Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith


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Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs


North Academic Center







Professor Adeyinka Akinsulure-Smith

Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith


Adeyinka M. Akinsulure-Smith, Ph.D., ABPP, is a Sierra Leonean born licensed psychologist. She is Board Certified in Group Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). 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. 

Guided by the urgent need to acknowledge and provide culturally informed services for survivors who have fled their home countries and are struggling with mental health challenges and/or with psychosocial disabilities, Dr. Akinsulure-Smith’s research utilizes qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches to better understand and address such challenges, while working with local partners to improve validity and cultural significance. Over the years, her advocacy, clinical work, research and teaching have focused on three specific areas: i) Experiences of forced migrants, survivors of human rights abuses and armed conflict; ii) Mental health interventions in low resource settings; and iii) Mental health consequences of service provision.

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 maltreatment, torture, trauma and capital punishment. 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.

In addition to her teaching and clinical work, Dr. Akinsulure-Smith is the recipient of several grants.  Her work has included the development and examination of  mental health interventions in Sierra Leone and Nigeria.  She has published extensively in high impact, peer reviewed journals including, Journal of Traumatic Stress, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Journal of Child and Family Studies, Human Development, PLOS, Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health, American Journal of Community Psychology, and Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma. 

In 2021 Dr. Akinsulure-Smith was honored with the inaugural Jean Lau Chin Award for Outstanding Psychologist in International Leadership Contributions by Division 52 of the American Psychological Association.  In 2022, she was presented the American Board of Professional Psychology Citizen Psychologist for Social Justice Award. Most recently, in January 2024, Dr. Akinsulure-Smith was appointed as the inaugural Mabel Shelby Fellow at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, the City College of New York for research on topics related to women’s and gender studies.

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Ph.D., Counseling Psychology
Columbia University

M.Phil, Counseling Psychology
Columbia University

Ed.M., Psychological Counseling
Teachers College, Columbia University

M.A., Psychological Counseling
Teachers College, Columbia University

B.A., Honors Psychology
University of Western Ontario

Courses Taught

Psychology 31906 - Trauma and Resilience
Psychology 24600 - Infancy and Childhood
Psychology 35600 - Adolescence and Youth
Psychology 35500 - Women and Violence
Psychology 41000 - Contemporary Issues in Human Rights and Social Justice

U ED 71100 - Immigration and the Intersection of Education, Law and Psychology
Psychology V 6540 - Trauma and Resilience
Psychology V6532 - Theories and Techniques of Counseling
Psychology V6560 - Multicultural Issues in Counseling
Psychology V6597 - Foundations of Counseling


Research Interests

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


Publications (peer-reviewed journals)

Freeman, J. A., Desrosiers, A., Schafer, C., Kamara, P., Farrar, J., Akinsulure-Smith, A. M., & Betancourt, T. S.  (2023).  The adaptation of a youth mental health intervention to a peer-delivery model utilizing CBPR methods and the ADAPT-ITT framework in Sierra Leone. Transcultural Psychiatry, 13634615231202091.

Abdi, S., Akinsulure‐Smith, A. M., Sarkadi, A., Fazel, M., Ellis, B. H., Gillespie, S., ... & Betancourt, T. S.  (2023).  Promoting positive development among refugee adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence.

Akinsulure-Smith, A. M., Andjembe Etogho, E. B., & Genco, S. H.  (2023).  Exploring the Role of Traditional Women Society Membership Among West African Immigrant Women Who Have Experienced Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.  Violence Against Women, 10778012231181046.

Min, M., Espinosa, A., & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M.  (2023).  My body, my culture: Understanding body image concerns among West African immigrant women.  Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health,23(3), 634-642

Johnson-Agbakwu, C. E., Michlig, G. J., Koukoui, S., Akinsulure-Smith, A. M., & Jacobson, D. S.  (2023).  Health outcomes and female genital mutilation/cutting: how much is due to the cutting itself?  International Journal of Impotence Research, 35(3), 218-227.

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Sicalides E., & Diallo, M.  (2023).  Evaluating survivors of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting for Immigration Court – Opportunities and challenges for licensed mental health professionals.  Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 54(2), 167-176.

Akinsulure-Smith, A. M., & Min, M.  (2023). What African immigrant service providers can teach us about the needs of African immigrant survivors of FGM/C. Health Care for Women International, 1-12.

