Health and DGHI’s interim director. “She has pioneered the development of an impressive global mental health initiative at Duke, led our doctoral scholars program, and been a remarkable mentor of many young Duke faculty and international collaborators.”
“Dr. Sikkema’s scholarship exemplifies what Duke is all about. She develops programs that are meant to tackle problems that affect people around the globe using sound empirical evidence, real-life data, drawn from multiple disciplines,” said Valerie Ashby, dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. “She recognizes that health problems are interrelated and that successful approaches to their treatment are often deeply intertwined with their genesis.”
Ashby added, “Dr. Sikkema’s approach is ground-breaking and makes her a global leader in promulgating the best health-promoting practices and bringing them to fruition.”
Sikkema’s Research Focuses on HIV-Related Interventions
Sikkema is a clinical psychologist with an emphasis in health and community psychology. She is the director of the Global Mental Health Initiative at DGHI, director of doctoral studies at DGHI and director of the Social and Behavioral Science Core in Duke’s Center for AIDS Research. Her areas of expertise include community-level prevention interventions, mental health interventions, global mental health and university-community collaboration.
Sikkema conducts community based trials on the development and evaluation of a wide range of HIV-related interventions, including ones focused on traumatic stress and coping, HIV prevention and HIV care engagement. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health for 25 years and has resulted in more than 200 publications in peer reviewed journals.
Scientific contributions from Sikkema’s lab have led to significant implications for the allocation of HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention resources and have resulted in a deeper understanding of the psychological correlates of transmission risk behavior. Her research has bolstered the case for incorporating mental health treatment into HIV prevention initiatives.
Much of Sikkema's current research takes place in South Africa, where she has collaborated with researchers from various universities since 2001. Building on prior work with abused women, she completed a multi-method longitudinal study to inform development of innovative intervention approaches related to gender, HIV risk and alcohol use in South African women. Sikkema and her colleagues recently developed a mental health intervention to reduce traumatic stress and improve care engagement among HIV-infected women in South Africa.
Dr. Sikkema’s scholarship exemplifies what Duke is all about.Valerie Ashby, dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences