We are delighted to say that we are working hard with our colleagues from Cape Town to attract funding for work together.
In 2017, The Change Exchange organised a knowledge exchange event in Rwanda for people working on health professional practice change in low and middle income countries. Among the invited attendees was Professor Leslie Swartz, Distinguished Professor of Psychology from Stellenbosch University. One of Leslie’s passions is about capacity building African scholars to enable more publication of African research by African researchers in international journals. Leslie runs workshops in many countries for researchers who wish to improve their academic writing skills. We have applied for British Academy funding to bring together research leaders in psychology of health to create a network of others who will follow in Leslie’s footsteps in supporting and enabling psychologist researchers to publish. We are ‘holding thumbs’ (crossing fingers for our UK readers!) that we will get funding.
Our visit to Cape Town, in the October of 2017, was inspiring. Invited by Leslie, we visited the psychology department of Stellenbosch University, learning about the work being undertaken in health and about the role of health psychology in South Africa. We met Dr Jason Bantjes, a counselling psychologist who researches, amongst other things, suicide. We had many overlapping interests and have had, so far unsuccessful, grant applications together. In our visit, we were presenting our work on behaviour change, including Jo’s work on TENT PEGS – a tool for behaviour change communication and our work with The Change Exchange. Health psychology is not a discipline in South Africa and Jason is developing an excellent project to increase health psychology training, which we will be supporting.
You couldn’t blog about Cape Town without mentioning its history and its beauty. Wow. It is breathtaking in so many ways. We found time to visit Robben Island, Table Mountain, and to learn more about the history from Jason, Leslie and other psychologists Louise Frenkel and Anthea Lesch. They were all so generous with their time and their welcome was as warm as the Western Cape itself.