Bernard Appiah

DrPH
Assistant Professor

Bernard Appiah joins the Department of Public Health in Falk College as Assistant Professor in Fall 2020.

Prior to joining Syracuse University, Appiah was Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health in the Departments of Environmental and Occupational Health and Public Health Studies. He was the Founding Director of the Research Program on Public and International Engagement for Health. Previously, Appiah served as a Drug Information Pharmacist/Publications Manager at the National Drug Information Resource Centre (NDIRC) for the Ministry of Health in Ghana. He has taught courses such as environmental and occupational health communication, social context of population health, and comparative global health systems.

Appiah’s research interests lie in socio-behavioral approaches for exploring public health issues, global health and environmental health with emphasis on socio-behavioral change communication, public/community engagement interventions, and dissemination of information/knowledge through culturally appropriate communication channels. He is published in several journals, including Psychiatry Research, BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) mHealth and uHealth, and authored book chapters, technical reports, and many articles for mass media. He has presented at the International Workshop for Practitioners of Engagement Between Health Researchers and Schools in Kilifi, Kenya, the West African Society of Pharmacologists (WASOP) Conference in Ghana, and the Academy for Future International Leaders (AFIL) Open Session Seminar on Global Health Issues. Appiah’s research has received support from the Wellcome Trust, UK, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, USAID Ghana, and Texas A&M University.

Among the most recent supporters of his research is the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health. Appiah is the recipient of numerous teaching and research fellowships and other honors including being named as a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow in 2018 and 2016. He currently serves as Head of Capacity Building and Research Programmes for the Pan-African Network for Popularization of Science and Technology and Science Communication (African Gong); member of the Healthcare Safety and Quality Expert Committee of the U.S. Pharmacopeia, and; reviewer for Public Understanding of Science.

Appiah earned his Dr.PH in Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences in 2013 and his M.S. in Science and Technology Journalism from Texas A&M University’s School of Public Health and College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, respectively. He earned his master’s in Development Communication from the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) and his B.Pharm in Pharmacy from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana.

Education

Ph.D. in Health Promotion & Community Health Sciences, Texas A&M University, 2013

M.S. in Science & Technology Journalism, Texas A&M University, 2010

M.D.C. in Development Communication, University of the Philippines Open University, 2010

B.Pharm, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology

Specialization

Socio-behavioral approaches for exploring public health issues, global health and environmental health with emphasis on socio-behavioral change communication, public/community engagement interventions, and dissemination of information/knowledge through culturally appropriate communication channels.

Research Focus

  • Design, implementation or evaluation of drama, mass media and mobile health interventions.
  • Public or community engagement approaches for addressing health challenges.
  • Media coverage of public health issues.
  • Pharmaceutical health services issues including medication adherence, antimicrobial resistance reporting of adverse drug reactions and vaccination.
  • Global health.

Research Projects

Docu-drama and WhatsApp for Promoting Blood Donation

Inadequate blood donation is a critical public health challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) aims to design, implement and evaluate community-based strategies for increasing the blood-donor pool in Ghana. It is one of three consortia funded under the NHLBI’s BLOODSAFE program to improve the availability and safety of blood in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Appiah’s role in the project involves designing, implementing and evaluating docu-drama, WhatsApp and active community group interventions to encourage first-time blood donors to become repeat blood donors. The study will use implementation science approaches and randomized controlled trials to design and test the feasibility, cultural appropriateness, acceptability and effectiveness of community-based interventions for promoting blood donation.

Radio Intervention for Promoting Childhood Vaccination

Vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and tuberculosis are still claiming lives of children in part because of inadequate childhood vaccination. In this project, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Appiah is leading a multidisciplinary team to design, implement and evaluate a radio intervention involving, drama, panel discussion and phone-in by listeners to promote childhood vaccination in Ethiopia.

Docu-drama for Strengthening Hearing Impairment Genetics Research

Engaging people with hearing impairment is a challenge for health researchers studying genetics. In this project, we have created two docu-drama episodes: one for deaf students and another for siblings and parents of the deaf students. The goal of this project, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, is to help health researchers in Ghana to use docu-drama as a tool for engaging deaf people and their family members to increase their knowledge and awareness of genetics and their subsequent participation in genetics research.

