Contact Info
Professor Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith
The City College of New York and The Graduate Center, CUNY

Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith, Ph.D., ABPP, is a licensed psychologist who is originally from Sierra Leone. She is Board Certified in Group Psychology and a tenured Professor in the Department of Psychology at the City College of New York, the City University of New York (CUNY) and at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She has cared for forced migrants, as well as survivors of torture, armed conflict, and human rights abuses from around the world at the Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture since 1999.

Dr. Akinsulure-Smith served on the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Psychological effect of war on children and families who are refugees from armed conflicts residing in the United States (PEWCF). She has participated in human rights investigations in Sierra Leone with Physicians for Human Rights and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, Human Rights Division and served as a Joint Expert on Gender Crimes and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for the International Criminal Court. She provides forensic evaluations, human rights consultations, and frequently works with attorneys handling cases involving torture, trauma and maltreatment. Drawing on her experiences and research in this area, Dr. Akinsulure-Smith has conducted workshops nationally and internationally addressing the importance of self-care for mental health service providers.

Dr. Akinsulure-Smith’s work has included developing and examining mental health interventions in Sierra Leone and Nigeria. She has published extensively in high impact, peer reviewed journals about service provision to and mental health challenges facing forced migrants. In 2021 she was the recipient of the inaugural Jean Lau Chin Award for Outstanding Psychologist in International Leadership Contributions, Division 52, American Psychological Association. In 2022, she received the American Board of Professional Psychology Citizen Psychologist for Social Justice Award.

Selected Publications (peer-reviewed journals)

Thulin, E.J., McLean, K., Sevalie, S., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Betancourt, T.S. (in press). Mental Health Problems among Children in Sierra Leone: Assessing Cultural Concepts of Distress. Journal of Transcultural Psychiatry.

Zuilkowski, S. S., Thulin, E. J., McLean, K., Rogers, T. M., Akinsulure-Smith, A. M., & Betancourt, T. S. (2019). Parenting and discipline in post-conflict Sierra Leone. Child Abuse & Neglect, 97, 104138.

Zuilkowski, S.S., Collet, K., Jambai, M., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Betancourt, T.S. (2016). Youth resilience in post-conflict settings: An intervention for war-affected youth in Sierra Leone. Human Development, 59, 64-80. doi:10.1159/000448227.

Newnham, E.A., McBain, R.K., Hann, K., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Weisz, J., Lilienthal, G.M., Hansen, N., & Betancourt, T.S. (2015). The Youth Readiness Intervention for war-affected youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(6), 606-611. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.01.02

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Jones, W. L., & Dachos, N. (2013). Nah We Yone’s De Fambul Camp: Facilitating resilience in displaced African children. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 11(3), 221-240. doi:10.1080/15562948.2013.801721.

Rasmussen, A., Chu, T., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Keatley, E. (2013). The social ecology of resolving family conflict among West African immigrants in New York: A grounded theory approach. American Journal of Community Psychology, 52(1-2), 185-196. doi:10.1007/s10464-013-9588-0.

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Smith, H. (2012). Evolution of family policies in post-conflict Sierra Leone. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21, 4-13. doi:10.1007/s10826-011-9495-7.

Rasmussen, A., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Chu, T., & Keatley, E. (2012). “911” among West African immigrants in New York City: A qualitative study of parents’ disciplinary practices and their perceptions of child welfare authorities. Social Science & Medicine, 75(3), 516-525. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.03.042.

Selected Publications (book chapters)

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Smith, H. (2014). Emerging family policies in Sierra Leone. In M. Robila (Ed.), Family policies across the globe (pp. 15-29). New York: Springer.

Betancourt, T.S., Newnham, E.A., Hann, K., McBain, R.K., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Weisz, J.R., Lilienthal, G.M., & Hansen, N.B. (2014). Addressing the consequences of violence and adversity: The development of a group mental health intervention for war-affected youth in Sierra Leone. In J. Raynaud, M. Hodes, & S.S. Gau (Eds.), From research to practice in child and adolescent mental health (pp. 157-178). New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Clauss-Ehlers, C.S., & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2013). Working with forced migrant children and their families: Mental health, developmental, legal, and linguistic considerations in the context of school-based mental health services. In C. Clauss-Ehlers, Z. Serpell, & M. Weist (Eds.), Handbook of culturally responsive school mental health: Advancing research, training, practice, and policy (pp. 135-146). New York: Springer.

Additional Publications

American Psychological Association (2010). Resilience and recovery after war: Refugee children and families in the United States. Report of the APA Task Force on the Psychosocial Effects of War on Children and Families who are Refugees from Armed Conflict Residing in the United States. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Retrieved from: (Member of the APA Task Force).


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