Desrosiers, A., Schafer, C., Bond, L., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Hinton, M., & Betancourt, T. S.  (2023). Exploring potential mental health spillover effects among caregivers and partners of youth in Sierra Leone: A qualitative study. Cambridge Prisms: Global Mental Health, 10, e40.

Min, M., Wong, T. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2022).  Exploring beliefs, & attitudes towards Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting among health care providers in New York City.  Violence Against Women, 28(12-13), 3174-3193,

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Wong, T., & Min, M. (2021).  Addressing Female Genital Cutting among service providers in New York.  Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 52(3), 202-212.

Mumey, A., Sardana, S., & Akinsulure-Smith, A. M. (2021). Sharing power and building trust: recommendations for conducting research with sex trafficking survivors. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved, 32(2), 631-637.

Mumey, A., Sadana, S., Richardson-Vejlgaard, R., & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2020).  Mental Health Needs of Sex Trafficking Survivors in New York City: Reflections on Exploitation, Coping, & Recovery. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 13(2), 185-192.

Thulin, E.J., McLean, K., Sevalie, S., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Betancourt, T.S. (2020). Mental Health Problems among Children in Sierra Leone: Assessing Cultural Concepts of Distress. Journal of Transcultural Psychiatry, 1363461520916695.

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.

Espinosa, A., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Chu, T. (2019). Emotional intelligence and occupational stress among refugee resettlement workers: The mediating role of coping behaviors. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 11(1).

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Conteh, J.A. (2018). The emergence of counseling in Sierra Leone. Journal of Counseling and Development, 96, 327-334.

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Chu, T., Espinosa, A., & Hallock, R. (2018). Secondary traumatic stress and burnout among refugee resettlement workers: The role of coping and emotional intelligence. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31, 202-212. DOI 10-1002/jts.22279

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Anosike, E., & Nwaubani, K. (2017). A model for community based psychosocial Services in Nigeria. Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Mental Health, 1-4. DOI 10.1007/s40737-017-0085-x

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Chu, T. (2017). Knowledge and attitudes toward female genital cutting among West African male immigrants in New York City. Health Care for Women International, 38(5), 463-477.

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2016). Resilience in the face of adversity: African immigrants mental health needs and the American transition. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 1-21. DOI: 10.1080/15562948.2016.1238989

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. & Sicalides, E. (2016). Female genital cutting in the United States: Implications for mental health services. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 47(5), 356-362. DOI:10.1037/pro0000079

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

Betancourt, T.S., Brennan, R.T., Vinck, P., Brennan, R.T., VanderWeele, T.J., Spencer-Walters, D., Jeong, J., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Pham, P. (2016). Associations between mental health and Ebola related health behaviors: A regionally representative cross-sectional survey in post-conflict Sierra Leone. PLoS Medicine, 13(8): e1002073. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002073

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Mirpuri, S., Chu, T., Keatley, E. & Rasmussen, A. (2016). Made in America: Perspectives on friendship in West African immigrant families. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25, 2765-2777. DOI 10.1007/s10826-016-0431-8

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Chu, T. (2016). Exploring female genital cutting among survivors of torture. Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health, 19(3), 769-773, 10.1007/s10903-016-0419-x

Chu, T. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2015). Health outcomes and attitudes towards female genital cutting in a community-based sample of West African immigrant women from high-prevalence countries in New York City. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 1-25.

Chu, T., Rasmussen, A., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Keatley, E. (2015). Exploring community engagement and cultural maintenance among forced and voluntary West African immigrants in New York City. Journal of International Migration and Integration. 1-16, DOI: 10.1007/s12134-015-0443-z

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.2015.01.020

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2014). Displaced African female survivors of conflict-related sexual violence: Challenges for service providers. Violence Against Women, 20(6), 677-694. DOI: 10.1177/1077801214540537

Betancourt, T.S., McBain, R.K., Newnham, E.A., Hann, K., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Brennan, R.T., Weisz, J.R., & Hansen, N.B. (2014). A behavioral intervention for war-affected youth in in Sierra Leone: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53(12), 1288-1297. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.09.011

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2014). Exploring female genital cutting among West African immigrants. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 16, 559-461. DOI 10.1007/s10903-012-9763-7

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2014). Exploring HIV knowledge, risk and protective factors among West African forced migrants in New York City. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 16, 481-491. DOI: 10.1007/s10903-013-9829-1

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. & Keatley, E. (2014). Secondary trauma and local mental health professionals in post-conflict Sierra Leone. International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling. 36(2), 125-135. DOI: 10.1007/s10447-013-9197-5

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., Chu, T., Keatley, E. & Rasmussen, A. (2013). Intimate partner violence among West African immigrants. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 22, 109-126. DOI: 10.1080/10926771.2013.719592

Muzacz, A. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2013). Older adult sexuality: Implications for counseling ethnic and sexual minorities. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 35, 1-14.

