Our Team


Professor Preeti Patel King’s College London
Professor Rita Giacaman Birzeit University
Dr Adam Coutts University of Cambridge
Dr Brendan Burchell University of Cambridge
Professor Cengiz Kılıç Hacettepe University
Dr Deborah Mukherji American University of Beirut
Dr Fouad M. Fouad American University of Beirut
Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah American University of Beirut
Dr Hanna Kienzler King’s College London
Dr Kai Ruggeri University of Cambridge
Dr Omar Shamieh King Hussein Cancer Centre
Professor Richard Harding King’s College London
Professor Şevkat Bahar Özvarış Hacettepe University
Professor Simon Deakin University of Cambridge
Professor Tezer Kutluk Hacettepe University
Brad Robinson King’s College London
Kristen Meagher King’s College London
Dr Fahad Ahmed Hacettepe University
Shayma’a Turki King Hussein Cancer Center
Dr Abdulkarim Ekzayez King’s College London
Dr Abdullatif Hussein Birzeit University
Alessandro Massazza King’s College London
Ghadeer Alarja King Hussein Cancer Center
Maysaa Nemer Birzeit University
Dr Mona Jebril University of Cambridge
Rawan Kafri Birzeit University
Rasha Kaloti American University of Beirut
Dr Sabah Boufkhed King’s College London
Shaymaa Al Waheidi King’s College London
Suzan Mitwalli Birzeit University
Dr Weeam Hammoudeh Birzeit University
Dr Zahi Abdul Sater American University of Beirut
Dr Andreas Papamichail Queen Mary University of London
Dr David Whetham King’s College London
Dr Gemma Bowsher King’s College London
Dr Helen Verdeli Columbia University
Dr Omar Dewachi Rutgers School of Arts and Science
Dr Rabih El Chammay Ministry of Public Health, Lebanon
Dr Simon Horne King’s College London
Wim Zwijnenburg PAX

In Detail


Dr Ajay Aggarwal

Programme Partner and Collaborator

Dr Ajay Aggarwal is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Trust, London. His main research areas are Health Services Research, Global Health and Cancer Policy. He has honorary senior lectureships at King’s College London (Dept. of Cancer Epidemiology and Global Health). University College London (MRC Clinical Trials Unit), and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Dept. of Health Services Research and Policy). He is the current editor of the Journal of Cancer Policy. Since 2013, he has been the oncology coordinator for the National Prostate Cancer Audit, which aims to assess the processes and outcomes of care for all newly diagnosed men in the English NHS. As part of this work, he has developed the first-ever national radiotherapy outcomes public reporting program. He has previously undertaken innovative research using “big data” to demonstrate how patient choice and hospital competition are key drivers in the adoption of high cost surgical devices for cancer treatment. He has worked at the World Health Organisation, and is collaborating with research partners in Ghana, Botswana, South Africa and India on radiotherapy capacity building projects using AI and cloud technologies.

Dr Fahad Ahmed

Programme Management

Dr. Fahad Ahmed is a research assistant at Hacettepe University Institute of Oncology and is project manager for the R4HC-MENA Turkish team. He graduated as a medical doctor from Humdard University, Karachi and holds PhD in Epidemiology from Hacettepe University, Ankara.

Ghadeer Alarja

Research Associate

Ghadeer Alarja is the Senior Palliative Researcher and Instructor at King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC). Ghadeer has substantial clinical experience in palliative care as a senior nurse coordinator. She completed her postgraduate diploma in palliative care from KHCC and the University of Jordan. Ghadeer is currently focusing on capacity building for clinical research, education and training related to cancer & palliative care under through R4HC-MENA.

Dr. Sabah Boufkhed

Research Associate

Sabah Boufkhed is a Research Associate in Global Health at the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London. She is working on the Palliative Care aspects of the R4HC-MENA project; and has led research aiming at evaluating the preparedness of palliative care services to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, MENA, India and Asia-Pacific region. Prior to this work, she conducted research on migrant workers’ health and exploitation, global health, and preparedness and response to public health emergencies.

Sabah earned a PhD in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Master’s degrees in Epidemiology, and Humanitarian Action and Law. She co-founded organisations aiming at empowering and supporting women and ‘minorities’ in science and academia, is a Trustee for a Development NGO and a migration expert for a think-tank.

Dr Gemma Bowsher

Programme Partner and Collaborator

Gemma Bowsher is a medical doctor and senior research associate with the King’s College London Conflict and Health Research Group (CHRG). Gemma qualified in medicine in London and completed further academic research training at Harvard University where she gained a master’s in Medical Anthropology. She combines clinical work in London with research exploring health intelligence, global health security and conflict at King’s. She has been awarded a LISS-DTP doctoral scholarship to investigate antimicrobial resistance in conflict settings.

