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Faculty and Staff Profiles

Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith

Assistant Professor


Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership



Affiliated Departments

Women's Studies


NAC 7/302

p: 212-650-5706

f: 212-650-5659


  • Profile

     Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith, Ph.D. holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University. Originally from Sierra Leone, she is a licensed psychologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at City College of the City University of New York. She has extensive clinical experience working with war trauma survivors, refugees, asylees and asylum seekers, survivors of sexual violence, persons afflicted with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and culturally diverse populations. Since 1999, Dr. Akinsulure-Smith has cared for forced migrants from around the world at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. 

     Dr. Akinsulure-Smith is a proud co-founder of Nah We Yone, Inc., a non-profit organization created in 1997 to proactively respond to war victims from the various communities within the African Diaspora. From 1997-2010, Nah We Yone served over 500 African refugees and asylees and their families in New York City, offering them direct services and referrals to legal, mental health, and social services. Dr. Akinsulure-Smith and her co-founders at Nah We Yone are 2003 winners of New York City’s prestigious Union Square Awards. Dr. Akinsulure-Smith received the Early Career Award from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2005. In 2009 the Hunter College Center for Community and Urban Health selected Dr. Akinsulure-Smith to receive a four-year fellowship in the Research in HIV Intervention Skills for the Community program, funded by National Institute of Mental Health

                 From 2008-2010, she served on the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the Psychosocial Effects of War on Children and Families Who are Refugees from Armed Conflict Residing in the United States. Along with Drs. Rasmussen and Chu, she is a founding member of the West African Families Project, a multi-site community research collaboration committed to developing psychosocial supports for West African immigrants in New York. In addition to research and scholarly publications, Dr. Akinsulure-Smith has been integrally involved in human rights investigations in Sierra Leone with Physicians for Human Rights and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, Human Rights Division. In 2010, she was retained by Trial Chamber III to serve as a joint expert on gender crimes and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for all parties and participants in a case before the International Criminal Court.

  • Education

    Degree/Date: Ph.D., 1997
    Institution: Columbia University
    Specialization: Counseling Psychology

    Degree/Date: M.Phil, 1995

    Institution: Columbia University
    Specialization: Counseling Psychology

    Degree/Date: Ed.M., 1992

    Institution: Teachers College, Columbia University
    Specialization: Psychological Counseling

    Degree/Date: M.A., 1991

    Institution: Teachers College, Columbia University
    Specialization: Psychological Counseling

    Degree/Date: B.A., 1989

    Institution: University of Western Ontario
    Specialization: Honors Psychology

  • Courses Taught

    Undergraduate Courses
    PSYCHOLOGY 25600 - Adolescent Development
    PSYCHOLOGY 3139E - Women and Violence
    PSYCHOLOGY 41000 - Contemporary Issues in Human Rights and Social Justice

    Graduate Courses

    PSYCHOLOGY B9732 - Theories and Techniques of Counseling
    PSYCHOLOGY B9760 - Multicultural Issues in Counseling

  • Research Interests

    Experiences of forced migrants; impact of torture, human right abuses, war, armed conflict and displacement;  vicarious trauma in service providers; HIV/AIDS risk and preventative factors among African immigrants; and multicultural issues.


  • Publications

    Refereed articles:

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Jones, W.L. & Dachos, N. (in press). Nah we Yone's De Fambul Camp: Facilitating resilience in displaced African children. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies.

    Muzacz, A. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (in press). Older adult sexuality: Implications for counseling ethnic and sexual minorities. Journal of Mental Health Counseling.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Chu, T., Keatley, E. & Rasmussen, A. (in press). Intimate partner violence among West African immigrants. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (in press). Displaced African female survivors of conflict-related sexual violence: Challenges for service providers. Violence Against Women.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M.(2012, Dec). Exploringfemale genital cutting among West African immigrants. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 14(6). Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10903-012-9763-7.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M.(2012). Responding to the trauma of sexual violence in asylum seekers: A clinical case study.Clinical Case Studies, 11(4), 285–298.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2012). Using group work to rebuild family and community ties among displaced African men, Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 37(2), 95-112.

    Rasmussen, A., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Chu, T. & Keatley, E. (2012, May 15). “911” among West African immigrants in New York City: A qualitative study of disciplinary practices and perceptions of child welfare authorities. Social Science & Medicine, Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.socscmed.2012.03.042.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Keatley, E. & Rasmussen, A. (2012). Responding to secondary traumatic stress: A pilot study of torture treatment programs in the United States. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25, 232-235.

    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.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. & O’Hara, M. (2012). Working with forced migrants: Therapeutic issues and considerations for mental health counselors. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 34, 38-55.

    Smith, H.E. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2011). Needed – Not Just Needy: Empowerment as a Therapeutic Tool in the Treatment of Survivors of Torture and Refugee Trauma. African Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2, 17-31.

    O’Hara, M. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2011). Working with interpreters: Tools for clinicians conducting psychotherapy with forced immigrants, International Journal of Migration, Health, and Social Care, 7, 33-43.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. & Jones, W. L. (2011). Nah We Yone – A grassroots community based organization in New York City: Successes, challenges, and lessons learned, International Journal of Migration, Health, and Social Care, 7, 44-57.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2010). Torture. In Clauss-Ehlers, C.S. (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 27-29). New York, NY: Springer.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Ghiglione, J. & Wollmershauser, C. (2009). Healing in the midst of chaos: Nah We Yone’s African women’s wellness group, Women & Therapy, 32, 105-120.

    Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., (2009). Brief psychoeducational group treatment with re-traumatized refugees and asylum seekers. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 34(2), 137-150.

    Amowitz, L.L., Reis, C., Lyons, K.H., Vann, B., Mansaray, B., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Taylor, L. & Iacopino, V. (2002). Prevalence of war-related sexual violence and other human rights abuses among internally displaced persons in Sierra Leone. Journal of the American Medical Association, 287, 513-521.

    Carter, R.T., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Smailes, E.M. & Clauss, C.S. (1998). The Status of Racial/Ethnic Research in Counseling Psychology: Committed or Complacent? Journal of Black Psychology. 24, 322-334.

    Carter, R.T. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (1996). White racial identity and expectations about counseling. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 24, 218-228.

    Manuscripts under review: