Houssam al-Nahhas, MD, MPH is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) researcher at Physicians for Human Rights, designing and conducting research activities related to attacks on health care, detention, access to health, human rights violations, and COVID-19 implication in Syria and Yemen. As a researcher with more than eight years of experience in Syria, he works closely with the advocacy and communication departments to develop and implement impact-driven strategies that bring about meaningful change in policies, laws, and practices in the MENA region.
Prior to joining PHR, al-Nahhas was working on the frontlines of health care response to the crisis in Syria in various capacities. He worked with non-profit organizations addressing humanitarian responses by volunteering in a clandestine health network to coordinate a team of health care providers; conducting field assessments; and establishing a referral network to care of injured patients. He was also an emergency room physician in a field hospital in eastern Aleppo, where he prepared for mass casualty incidents from chemical threats. From 2014 to 2018, he supported many types of research related to public and global health and his work in this area has appeared in the European Journal of Public Health, JAMA Surgery, Diabetes & Metabolism, and Annals of Global Health. He also joined FXB Center for Health and Human Rights as a research collaborator to support the data and information needs of the Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria and to support the technical work related to the development of platform prototypes for a Burden of War analysis.
Al-Nahhas started his medical studies at Aleppo University’s Faculty of Medicine in 2006 but transferred to Istanbul University in 2015, where he received his medical degree. He is fluent in English, Arabic, and Turkish and holds a Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.