Dr Brendan Burchell


Dr Brendan Burchell (Dept of Sociology, Cambridge)

Dr Rabih El Chammay

Programme Partner and Collaborator

Rabih El Chammay is a psychiatrist and currently the head of the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) at the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in Lebanon. After founding the program, he led the development of the first National Mental Health and Substance Use Strategy 2015-2020 aiming at reforming the Mental Health System in Lebanon towards community-based mental health services in line with Human rights and latest evidence that is currently under implementation.

Dr Adam Coutts


Dr. Adam Coutts (Dept of Sociology, Cambridge) is co-ordinating the Political Economy workstream within the R4HC-MENA programme building on his extensive experience of working in the region.

Professor Simon Deakin


Professor Simon Deakin (Centre for Business Research) is the lead co-investigator with overall responsibility for the Cambridge components of the R4HC-MENA programme. He specialises in the economics of law with a focus on market regulation. His work takes a holistic approach to the study of economic development and growth, combining historical research, interview-based fieldwork, and data analytics.

Dr Omar Dewachi

Programme Partner and Collaborator

Omar Dewachi is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Social Medicine and Global Health. Trained as a physician in Iraq, he received his doctorate in social anthropology from Harvard University in 2008. He is currently conducting ethnographic research on the ecologies of wounds and wounding that explores the biosocial life of war wounds across the Middle East.

Dr Abdulkarim Ekzayez

Research Associate

Dr. Abdulkarim Ekzayez is a Syrian medical doctor and epidemiologist. He received his MD from Aleppo University and MSc from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Dr Ekzayez’s current work with R4HC, under the Conflict & Health workstream, focuses on building the research capacity for individuals, organisations and institutions to conduct good quality research related to health in conflict settings. His PhD research, at the Department of War Studies at King’s College London, looks at health systems in conflict settings focusing on models to build bottom-up health systems providing case studies of the Syrian conflict, and other similar contexts.

Dr. Fouad M. Fouad


Fouad M. Fouad is Assistant Professor of Practice at the Department of Epidemiology & Population Health. He is also the Co-Director of the Refugee Health Program at the Global Health Institute at the American University of Beirut. Fouad is Co-Investigator of the R4HC MENA project and is leading the Political Economy of Health workstream. He is currently working on a number of research projects related to the Syria crisis and Syrian refugees.

Professor Rita Giacaman


Professor Rita Giacaman is a professor of public health and director of the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University (ICPH/BZU), occupied Palestinian territory. Professor Giacaman is co-leading the mental health research in conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory project along with Dr Hanna Kienzler from the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at KCL.

Dr. Weeam Hammoudeh

Research Associate

Dr. Weeam Hammoudeh is an Assistant Professor of public health and the coordinator of the mental health unit at the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University (ICPH/BZU). She holds a PhD in sociology/demography. She is the training coordinator of the research training component of the mental health research in conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory project, and a curricula developer and trainer along with colleagues from KCL. Weeam is also involved in the research component focusing in uncertainty in wars and conflicts.

Professor Richard Harding


Professor Richard Harding (Cicely Saunders Centre for Palliative Care) is the Director of the Centre for Global Health at the Cicely Saunders Institute. He is leading the palliative care component of the programme.

Dr Simon Horne

Programme Partner and Collaborator

Lt Col Simon Horne works as an emergency medicine consultant in the British Army. He has research interests in remote and austere medicine and global health, which have led to him starting a PhD at KCL looking at Civil-Military relationships in humanitarian emergencies. He is a Senior Lecturer in emergency medicine, the academic lead for the Centre for Defence Health Engagement and runs the UK Military Humanitarian Support Operations course.

Dr. Abdullatif Husseini

Research Associate

Abdullatif Husseini is an associate professor of public health, Director of Teaching, and coordinator of the epidemiology unit at the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University (ICPH/BZU). He holds a PhD in epidemiology and is a curricula developer and trainer for the research training component of the mental health research in conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory along with colleagues from KCL.

Dr. Mona Jebril

Research Associate

Dr. Mona Jebril is a Research Fellow working with Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge on the political economy component of the R4HC- MENA project. She is also a member of the Network of Evidence and Expertise at Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy. Mona has completed an MSc and PhD in higher education and education at Oxford and Cambridge respectively. A teacher and lecturer before then, her research focused on academic life in the Gaza Strip. Mona has produced four films from her PhD. She is also a co-founder of two centres and a scholarship programme in Gaza.

Rawan Kafri

Research Associate

Rawan Kafri holds a MSc degree in Global Health and Development. She is a research assistant at the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University (ICPH/BZU). Rawan is part of the ICPH/BZU team which is completing a needs assessment for training in research methods for mental health in war and conflict along with colleagues from KCL, and will also be involved in supporting the research training component of the mental health research in conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Rasha Kaloti

Research Associate

Rasha Kaloti is a research associate for the R4HC political economy of health workstream at the AUB Global Health Institute. Rasha holds a masters degree in global health and development from University College London (UCL). She has worked on developing public health programmes with multiple non-governmental organisations in the United Kingdom and her home country of Palestine. She has also worked as a researcher with various academic institutions in the Arab region. Rasha has a particular interest in the intersection between conflict, migration and health.

