Two University of Limpopo professors appointed to SAMRC board

Minister of Health Dr Zwelini Mkhize has announced the reappointment of two University of Limpopo (UL) professors to serve in the board of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)

Prof Linda Skaal will serve as ViceChairperson of the Council while Prof Tholene Sodi will Chair the Human Resources and Remuneration Committee until 31 October 2022.

Over the next threeyears, the duo will help realise SAMRC's mandate to improve the health of the country's population through research, development and technology transfer. The scope of SAMRC's research projects includes tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular and noncommunicable diseases, gender and health, and alcohol and other drug abuse. Prof Skaal is Acting Director of School of Health Care Sciences at the university with a wealth of experience in the health fraternity since 1993. She says her appointment is a great opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of all South Africans through her expertise and also a huge achievement in her career. I look forward to advancing health research through the Council.

She rose through the ranks within SAMRC between 2016 and 2019 as she served the Council as an ordinary Board Member. Being the ViceChairperson for the board comes with huge responsibilities and that includes overseeing governance of the organisation. My tenure with the council equipped me with skills to accomplish challenging tasks; as I assume this role, I am willing to carry the responsibility on my shoulders.

Since 2016 the established researcher and public health specialist, Prof Skaal has been part of SAMRCSwedish Forte (a threeyear collaborative research project between UL and Lund University) that focuses on healthcare, specifically on inequalities in health and health systems policies. Prof Sodi is a Professor in Psychology at the university's Department of Psychology and has also been reappointed to the council's board for the second term but this time to head the Human Resources and Remuneration Committee.

I am confident that my experience of serving in various statutory bodies will contribute meaningfully to furthering the SAMRC's mission of improving the nation's health and quality of life through promoting and conducting relevant and responsive health research, development, innovation and research translation.

Prof Sodi is a registered and practising clinical psychologist with more than 30 years' of clinical, lecturing, management and consulting experience. He served his first term as the Council's Board Member between November 2016 and October 2019.

His key area of research and specialisation is mental health. He has interests in culture and mental health, indigenous healing systems, African psychology, mental retardation, mental health policy, suicide, phenomenology and phenomenological research, and implementation science research.

Source: University of Limpopo