Research

01/19/12

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"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts

can be counted." –Albert Einstein

My work as an academic involves me in research which I have developed a passion for over the years. My research interests have developed over the years from the research projects that I have carried out since my doctoral thesis. My interest in lay people’s views of development [my dissertation] stemmed from questioning of our community development work when I was working with Save the Children in the early 1980s. This drew my attention to the role of structural determinants of health or the political economy of health and this fueled my next research study at AUB, an ethnographic study of three urban areas of Beirut to study how wider social, political and economic factors lead to social and health inequalities. This revealed the detrimental effects of the legal system on people's well being especially children and their families [Child labor Study and recent Research on Arab Families].I have carried out all these research projects in Lebanon and because of these experiences have come to better understand the social and historical context of health in the country.

Over the past 5 years my research interests have focused on two research areas relevant to the local and regional contexts of the Arab world and which I have found are much needed. These two areas are 1) experiences of war and armed conflicts; and 2) applications of research methodology and the public health practice to non-western settings. My commitment to social justice and respect for emic views prompted me to use participatory approaches such as those I have used in my earlier research to explore and build on people’s views and experiences. This has also led me to investigate the application of research ethics among researchers in the Arab world, such as Lebanon and Qatar.

I consider the most significant contributions as i) giving voice to people affected by war and conflict, which leads to a better understanding of health and related social issues from their perspectives; ii) offering researchers and practitioners much needed practical feedback and recommendations on how to adapt methods to non-western settings. The findings have filled gaps in the body of knowledge on the coping, adaptation and needs of internally displaced persons, refugees and transit migrants; raised critical questions and provided practical implications for fellow researchers, practitioners and policy makers.       

My public health training has exposed me to the function of statistical data and analyses in health outcomes which I find interesting. However, my preferred research approach is naturalistic enquiry or better known as qualitative methodology which I find to be very useful in unraveling the complexities of lived experiences and finding answers to questions from people's point of view.

Recent research projects include a research project on the coping strategies of internally displaced families in post war conditions in selected areas in Beirut and another of Iraqi refugees in Lebanon. I have also been involved in a collaborative study an intervention study with colleagues at FHS to implement a community based intervention to help improve the mental health of Palestinian adolescents living in a refugee camp in Beirut. I hope to embark on a new study with colleagues at the University of Balamand to study how villagers in South Lebanon cope with life among cluster bombs and landmines, another aspect of war. More details on my research can be found in my CV.

 

   

 

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This site was last updated 01/19/12