Hala Khalawi

Research Associate

Hala is a research assistant at the Institute of community and public health in Birzeit University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Al-Quds Bard College and an MSc degree in Clinical Neuropsychiatry from King’s College London. Hala previously worked as a researcher at the Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative in Al-Quds University and as a welfare and wellbeing lead volunteer in King’s College London. Hala is currently working with ICPH and Kings’s on the mental health workstream. Specifically, she will be assisting in capacity building activities including the online course and in the research component pertaining to the effects of uncertainty on mental health in the Palestinian context.

Dr. Hanna Kienzler


Dr. Hanna Kienzler is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s College London. She received her PhD in cultural and medical anthropology from the Departments of Anthropology and Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University. An anthropologist, she investigates how systemic violence, ethnic conflict, and complex emergencies intersect with health and mental health outcomes. As part of the R4HC-MENA project, Hanna builds research capacity in the field of mental health in conflict affected areas of the Middle East with particular focus on Palestine.

Professor Cengiz Kılıç


Professor Cengiz Kılıç is currently professor of psychiatry at the psychiatry department of Hacettepe University Medical School in Ankara. His main clinical and research interests are in the area of anxiety disorders, traumatic stress, psychiatric assessment and epidemiology. He has substantial experience in the use of structured interviews such as Schedules for Clinical Assessments in Neuropsychiatry (SCAN) and Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). He is associate editor of two scientific journals: the Turkish Journal of Psychiatry, and the Journal of Traumatic Stress.

Professor Tezer Kutluk


Professor Tezer Kutluk, is based at the Department of Pediatric Oncology Hacettepe University (HU) Medical School Ankara, Turkey. At HU he has served as the Director of Oncology Hospital, Director of Children’s Hospital, President of Institute of Child Health, President of Institute of Oncology, Member of Senate, and CEO of HU Hospital. Professor Kutluk has also served as President of UICC- International Union for Cancer Control. He is currently Chair of Turkish UNICEF national committee and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Global Oncology published by ASCO.

Alessandro Massazza

Research Associate

Alessandro is a PhD student in the Department of Clinical, Educational, and Health Psychology at University College London. His interest lies in the intersection between memory and trauma, investigating how phenomena that take place during the traumatic event influence the likelihood of developing intrusive memories. He is exploring this topic among earthquake survivors in Italy and adolescents exposed to high levels of community violence in Brazil. Alessandro’s previous research has focused on survivors of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. As part of the R4HC-MENA, he is working under the supervision of Dr. Hanna Kienzler and Prof. Rita Giacaman on the mental health strand. At the moment, he is researching the impact of structural uncertainty on the mental health of individuals living in the West Bank.

Kristen Meagher

Research Officer

Kristen Meagher is a Researcher and Programme Manager with R4HC-MENA at King’s College London. Kristen manages the programme’s communications strategy and supports the overall programme management. She is also a Researcher with the Conflict and Health Workstream

Suzan Mitwalli

Research Associate

Suzan Mitwalli is an academic researcher and assistant coordinator of the MPH programme at the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University (ICPH/BZU). Along with colleagues from KCL, she is completing a literature review on uncertainty in wars and conflicts, and will participate in supporting the research training component of the mental health research in conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory. She holds a Master’s degree in Community and Public Health (MPH).

Dr. Deborah Mukherji


Dr. Deborah Mukherji is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center. Dr Mukherji completed her advanced specialty training in Medical Oncology at Guys and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust, London UK and was awarded a Post-Graduate Diploma in Oncology from the Institute of Cancer Research, University of London in 2011. On completion of her advanced specialty training Dr Mukherji joined the Royal Marsden Hospital London where she worked in clinical research and drug development with a focus on prostate cancer. In June 2015 Dr Mukherji was awarded a post-graduate diploma in Global Clinical Research from Harvard Medical School supported by a scholarship from the Dubai-Harvard Foundation. In June 2016 Dr Mukherji was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians UK.

Maysaa Nemer

Research Associate

Maysaa Nemer is an associate researcher at the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University (ICPH/BZU). She holds a PhD in occupational epidemiology and MPhil in International Community Health. Maysaa is part of the ICPH/BZU team which is completing a needs assessment for training in research methods for mental health in war and conflict along with colleagues from KCL, and will also be involved in supporting the research training component of the mental health research in conflict in the occupied Palestinian territory

Professor Şevkat Bahar Özvarış


Professor Şevkat Bahar Özvarış is an academic at Hacettepe University (HU) Medical School, the Director of HU Institute of Public Health, and HU Women’s Research and Implementation Centre. Professor Bahar Özvarış is a medical doctor and public health specialist. She has been working specifically on women, gender issues, violence against women, refugee health, sexual and reproductive health including family planning, health promotion and health education for 30 years.

