Professor David Ndetei received his first degree, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), from the University of Nairobi in 1975. In 1980 he received Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (MRCPsych) in the United Kingdom, followed by a PhD degree from the University of Nairobi in 1985. Later, in 2004, he was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych) and in 2013, Doctor of Science (DSc) from the University of Nairobi.
He is currently Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nairobi, a position he has held since 1995, and the Founding Director of Africa Mental Health Foundation (AMHF).
His work at AMHF involves conducting innovative implementation research that seeks to inform provision of affordable, appropriate, available and accessible mental health services in primary healthcare with a focus on the following areas: community mental health; incorporating mental health in treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension; mother-child health; early childhood development; school mental health including substance use and suicide.
He has been the PI or Co-I of most Kenyan published clinical and community epidemiological studies on mental health and substance abuse which are the basis for practice in Kenya. He has authored six books, 21 monographs, and over 250 publications in peer reviewed Journals.