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Abura-Meerdink, G. A.

Gloria Abura-Meerdink

PhD Candidate | Graduate Council Fellow

Contact Information


Areas of Interest and Expertise

  • Community Based Participatory and Mixed Methods Approaches
  • Digital and Community Based Mental Health Interventions
  • Social Determinants of Health and Child & Adolescent Mental Health Disparities
  • Social Justice and Mental Health


  • Master of Social Work, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa-USA
  • Master of Science in Clinical Psychology, Makerere University, Kampala-Uganda
  • Bachelor of Community Psychology, Makerere University, Kampala-Uganda


Gloria is a PhD Candidate at the University of Alabama’s School of Social work. Prior to joining the University of Alabama in 2019 to pursue a concurrent MSW and PhD, she was based in Uganda. She worked as a clinical psychologist conducting both clinical and research work among individuals and within community-based settings in low resource communities. Her past professional experience, coupled with the learning process throughout her doctoral journey have engendered the following research interests. 1). Child and adolescent mental health disparities research in both national and global contexts, specifically addressing social determinants of health, mechanisms underlying child and adolescent mental health disparities, investigating barriers and challenges to child and adolescent mental health services access in resource constrictive settings. 2). Bridging the child and adolescent mental health gap by using digital and community based mental health interventions. Lastly, the utilization of community engagement, community based participatory and mixed methods approaches to address child and adolescent mental health disparities.

Gloria’s current dissertation research efforts focus on investigating the existing mental health interventions for depression and anxiety among adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa, exploring adolescent mental health and psychosocial needs in low resource school-based settings and piloting a screening process for assessing social determinants of health and mental health outcomes among adolescents in low resource school contexts in Sub-Saharan Africa (Uganda). Her current research within the United States explores the utilization of non-traditional actors such as schools, libraries and other community health organizations as potential avenues for bridging the adolescent mental health gap among adolescents and young people in low resource communities. Additionally, Gloria works as a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Alabama where she assists with several projects focused on mental health promotion and prevention among adolescents in rural and city school systems in the South (United States). These projects are joint collaborative community-based partnerships between the University of Alabama-School of Social Work, the Pickens County School and Tuscaloosa city school Systems. She continues to support various faculty at the University of Alabama with their research and scholarly endeavors.

Selected Publications

Abura-Meerdink, G. (2022, December 21). The Adolescent Mental Health Gap: A Community Engaged Portfolio (CE-eP) on the Role of the Library as a Potential Mental Health Hub for Adolescent Community Strengths and Needs in Low Resource Contexts in Alabama.

Hopson, L. M., Lidbe, A., Jackson, M. S., Adanu, E., Li, X., Penmetsa, P., Lee, H., Anderson, A., Obuya, C., & Abura-Meerdink, G. (2022). Transportation to school and academic outcomes: A systematic review. Educational Review.

Huang, K.-Y., Abura, G., Theise, R., & Nakigudde, J. (2017). Parental Depression and Associations with Parenting and Children’s Physical and Mental Health in a Sub-Saharan African Setting. Child Psychiatry and Human Development48(4), 517.

Huang, K.-Y., Nakigudde, J., Rhule, D., Gumikiriza-Onoria, J. L., Abura, G., Kolawole, B., Ndyanabangi, S., Kim, S., Seidman, E., Ogedegbe, G., & Brotman, L. M. (2017). Transportability of an Evidence-Based Early Childhood Intervention in a Low-Income African Country: Results of a Cluster Randomized Controlled Study. Prevention Science18(8), 964.