Preeti Patel is a Reader in Global Health and Conflict in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. Dr Patel is Co-Principal Investigator for the R4HC-MENA programme. She is a multi-disciplinary global health specialist working on countries and populations affected by armed conflict, with a focus on non-communicable disease issues, health systems and humanitarian health. At King’s she co-directs the CHRG. She convenes modules on complex political emergencies and health in the Department of War Studies, and conflict and health at King’s Centre for Global Health. Dr Patel has led several studies on tracking development aid for health in conflict-affected countries, global health governance and health systems in post-conflict areas.

Brad Robinson

Programme Manager

Brad Robinson is the R4HC-MENA programme manager at King’s College London. He works on behalf of Richard to co-ordinate the implementation of the programme’s deliverables and to manage the programme budgets. Brad works closely with colleagues at each of the seven partner institutions.

Dr. Kai Ruggieri


Dr. Kai Ruggieri is Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management at Columbia University and a Senior Research Fellow at the CBR. He studies how policy influences population behaviour, and how integrating evidence into policies can improve economic outcomes and population well-being. His current projects involve a number of data-driven policy studies focusing on large-scale behavioural insights related to economic and health choices.

Dr Zahi Abdul Sater

Research Associate

Zahi is a post-doctoral research fellow for the R4HC MENA cancer workstream based at AUB Global Health Institute. He is also instructor of basic science courses including Biology and Genetics at Phoenicia University, Lebanon. Zahi holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, with a minor in cancer biology, from Indiana University, USA. His research has focused on unraveling the mitotic networks leading to genomic instability in cancer.

Professor Omar Shamieh


Professor Omar Shamieh, Consultant, Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Chairman, Department of Palliative Care and Home Care Services, King Hussein Cancer Centre, Jordan. Professor Shamieh is the founder and Director of the Center for Palliative & Cancer Care in Conflict. The center will implement the R4HC-MENA project in Jordan. Professor Shamieh is also the Director of the National Palliative Care Committee at the Ministry of Health; the Director of the National Home Care Initiative in Jordan; and the Director of the Palliative Medicine Fellowship at KHCC.

Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta


Ghassan Abu Sitta is Assistant Professor and Head of Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at AUB. He is Co-Director of the Conflict Medicine Program at AUB Global Health Institute. Ghassan is a Co-Investigator of the R4HC-MENA programme and will be leading the Cancer in Conflict workstream.

Professor Richard Sullivan

Principal Investigator and Chair

Richard Sullivan is Professor of Cancer and Global Health at King’s College London, Director, Institute of Cancer Policy (ICP) and Director (with Dr Preeti Patel) of the KCL Conflict & Health Research Group. As well as holding a number of Visiting Chairs, Richard is an NCD advisor to the WHO, civil-military advisor to Save the Children, and a member of the National Cancer Grid of India. His research focuses on global cancer policy and planning, and health systems strengthening, particularly conflict ecosystems. He is principle investigator on research programmes ranging from automated radiotherapy planning for low resource settings to use of augmented/virtual reality for cancer surgery, through to political economy to build affordable, equitable cancer control plans. In conflict systems, his research teams have major programs in capacity building in conflict medicine across the Middle East and North Africa (R4HC-MENA), as well as studies of the basic package of health services in Afghanistan, civil-military co-operation in health security, polio eradication and insecurity in Pakistan, and use of intelligence in high security disease outbreaks.

Shayma’a Turki

Programme Management

Shayma’a Turki is the Senior Administrative Assistant of the Center for Palliative and Cancer Care in Conflict at King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan. Shayma’a coordinates and arranges all logistics related to R4HC – MENA Program at King Hussein Cancer Center.

Dr. Helen Verdeli

Programme Partner and Collaborator

Helen Verdeli is the Associate Professor of Psychology and Education, and Founder and Director of the Global Mental Health Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently a consultant with the WHO on the global dissemination of psychosocial treatments. As a project partner with R4HC-MENA, she is leading local capacity-building projects in depression care for both the Lebanese and the displaced communities in Lebanon, in line with Lebanon Ministry of Public Health’s National Mental Health Strategy.

Professor David Whetham

Programme Partner and Collaborator

Wim Zwijnenburg

Programme Partner and Collaborator

Wim Zwijnenburg works as project leader Humanitarian Disarmament at the Dutch peace-organization Pax. His work focuses on (open-source) research and advocacy related to conflict, environment and human health and has published research on conflict-pollution subject in the Middle East and the Ukraine. He also is coordinator of the European Forum on Armed Drones and a contributor to the Bellingcat open-source research collective.