The brain is a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger and every process that regulates our body.  Thus, brain health is critically important to us as individuals and to the health of societies and economies.  In today's society, there still is an unsettling lack of awareness and empathy when it comes to brain and mental health issues. This persistent stigma keeps people from seeking help and making them and their loved ones suffer in silence. However, there is hope on the horizon as communities around the world begin to gain access to innovative community-based interventions and shifting perceptions, due to enhanced mental health literacy. While the ‘colonial’ models of care have left a lot to be desired in cultural and geographic realities of the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), progress is being made through unlearning of the European and American approaches, in favour of local community-based approaches, using the available resources and culturally appropriate detection and testing approaches.




Samim Hasham

Chief Operating Officer, ​Global & Associate Director, East Africa

Rozina Karmaliani

Associate Director, South and Central Asia

Falak Madhani

Implementation Scientist

Sakina Taki

Mental Health Trainer

Thomas Thesen

Cognitive Neuroscientist​

Zarafsheen Veerjee

Project Manager​


What achievement are you most proud of in your role at BMI and why?

in my capacity as a research specialist, I take charge of coordinating and implementing various projects. One accomplishment that stands out for me is successfully managing five projects simultaneously. This is particularly meaningful to me because in my previous roles, I had never coordinated more than two projects at a time.

How do you stay up to date with trends and news in your area of expertise, and how have you incorporated this knowledge into your work?

With my background in sociology, I prioritize staying informed about the evolving trends in social patterns. To achieve this, I engage in reading articles and watching podcasts that cover a wide range of sociological aspects. Additionally, I actively conduct community research, which has proven invaluable in helping me overcome personal biases when understanding people's perspectives on various issues.

What is something unique or interesting about your approach to your work, and how has it helped you succeed?

One aspect of my work approach is being proactive rather than reactive. I stick to a schedule that ensures tasks are completed in a timely manner, enabling me to avoid unnecessary work pressures. By being proactive, I enhance my productivity and maintain a sense of control over my responsibilities.

How do you balance your professional obligations and your personal interests, and why do you believe a healthy work-life balance is crucial?

Personally, I find great joy in socializing and traveling, irrespective of the distance covered. As a researcher, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to interact with diverse groups of people, and I make the most of these interactions by leveraging the value of social capital. It is vital to maintain a good work-life balance because it allows me to have dedicated time for my family and personal pursuits. This balance serves as protection against burnout, ensuring I remain energized and focused in both my personal and professional endeavors.


The Brain and Mind Institute, in collaboration with Moi University-Indiana University Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Centre, Ampath and the Kenya Society of Neuroscientists successfully hosted a two-day conference centered around neuroscience and brain health. The event, held at Aga Khan University, brought together a distinguished group of professionals and researchers in the field of neuroscience to explore the latest developments, challenges, and opportunities. The primary objective of the conference was to promote knowledge sharing, collaboration, and the advancement of neuroscience research, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

In a significant development for mental health support in the region, the Aga Khan Health Service, Pakistan in collaboration with the Brain & Mind Institute, unveiled the Taskeen mental health helpline at the Aga Khan Medical Centre in Gilgit. This helpline aims to provide timely, easily accessible, and confidential mental health assistance to the people of Gilgit. The helpline will offer free psychological support and counseling services provided by trained psychologists fluent in local languages from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral.

We are thrilled to announce that three outstanding Dartmouth College Scholars have been awarded a prestigious scholarship by the Dickey Center for International Understanding and Dartmouth, Center for Global Health Equity​ to pursue a research internship at the Aga Khan University’s Brain & Mind Institute (BMI). These scholars have demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication in their academic pursuits, and we extend our warmest congratulations to them. 

By equipping aspiring leaders with the essential skills, knowledge, and resources to advance mental health, Nivishe Foundation is cultivating a transformative generation that will revolutionize Kenya's mental health landscape through their mental health fellowship program. The fellowship has thrived through fruitful collaborations with the Brain and Mind Institute and the Mental Health Ambassadorship Program.

Publication highligh​t

Read more publications by clicking on the links below​

  1. Making morbidity multiple: History, legacies, and possibilities for global health
  2. Parental role and peer support in adolescent suicidal behavior in eight South-East Asian countries
  3. Suicides by pesticide ingestion in Pakistan and the impact of pesticide regulation
  4. Addition of mental health to the lady health worker curriculum in Pakistan: now or never
  5. Leveraging Intelligent Decision Support System to Promote Inclusive Remote Teaching and Learning in Institutions of Higher Education in East Africa: Prototype Development
  6. Suicide in Bangladesh
  7. Flourishing with chronic illness(es) and everyday stress: Experiences from Soweto, South Africa
  8. Streamlining global and local data on HIV: Underscoring role of institutions and ethics in improving quality of HIV research
  9. Macroeconomics and health: Understanding the impact of a declining economy on health outcomes of children and young adults in South Africa