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Professor of Psychiatry and Dean, Medical College East Africa, Aga Khan University, Aga Khan University Graduate School of Media and Communications (GSMC)

Lukoye Atwoli is a Professor of Psychiatry and the Dean of the Medical College, East Africa at the Aga Khan University. He holds visiting positions at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and Duke University’s Institute of Global Health. He is also honorary faculty at the University of Cape Town’s department of psychiatry and mental health. Prof Atwoli formerly held the position of Dean at Moi University’s School of Medicine (2014-2019).

He earned his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees (MBChB) from Moi University in 2001, before proceeding to the University of Nairobi in 2003 to specialize in Psychiatry. He graduated with a Master of Medicine degree in Psychiatry (MMed Psych) in 2006.

In 2015, Prof Atwoli earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) in Psychiatry from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, with his thesis focusing on the epidemiology of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder in South Africa. Additionally, he has been trained in disaster mental health at the Hyogo Institute of Traumatic Stress in Japan, and had a Fogarty Research Fellowship at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in the US.

Over the past ten years, he has published several book chapters and dozens of papers in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at dozens of learned conferences. His research currently focuses on Trauma (including childhood trauma) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (among other outcomes of trauma exposure), but he continues to nurture an interest in general hospital psychiatry, substance use, and HIV and mental health.

Prof Atwoli is part of several consortia involved in mental health research and development in Kenya and in other parts of the world, including the Orphans and Separated Children’s Assessment Related to their health and well being (OSCAR project), the South African Stress and Health Survey (SASH), and the World Mental Health Surveys Consortium.

He is also a Principal Investigator in the multi-center Neuropsychiatric Genetics of African Populations (NeuroGAP) project (funded by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Boston, Massachusetts) that aims at increasing knowledge on genetic factors associated with severe mental illness among Africans.
Apart from research, teaching and administrative responsibilities, Dr Atwoli also provides service as a consultant psychiatrist at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital as well as in several private facilities within Eldoret Town.

In October 2020, Prof Atwoli was appointed the Chairperson of the Board of the Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital, the apex mental health facility in the East African region. He has also served in several capacities in the Kenya Medical Association, including secretary and later Vice-President up to July 2020. In 2015, he was awarded the prestigious Kenya Medical Association Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his contribution to the medical profession and the Association over the years.

Prof Atwoli is the current Secretary General of the African Association of Psychiatrists (AAP), and a founding member of the Board and President-Elect of the African College of Neuropsychopharmacology (AfCNP). He has also sat as a member of the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board of Kenya, the regulatory authority for medical and dental practitioners in Kenya.

Prof Atwoli maintains a social commentary column, ‘Barometer’, in the Sunday Nation newspaper that has a large circulation in Eastern Africa. In his spare time, he plays chess, scrabble, and golf. He also enjoys reading and writing poetry and short stories for recreation, and some of his work has featured and won awards in the StoryMoja literary community among others.


  • 2020–present
    Professor of Psychiatry and Dean, Medical College East Africa, Aga Khan University


  • 2015 
    University of Cape Town, PhD
  • 2006 
    University of Nairobi, MMed Psych
  • 2001 
    Moi University, MBChB