Content Analysis of Public Health Issues

In this project, we are analyzing how newspapers and other communication channels are covering public health issues such as medication adherence, COVID-19, antimicrobial resistance and sickle cell disease. Current opportunities for students may include searching newspaper databases and analysis.

Mobile Phone Callertunes Project

Have you called a mobile phone number, and instead of hearing the typical ringing sound, you heard a song or a message before the recipient picked the call? If you did, then you were exposed to mobile phone callertunes, also called ringback tones. In this project, we are testing the feasibility of using mobile phone callertunes to address public health issues such as blood donation, mediation adherence and patient reporting of adverse drug reactions.

Identifying science engagement projects involving hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities

This project, which is administered by the Falling Walls Engage, an initiative of Germany-based Falling Walls Foundation, aims to identify elements of innovative and successful science engagement projects involving hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities, and create a guide for science engagers to plan, implement and evaluate their related projects. Current opportunities for students may include literature search, analysis and report writing.

Recent Publications

  • Asamoah‐Akuoko, L., Ullum, H., Appiah, B., Hassall, O. W., Ndanu, T., Adongo, P., & Bates, I. (2020). Determinants of intention to return to donate blood among first‐time blood donors in Ghana. Vox Sanguinis.
  • Appiah, B., Burdine, J.N., Cummings, S., Poudyal, A., Hutchison, R.W., Forjuoh, S.N. and McLeroy, K.R. (2020), The effect of health‐related information seeking and financial strain on medication nonadherence among patients with diabetes and/or hypertension in central Texas. J Pharm Health Serv Res, 11: 261-268.
  • Ogundipe, O., Mazidi, M., Chin, K. L., Gor, D., McGovern, A., Sahle, B. W., ... & Ofori-Asenso, R. (2020). Real-world adherence, persistence, and in-class switching during use of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors: a systematic review and meta-analysis involving 594,138 patients with type 2 diabetes. Acta Diabetologica, 1-8.
  • Kretchy, I. A., Koduah, A., Ohene-Agyei, T., Boima, V., & Appiah, B. (2020). The association between diabetes-related distress and medication adherence in adult patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a cross-sectional study. Journal of diabetes research, 2020.
  • Appiah, B., Poudyal, A., Anum, D. A., Appiah, G., Wesuta, A. C., Akodwaa-Boadi, K., ... & Odai, S. N. (2020). Challenges and facilitators of public engagement with water, sanitation, hygiene and other environmental health issues in Ghana and Uganda: perspectives of scientists, journalists and the public. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, 10(1), 16-26.
  • Appiah, B., Yoshikawa, A., Asamoah-Akuoko, L., Anum, D. A., Kretchy, I. A., Samman, E., ... & Rene, A. (2020). Consumer reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions: modelling the acceptance of mobile phone caller tunes to raise awareness. Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, 11(1), 39-48.
  • Kretchy, I. A., Boima, V., Agyabeng, K., Koduah, A., & Appiah, B. (2020). Psycho-behavioural factors associated with medication adherence among male out-patients with hypertension in a Ghanaian hospital. PloS one, 15(1), e0227874.
  • Appiah, B., Poudyal, A., Burdine, J. N., Asamoah-Akuoko, L., Anum, D. A., Kretchy, I. A., ... & McKyer, E. L. J. (2019). Factors that influence the intention to use mobile phone caller tunes for patient reporting of adverse drug reactions: a qualitative study. Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, 10, 2042098619871190.
  • Davies, A., Mwango, G., Appiah, B., Callery, J. J., Thanh, V. D., Gumede, N., ... & Woods-Townsend, K. (2019). Initiating a network to support engagement between health researchers and schools: recommendations from an international meeting of schools engagement practitioners held in Kilifi, Kenya. Wellcome Open Research, 4.
  • Appiah, B., Amponsah, I. K., Poudyal, A., & Mensah, M. L. K. (2018). Identifying strengths and weaknesses of the integration of biomedical and herbal medicine units in Ghana using the WHO Health Systems Framework: a qualitative study. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 18(1), 1-8.
  • Appiah, B., Burdine, J. N., Aftab, A., Asamoah-Akuoko, L., Anum, D. A., Kretchy, I. A., ... & Bates, I. (2018). Determinants of intention to use mobile phone caller tunes to promote voluntary blood donation: cross-sectional study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 6(5), e117.