The Team

Our story began as global health students frustrated by the lack of data, resources and momentum for public health in the Middle East.

As government and individual spending on health care sky rocket amidst a rising epidemic of non-communicable diseases and halting progress on diseases of poverty, we decided it was time to look beyond political narratives and flamboyant medical projects to lend voice to global health in the region.

twitter-icon-hover Mariam Bhacker


Ms. Bhacker is a global health professional specialising in reproductive health. She leads the Global Health Middle East team from her current seat in Hanoi, Vietnam. With diverse work experience in non-profits, research and advocacy, Mariam is able to operate across different sectors and networks, connecting ideas and people.

Mariam is of Omani-English nationality and speaks English and Arabic. She has also lived in Sarawak, Holland, Dubai, and San Francisco, where she obtained an MSc in Global Health from the University of California, San Francisco.

Mariam’s global outlook and commitment to preventive healthcare in the Middle East led to the fruition of this initiative. Her role includes vision, fundraising, website development, and social media management as well as writing and editing for the blog.

twitter-icon-hover Yousra Mahamoud

            Resource Coordinator

Ms Mohamoud is an epidemiologist with the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group  at Weill Cornell Medical College – Qatar (WCMC-Q). Her current work focuses on synthesizing epidemiological evidence on hepatitis C virus (HCV) in different population groups in MENA and characterizing the potential for parenteral HIV transmission using HCV data as a proxy measure.

With an MSc in Infectious Disease Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University, Yousra’s previous research activities span health economics, developing alternative methods for the early screening of cervical cancer in remote populations in the USA, and investigating the prevalence of the human papilloma virus among HIV infected women in Malawi.

Yousra is Somali-American and speaks English, Arabic, and Somali. She lends her impressive knowledge of global health in the Middle East to compiling resource guides for the website covering various disease topics.

twitter-icon-hover Zeina Mahayri

           Translator & Contributor

Ms. Mahayri is a health care provider with an MSc in Microbiology and Hematology. Throughout her career, Zeina has long recognised the gap between the Middle East’s potential to enrich genetic and genomic knowledge, and its actual input and output.

Motivated to change this situation, Zeina is enthusiastic to lend her voice to promote regional scientific discovery, and believes that the Middle East is a key cog in finding solutions to the challenges of global health.

Zeina currently works as a supervisor at a Cyto-Genetics unit in Damascus, and lends her significant scientific editing and translation services to the Global Health Middle East team in her spare time.

twitter-icon-hover Shamaila Usmani

           Mental Health Coordinator

Ms. Usmani is a public health professional with a special interest in global mental health. Most recently involved in the establishment of the Mental Health Innovation Network (, a collaboration between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the WHO, she is actively transitioning into Clinical Psychology to better assist culturally and religiously diverse populations suffering from mental health problems.

Shamaila graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a Masters in Public Health, with a focus on International Health. She has related experience in South Asia, the Middle East, North America and Europe, and brings crucial insights into regional mental health to Global Health Middle East.

twitter-icon-hover Sara Al Lamki

           Reproductive Health Contributor

Ms. Lamki is a Reproductive Health professional with a special interest in women’s issues. A former Ashoka Young Champion of Maternal Health, Sara has varied experience in the UK, Middle East and South East Asia. From her former position at the UNFPA GCC Area Office in Muscat, Sara worked with a special focus on Reproductive Health and Youth Awareness programmes in Oman and the rest of the GCC.

During her time in the UK, Sara received an MSc in Reproductive Science and Women’s Health from the EGA Institute for Women’s Health at UCL in London, and had a chance to work with an international faculty on varying qualitative and quantitative research, with a focus on Global Public Health.

Sara is Omani and Speaks Arabic, English and Swahili.

twitter-icon-hover Amina Foda

            Adolescent and Mental Health Contributor

Ms. Foda is a MPH candidate at Columbia University and concentrates on the study of epidemiology and the social determinants of health. Her professional and academic goals are based on understanding the psychosocial risk factors of chronic diseases and health disparities among Arab populations around the world, and contributing to closing the gap between research and clinical or public health practice. Having grown up primarily in the Bay Area of California with an affinity for and roots in Cairo, Egypt she hopes to use her own cultural identity to contribute productively to the improvement of mental health among Arab youth. She currently contributes to global mental health and child and adolescent mental health research.


twitter-icon-hover Hedieh Mehrtash

           NCD Contributor

Ms Mehrtash is an MPH candidate at the Boston University School of Public Health, where she specialises in International Health. Her interests lie in health system strengthening in the Middle East to address the rising tide of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Her personal experience with her father’s battle with cancer has led her to focus on the barriers and facilitators to expanding cost effective cancer care in the region.

Hedieh is originally from Iran, but spent her formative years in Dubai, and has an undergraduate degree in Human Physiology from BU. She speaks English, Farsi, and French. An active networker for Global Health Middle East in Boston and on Twitter, Hedieh will be sharing her knowledge of NCDs via our blog.

twitter-icon-hover Laila Soudi

           Refugee Health Contributor

Ms. Soudi is currently a fourth-year undergraduate at UC Berkeley, where she studies neuroscience. Laila, also serves as the co-founder and president of a student organization that aims to take science out of the ivory tower and into low resource-settings where it is actually needed.

Born and raised in Jordan, Laila was exposed first-hand to the struggles of the Palestinian, Iraqi, and Syrian refugees who were never granted access to either health care or education. Subsequent to graduating from UC Berkeley, Laila will attend UCSF to obtain a MSc in Global Health Sciences and subsequently obtain an MD/PhD in neuroscience. At the end, she aspires to use her education to effect change among refugee populations in the Middle East.


We scour the internet to find the latest research, news and events relating to global health in the Middle East and assemble it into easily accessible, easy to read guides. We will be adding disease specific resources soon, so watch this space.


The platform connects health professionals, NGOs, health activists and individuals through our blog and social media integration, facilitating dialogue and the co-creation of knowledge.


Moving forward, we will visually communicate regional disease burden, research projects, and public health initatives through infographics and interactive maps. These resources will help to identify critical gaps in public health research, policy and practice, providing a basis to advocate for resources and policy change.

Would you like to contribute?

Global Health Middle East welcomes contributions to the blog in both English and Arabic.

We are also looking for talented volunteers to assist with translation, social media management, web development, and graphic design.

Join Us