​Zahra Haji
Clinical Psychologist ​and ​Associate Scientist​

Zahra Haji a registered Clinical Psychologist and a trailblazer in the field of mental health, armed with a Master of Science in Mental Health Psychology and on the brink of completing her second Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology. Her dedication to advancing her expertise is underscored by additional training and certifications from prestigious institutions such as SickKids Toronto, Yale University, and Harvard Medical School.

​Zahra's commitment to holistic patient care is evident in her recent completion of training in Psychosocial Oncology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre under the mentorship of Dr. Madeline Li. In the realm of academia, Zahra has conducted groundbreaking research, contributing to publications on mitigating the stigma associated with mental illness, delivering telemental health services in Africa, and providing psychoeducation in low to middle-income countries.

At the Aga Khan University Nairobi, Zahra will hold a joint appointment as faculty in the Department of Hematology - Oncology and Associate Scientist in the Cancer Center and Brain & Mind Institute. Zahra will lead the implementation of DART (Distress Assessment & Response Tool) at AKU and will be the academic liaison between the Cancer Center and Brain & Mind Institute in the area of mental health and cancer. Zahra supports AKU campuses in East Africa and Karachi. 

Zahra’s milestones include preparing DART customization for implementation in low-to-middle-income countries (LMIC) in the Kenyan setting, translating and culturally adapting DART into Swahili for the Kenyan population, embedding DART into Meditech (AKU EHR system), training in Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully intervention (CALM). She is currently completing certification in Genetic Counselling through the AKU-MedGenome partnership. 

As she pilots DART in Africa, Zahra is driven by the excitement of witnessing the hope it brings to patients in Kenya and other low and middle-income countries where resources are limited. Having personally witnessed the impact of mental ill health and stigmatization on people of color, Zahra is inspired to bridge gaps and break barriers in accessing healthcare. Her mission involves culturally adapting tools and interventions to suit diverse contexts, ensuring that mental health services are accessible and relevant to all. Zahra Haji is not just a practitioner; she is a catalyst for change, passionately advocating for mental health inclusivity on a global scale.