Nigeria is truly blessed to have a man whose name has been tagged worldwide as an influential researcher and making his mark as a mental health specialist. Prof Oyewusi Gureje has proved to upcoming academic scholars that overcoming some of the challenges associated with research collaboration in Nigeria and beyond is possible.
Professor Gureje is an internationally known Medical Research Scientist specializing in Psychiatry, Global Mental Health, and Epidemiology. Currently, he is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Professor Extraordinary at the Department of Psychiatry, Stellenbosch University, South Africa and the Director of WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health, Neuroscience, Drug and Alcohol Abuse. He is also a member of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on COVID-19.
Born in 1952, Gureje hails from Ilesha in Osun State. He studied Medicine at the University of Benin, Nigeria and later obtained a Master in Science from the University of Manchester, UK. He completed a doctorate degree in Neuropsychiatry (title of thesis: The Nosological Status of Schizophrenia) at the University of Ibadan.
Gureje has been teaching at the University of Ibadan as well as being a consultant psychiatrist at the University College Hospital since 1989. He was the Head of the Department of Psychiatry in both institutions in 1999 – 2003 and 2007 -2011. In 2010, he established the Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Programme (mhLAP) in the institution.
This Global Mental Health Expert played a leading role in mental health policy development in Nigeria as the Chair of the Federal Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Action Committee. A Fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Science, he was, in 2008, conferred with Nigeria’s highest award for academic achievement, the Nigeria National Order of Merit, by the country’s President for his contributions to medicine
He is a past President of the Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria (APN) and of the African Association of Psychiatrists and Allied Professions. He is a member of the Editorial Board of several journals including International Review of Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Epidemiology and Psychiatric Services and Lancet Psychiatry.
This Epidemiologist has published over 500 scientific publications (peer-reviewed scientific papers, monographs, book chapters, and other reports) that have been cited for over 27,100 times. He has been listed, since 2004, in the top 1% cited researchers in the area of psychiatry and psychology and, according to Clarivate Analytics; he is one of the most influential scientific minds. He has published in the world most reputable journals such as The Lancet with the impact factor of 59 (2018). He has collaborated with more than 2500 researchers as co-author of scientific publications. His most recent research output was published in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences called for Collaboration and Partnership in Mental Health Research and Capacity Building in sub-Saharan Africa.
He is a member of the WHO International Advisory Group for the Revision of ICD-10 Chapter on Mental and Behavioural Disorders, Chair of the Workgroup on Somatic Distress and Dissociative Disorders and Vice Chair of the Field Studies Coordinating Group of the revision exercise.
For over two decades, Prof Gureje has been active in global mental health with leadership roles in several collaborative studies in epidemiology, randomized controlled trials and health system strengthening. He will continually be praised for outstanding contribution in mental health and policy developments in Africa.