The Team

Dr. Chesmal Siriwardhana

Co-founder of Globalhme Research Group, original PI, COMGAP-S 

Dr. Siriwardhana developed the COMGAP-S project and was a co-founder of the Globalhme research group. Dr. Siriwardhana dedicated his career to helping internally displaced populations in Northern Sri Lanka and other similar contexts across the world. He was an Associate Professor in Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Siriwardhana was tragically killed in a traffic accident on 9 April 2017. He will forever be missed by all of us at Globalhme and we are honoured to continue his work.

Dr. Shannon Doherty

Primary Investigator, COMGAP-S Project, Globalhme Research Group Lead                       
Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine, and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University

Dr. Doherty was the Principal Investigator for the COMGAP-S project. Prior to Dr. Siriwardhana’s death she worked closely with him to develop the Globalhme research group, and helped develop the COMGAP-S project. Her PhD thesis explored ethical challenges involved in conducting health research with people who have been trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation.                     

Her key areas of research interest are global mental health, migration, public health, research ethics, and human trafficking. She is currently employed as an Associate Lecturer in Public Health at Anglia Ruskin University and is a director at the THEME Institute developing a programme of research within Sri Lanka.

Ms. Gergana Manolova

Research Associate, COMGAP-S Project
Globally Minded Foundation

Ms. Manolova was a research associate in the COMGAP-S project, responsible for supporting research activities remotely, managing data and compiling analyses and results and is a current member of the Globalhme research group . Ms. Manolova has experience with research in global mental health and working with psychological therapies. Her interests include global mental health, psychological and psychiatric anthropology, migration and psychotherapy. She has MSc in Global Mental Health, MA in Clinical & Counselling Psychology and a BA in Psychology.

Ms. Giselle Dass

Research Associate and Project Administration Officer
COMGAP-S Project

Ms. Dass was a research associate and project administration officer for the COMGAP-S project and is a current member of the Globalhme research group. She was responsible for the overall efficient day-to-day management of the project in Sri Lanka. Ms. Dass has international experience working and conducting research on issues of child and adolescent mental health services. She also has experience working with the International Organization for Migration providing counselling and rehabilitation services for migrants as well as developing community infrastructure projects within Sri Lanka focusing on conflict-affected areas of the country. Ms. Dass is a director at the THEME Institute and works on numerous research projects within the Institute.

Ms. Madonna Solomon

Senior Research Assistant


Having completed her BSc (hons) in Psychology from Coventry University (UK), Ms. Solomon possesses five years of professional experience as a kindergarten teacher in the early childhood education sector. During that period, she was also greatly involved in assisting children with learning disabilities and bringing awareness among parents about the importance of child mental wellbeing. Although mainly passionate about child mental health, for her undergraduate thesis she focused on studying the factors affecting the psychological wellbeing of adults in Sri Lanka where she validated a wellbeing scale in order to compare the levels of mental wellbeing among the urban and rural populations in a Sri Lankan context. Making use of her background in psychology and research, she is currently working for THEME institute as a senior research assistant; contributing her knowledge and skills for now conducted COMGAP-S project and several other projects  carried out at the THEME Institute. Ms. Solomon is also a current member of the Globalhme research group.

Ms. Anne Edward

Senior Field Research Assistant


Ms. Edward joined COMGAP-S project as a volunteer of the initial data collection as an undergraduate. After having completed her BSc (Hons) in Psychology from Coventry University, UK, she joined THEME Institute as a full time member and was responsible for the field data collection and administrative activities in the project office in Vavuniya, Sri Lanka. She also contributed to training medical professionals in the Northern Province in mental health. Her background is in administrative work in the corporate field and she has also been involved in volunteer work, assisting children with developmental delays in care homes and tutoring children with learning disabilities in math and English. Her interests are in mental health awareness and she wishes to continue her studies in psychotherapy, counselling and psychosocial support. Ms. Edward is currently a member of the Globalhme research group and works on projects within the THEME Institute.

Umajasotha Mahenthiran

Research Assistant

Ms. Mahendiran was a research assistant in the COMGAP-S project. She was based in the project office in Vavuniya. She was responsible for supporting data collection activities in the field and also for bookkeeping related to administration. She was also involved in training medical nurses and assistants and community representatives on mental health awareness. She is currently a student at the National Institute of Social Development and continuing her studies in counseling. She is also an external student at the University of Peradeniya for a Bachelor of Arts degree. She wishes to continue her studies in counseling psychology.

Satkunarajah Vithushan

Office Assistant

Mr. Vithusan is from Vavuniya, Sri Lanka, and has previously worked as a driver and logistics officer in distribution and sales. Within the COMGAP-S project he assisted with the maintenance of the office, the clinical trial schedule and logistics. He aspires to become an ambulance driver as he cares deeply about the health services and health access in the Northern Province. Mr. Vithushan is a current member of the Globalhme research group and works with the THEME Institute.

Mr. Fritz Jooste

Web Developer and Technology Consultant

Mr. Jooste is a freelance web developer and information designer who has worked with multiple South African and international organizations, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, SHM Foundation, Right2Know Campaign, Code for South Africa, Ndifuna Ukwazi and the SOS Coalition. His educational background is in global mental health, psychology and social anthropology. His main areas of expertise are web development, UX consulting and the interface between technology and mental health.