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. DOI: 10.1002/jts.21684

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. DOI: 10.1080/01933922.2011.646086

Rasmussen, A., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Chu, T. & Keatley, E. (2012). “911” among West African immigrants in New York City: A qualitative study of disciplinary practices and perceptions of child welfare authorities. Social Science & Medicine, 75(3), 516-525.

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. DOI: 10.1002/jts.21684

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

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 sSurvivors 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. DOI: 10.1108/17479891111176287

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. DOI: 10.1108/17479891111176296

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. DOI: 10.1080/02703140802384602

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. DOI: 10.1080/01933920902798007

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. (1996). White racial identity and expectations about counseling. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 24,  218-228.

Publications (books)

Barber-Rioja, V., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Vendzules, S. (2022). Mental Health Evaluations in Immigration Court: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals  New York: NYU Press.

Publications (book chapters)

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. & Smith, H.E.  (in press). “You in Americuh, Now”: African Forced Migrants in the 21st Century US. Rich., G.J, Kaplin, D., Kuransky, J, & Gielen, U. (Eds.). Coming to America: Psychosocial Experiences and Adjustment of Migrants. Elsevier Publishers

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Smith, H.E. (2019). Recreating family and community networks: Group interventions with forced migrants. In S.M. Berthold & K. Libal (Eds). Refugees and Asylum-Seekers in the United States: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. ABC-CLIO Press (Imprint: Praeger).

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., Anosike, E., & Nwaubani, K. (2017). Examining community based psychosocial service in sub-Saharan African: Amaudo Itumbauzo – Settlement of Peace. In C.E. Stout & G. Wang (Eds). Why Global Health Matters: How to (Actually) Make the World a Better Place (pp. 326-244). Seattle, WA: CreateSpace.

Rasmussen, A., Akinsulure-Smith, A.M., & Chu, T. (2016). Grounded theory in community psychology. In L. A. Jason & D. S. Glenwick (Eds). Handbook of methodological approaches to community-based research: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods (pp. 23-32). New York: Oxford University Press.

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.

Berthold, S.M. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2014). Survivors and victims of terrorism. In A. Glitterman (Ed.). Handbook of Social Work with Vulnerable and Resilient Populations (pp. 484-408), 3rd Ed., New York: Columbia University Press.

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.

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.

Robila, M. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2012). Psychological ethics and immigration. In M.M. Leach, M.J. Stevens, A. Ferrero, Y. Korkut, & G. Lindsay (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of International Psychological Ethics (pp. 191-200). New York: Oxford University Press.

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: Springer.

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2007). Use of Interpreters with Survivors of Torture, War, and Refugee Trauma.  In Smith, H.E., Keller, A.S., & Lhewa, D.W. (Eds.). “…Like a Refugee camp on First Avenue.” Insights and Experiences from the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture (pp. 82-105). New York: The Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture.

Porterfield, K. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2007). Therapeutic Work with Children and Families. In Smith, H.E., Keller, A.S., & Lhewa, D.W. (Eds.). “…Like a Refugee camp on First Avenue.” Insights and Experiences from the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture (pp. 299-336). New York: The Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture.

Smith, H.E. & Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2004). A global perspective on youth outreach. In C.S. Clauss-Ehlers & M.D. Weist (Eds.), Community Planning to Foster Resiliency in Children (pp. 127-140). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum publishers.

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2003). The black-eye peas group game. In Kaduson, H.G. & Schaefer, C.E. (Eds.), 101 Favorite Play Therapy Techniques (Vol. 3), Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc.

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).

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (2004). Giving voice to the voiceless: Providing interpretation for survivors of torture, war, and refugee trauma. The Gotham Translator, 6-7.

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (January 1, 2002). African women don’t get the blues. Mu Yepe, 1, 4-5.

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. & Smith, H. (2002). Mission to Freetown. Mano Vision, 26/27, 12-13.

Akinsulure-Smith, A.M. (May 10, 2000). Perspective on Sierra Leone; rape and trauma arise from a deal made in hell; peacekeeping won’t do. International peacemaking must show it viability in Africa. Los Angeles Times, Part B; p. 9.