Alumni spotlight: Andrew (Andy) Wooyoung Kim (‘15C), PhD candidate at Northwestern University

Andrew (Andy) Wooyoung Kim (‘15C), PhD candidate in biological anthropology at Northwestern University and an alumnus of Emory Anthropology and Development Studies, recently spoke on South African TV and radio to discuss his current work on the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic among communities and healthcare systems in Johannesburg. Speaking on his ethnographic work that he wrote about in an opinion piece published through the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism, Andy describes the tireless efforts of grassroots mental health organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic and the promise of telepsychiatry as a future mode of service delivery in South Africa.Andrew (Andy) Wooyoung Kim (‘15C), PhD candidate in biological anthropology at Northwestern University and an alumnus of Emory Anthropology and Development Studies, recently spoke on South African TV and radio to discuss his current work on the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic among communities and healthcare systems in Johannesburg. Speaking on his ethnographic work that he wrote about in an opinion piece published through the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism, Andy describes the tireless efforts of grassroots mental health organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic and the promise of telepsychiatry as a future mode of service delivery in South Africa.
Since August 2019, Andy has been conducting his dissertation fieldwork on the intergenerational effects of trauma from apartheid. He collaborates with a 30-year longitudinal birth cohort study called Birth to Twenty (also known as “Mandela’s Children) to understand how traumatic experiences that pregnant women faced during the dissolution of apartheid affect the health and biology of subsequent generations. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic cutting his data collection short, he took advantage of his existing research infrastructure to evaluate the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, identify community psychosocial needs, and connect families to critical social services. He writes about these experiences in a forthcoming special issue on COVID-19 in the American Journal of Human Biology
At Northwestern, Andy is currently being advised by fellow Emory Anthropology alumni Christopher Kuzawa (PhD MSPH 2001) and Thomas McDade (PhD 1999). His research has been published in Scientific Reports, Social Science & Medicine, Transcultural Psychiatry, andthe American Journal of Physical Anthropology. His dissertation research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Read and hear more about his work below! 


Op-ed: https://bhekisisa.org/article/2020-08-11-covid19-mental-health-south-africa-telemedicine-depression-anxiety-group/
TV interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02KicFbJp90
Radio interview: https://www.702.co.za/podcasts/196/the-best-of-afternoon-drive-with-joanne-joseph/349175/covid-19-has-changed-the-way-sas-only-toll-free-mental-health-helpline-works-heres-why-it-matters
Original research article: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.13.20130120v1 (in press at Psychological Medicine)

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