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Prof Dinky (Naomi) Levitt Prof Dinky (Naomi) Levitt

Short Bio

Naomi Levitt is a diabetologist/endocrinologist and public health scientist. She is a Senior Scholar in the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at the University of Cape Town and Director of the Chronic Disease Initiative for Africa (CDIA).  CDIA was originally funded by NHLBI and United Health Care as a Center for Excellence to reduce the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2009 and exists as a network of researchers drawn from a number of South African Universities, the South African Medical Research Council, and other African countries, with close links with policy makers.  She has been involved in many national and international efforts to address clinical practice, research direction and policy relating to diabetes.  She is a Fellow of the University of Cape Town, has authored over 270 peer reviewed publications and 14 chapters in books or monographs.


Senior Research Officer

Dr Peter Delobelle

Short Bio

Peter Delobelle is a Medical Doctor with twenty years of experience in public health research, teaching and service delivery. His research focuses on health policy and systems research, health promotion, implementation research and integrated knowledge translation. He is the Deputy Director of the Chronic Disease Initiative for Africa (CDIA) where he works as Senior Researcher and Associate Prof at the Department of Public Health, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) where he teaches Global Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Essential Skills in Global Health. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health (UK); member of the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) and Health Promotion Development Foundation Network; International Union for Health Promotion and Education Working Group on Healthy Settings; and Chair of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) Process Evaluation Working Group.

Emeritus Associate Professor

Dr. Katherine Murphy
PhD, BA, HDE, PG Dip Health Promotion

Short Bio

Katherine Everett-Murphy has a post graduate qualification in Health Promotion from the University of Galway in Ireland. In 2011, she graduated with a PhD in Public Health from the University of Cape Town. She officially retired from UCT in December 2020, but continues to consult and conduct research in an Emeritus capacity, the primary of focus of her research is developing and testing behavioural change interventions around the lifestyle related risk factors for non-communicable disease – namely smoking, alcohol misuse, physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet.

Senior Research Officer (part-time)

Dr. Darcelle Schouw

MSc, PhD

Darcelle is a Researcher at the University of Stellenbosch in the Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care. She provides CDIA with part-time input as a Senior Research Officer that includes mentorship and training of our research support staff and postgraduate fellows in qualitative research, coordination of research projects, workshop facilitation and presentations.  She is a registered Biokineticist, with a Masters degree in Sports Science, and a PhD in Family Medicine. Her research focuses on prevention and control of risk factors associated with non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs). Additional professional experience includes preventative medicine, chronic disease management, orthopaedic rehabilitation, behaviour change counselling, research, systems thinking, mentoring, managing, speaking, and presenting.

Honorary Professor

Professor Brian Oldenburg
BSc (Hons), Master in Psychology, PhD in Medicine/Psychiatry, UNSW

Short Bio

Brian Oldenburg is a global expert in the prevention and control of chronic diseases, in particular cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes in both high income and low and middle-income countries. He is the Director of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Digital Health and Chronic Conditions in Melbourne.  Along with his research team, he recently re-located to the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, where he holds a joint Professorship in Public Health and Implementation Science at the Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute and La Trobe University. CRE trains young scholars to develop new technology platforms and m-Health interventions to improve chronic disease outcomes.

Honorary Professor

Professor Andrew Farmer
BA Physiology, BMBCh (Oxford), DRCOG, MRCGP, FRCGP, D.M. (Oxford)

Short Bio

Professor Andrew Farmer is a Professor of General Practice in the Nuffield Department of Primary Health Care Sciences at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom (UK). In October 2020, he took over as Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Oxford Biomedical Research Centre Digital Health and Technology programme. It funds numerous research initiatives about the broader impact of healthcare treatments field of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).  In addition to his various leadership positions, he is an expert adviser for the Centre for Guidelines; National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Professor Farmer is a recipient of several awards in recognition of his work and more recently was appointed as Emeritus, NIHR Senior Investigator.

Honorary Research Affiliate

Dr Kirsten (Kirsty) Bobrow

MBChB, MSc, DPhil, MMed

Dr Bobrow is a MBChB graduate from UCT and she completed her DPhil in Epidemiology at Oxford, United Kingdom (UK). Kirsty was the project lead for our *StAR study and she pursued and completed her Master of Medicine (MMed) registrar training in Public Health at UCT in 2018. Currently she is a post-doctoral fellow in neuroepidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco, in the United States of America (USA). With a background in clinical medicine, epidemiology and clinical trials. She has extensive quantitative research design and analysis skilss and continues to collaborate with CDIA affiliates in an honorary capacity.

Research; Support & Administration

Project Manager

Ms Sharon Wakefield

Short Bio

Sharon Wakefield joined the CDIA in March 2020, and prior to this, worked in Human Resources (HR) for the UCT Department of Medicine for several years. Previous, she worked in the corporate sector, primarily in retail and graphic design. Her part-time studies at UCT include a Diploma in Education (Adult Education) and an Advanced Certificate in Education (Adult/ Community Education) and a Project Management course. She has also consulted as a Qualitative Research interviewer for the Anova Health Institute and conducted a pilot research project on the effectiveness of home-based pallative care within the Bonteheuwel community, in the Cape Metro. She wishes to further this project to Masters level. Presently, she supports the CDIA Director with operations and strategic planning, HR, Finance, Staff training and stakeholder engagement.

Grants Specialist

Ms Carmelita Sylvester

Short Bio

Carmelita has been part of the CDIA family for several years, first as a Senior Center Manager until 2017, and , more recently, as a part-time grants specialist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, specialising in Development Studies as well as Associate Management qualification from the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB). She is currently an Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) candidate at the GSB and her professional experience within the higher education sector spans over 20 years. Special expertise includes project management for multiple research studies, financial, operational and information management, staff management and training and grant management specialisation.

Site Facilitator and Masters Fellow

Takalani Tshikovhi

Takalani holds a National Diploma in Optical dispensing and joined our STAR2D and H3Africa projects as a Research Assistant to assist with diabetes retinopathy assessments of patients. He was later promoted to Project Coordinator for the IINDIAGO project and is currently pursuing his Masters degree at UWC. He supports us in the capacity of site facilitator and is involved in site set-up, liaison with students, staff and community health care workers, translation and transcription, sample management and operational support. he also supports us as a qualitative interviewer for designated projects. Completion of he's Masters degree is underway and he hopes to pursue a PhD.

Senior Secretary

Ms Chantal Stuart

Tel: 021 650 5228

Short Bio

Chantal Stuart initially worked as a fieldworker for the Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine at UCT since 2008. Prior to this, she worked in the United Kingdom (UK) as a Call Center Administrator, and later, as the research activities for the CDIA increased, she worked as a Project Support Administrator for various projects and offered field-site support, data capturing and general research assistance. During 2010, she undertook a Pastel Accounting course and several technical courses at UCT and was promoted to Senior Secretary in January 2019. She supports the research and teaching administration of the unit ranging from procurement, human research ethics protocol facilitation and general administration.