Member, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization
Bio: ABDULWAHAB KHOSHAFA has contributed to Boston-area and national community-building. Immigrating from Yemen over three decades ago as a teen and trained as an architect, he has helped lead the building of solid organizations best serving overall wellness of the Muslim community internally, as well as through optimal interfacing with the general community. He has served on boards of directors of the Islamic Society of Boston, the Islamic Center of Malden, Massachusetts (Outreach Community and Reform Center). He is a longtime member of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and has been part of the Greater Boston Muslim Health Initiative network. He’s been integral to developing the New England Annual Muslim Fest as a way of enriching positive social ties among and overall wellness of all peoples in the region.
Chief Development Officer, UMMA COMMUNITY CLINIC
Bio: Adel Syed, M.P.A. is the Chief Development Officer at UMMA Community Clinic. He oversees the clinic’s development and community relations work, which includes grants, private philanthropic support, and patient outreach and retention. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Service from UC Davis and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University. Adel is a 2011 Fellow of the New Leaders Council, 2013 Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellow, and a 2017 Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation Clinic Leadership Fellow.
Lecturer, University of the Punjab
Bio: AFIFA ANJUM, M.SC, is a lecturer at the Institute of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, where she is nearing completion of her Ph.D dissertation. Formerly a research assistant for the University of Oxford, London, she also has a B.Ed. and worked as school psychologist/teacher before joining the University of the Punjab. She specializes in applied statistics in research, testing and measurement; test development and evaluation; and personality and positive psychology. She has served as in-charge/controller examination at her university and as a member of its semester/examination committee. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D at University of the Punjab and was a recipient of the HEC Indigenous scholarship. Anjum is a contributor on two collaborative research projects at the international level and is an ad-hoc reviewer for two international impact factor journals.
Professor, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Bio: ALEAN AL-KRENAWI, PH.D., is a professor at the Spitzer Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He applies an interdisciplinary research and practice approach centered on diversity and multiculturalism. He has published seven books (with another three in press), 42 book chapters, and 100 journal articles. Oxford Journals named one of his co-authored articles as the most cited of all time in the journal Health and Social Work, and among the top 50 most cited in the English-speaking language across the discipline between 2000 and 2009.
President, Islamic Social Services Association
Bio: ANEESAH NADIR, MSW, PH.D., retired from teaching social work at Arizona State University. She has been a dedicated social worker for more than 40 years, as well as an author, national speaker, diversity trainer and marriage and family life educator. Nadir provides diversity training and seminars for people of various faith traditions interested in providing more effective, culturally competent services when working with Muslim Americans. She also serves as the president of the Islamic Social Services Association-USA, a national nonprofit organization which provides education and training regarding social issues and Muslim Americans including marriage and family, domestic violence and mental and behavioral health.
Carrie York Al-Karam
Visiting Scholar, University of Iowa
Bio: CARRIE YORK AL-KARAM, PH.D., is a visiting scholar in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Iowa. She has published in the areas of psychology and religion, Islamic psychology, complementary and alternative medicine, cultural psychology and international psychology. She holds a doctorate in psychology, an M.A. in Middle East studies and a B.A. in international studies. Her most recent co-edited book is Mental Health and Psychological Practice in the United Arab Emirates (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015). She is currently co-editing her second book on Islamic psychology, due out in 2018.
Counselor, Muslim Center of Detroit
Bio: CHERYL EL-AMIN PH.D., LMSW, has over 25 years of clinical experience in the field of mental health. She has worked as a psychiatric social worker for the Harper Hospital Department of Psychiatry, serving primarily adults and geriatric patients and their families. She recently retired from the Detroit Public Schools Office of Prevention and Intervention as a school social worker where she provided mental health treatment to school-aged children. She treated children with bipolar illness, anxiety, depression and ADHD, provided crisis intervention, grief and trauma, and developmental and/or behavioral concerns that interfered with emotional or academic achievement. She has served as a field instructor for graduate-level social work interns and as a presenter for school social workers, school staff members and the multidisciplinary support service team for the DPS Office of Prevention and Intervention Services. She currently provides pre-marital advisement as a certified FOCCUS facilitator and marital counseling and consultation at the Muslim Center of Detroit and through private practice.
Curtis Hertel, Jr.
Senator, 23rd Congressional District, Michigan State Senate
Bio: Curtis Hertel Jr. is the state senator for the 23rd District in Michigan. He was elected to register of deeds in 2008, and re-elected to a second term in 2012, followed by his election to the State Senate in 2014. He is the son of Curtis Hertel, who was co-speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1993-1994. Hertel also served on the Ingham County Board of Commissioners from 2001-2008. Hertel holds a bachelor's degree from James Madison College at Michigan State University.
Professor, Wayne State University
Bio: CYNTHIA L. ARFKEN, PH.D., is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in alcohol research at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Wayne State, she was on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, in the division of biostatistics and then in the Center for Health Behavior Research (internal medicine). Her research expertise is on alcohol and drug abuse epidemiology and health services research. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and been the principal investigator or co-investigator on multiple NIH and foundation grants. She has been active in the Detroit Wayne County Drug Surveillance Group since its formation. She is also a member of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority Substance Use Disorder Oversight Policy Board.
PhD Candidate, Rutgers University
Bio: DONNA AUSTON is a Ph.D. student in the cultural anthropology program at Rutgers University. Her research interests include race, ethnicity, Islamophobia, gender, the body, phenomenology and embodiment, religion, language, media representation and Islam in America. Her dissertation is an ethnographic study of Islam, race, spirituality and protest through an examination of Black Muslim activism in the northeastern U.S., within the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Deputy/Clinical Director, Khalil Center
Bio: FAHAD KHAN, PH.D., is a Hafiz of the Qur’an (having committed the entire Qur’an to memory) and has completed Islamic studies with various scholars in the Muslim world and the U.S. He is a student at Darul Qasim, continuing his Arabic and Islamic studies under the supervision of Sh. Amin Kholwadia. He is a faculty member at Concordia University Chicago and the College of DuPage. He has conducted research studies on help-seeking attitudes of Muslim Americans, as well as the effects of acculturation and religiosity on psychological distress. The primary focus of his clinical training has been with children and adolescents suffering from serious mental illnesses, however, he has had a broad range of experiences dealing with individuals from all age groups and cultural backgrounds.
Medical Director and CEO, Care Free Medical
Bio: Farhan Bhatti, MD graduated from the MSU College of Human Medicine and began residency in Family Medicine at Sparrow Hospital. Upon completion of residency in July 2015, he began as Medical Director and CEO of Care Free Medical in Lansing. Care Free is a safety-net clinic, which provides primary and mental health care to adults and children who otherwise would go without. Mental health is a passion of his and he provides psychiatric care to patients with mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Because of the lack of access to psychiatry, a major component of the care provided at Care Free by Dr Bhatti is mental health care.
Doctoral Student, Adler University
Bio: FRANCIS SESSO-OSBURN is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Adler University in Chicago. He completed his B.A. in psychology at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and spent two years working in the field of intellectual/developmental disabilities as a support professional and case manager. His work explores military clinical psychology and substance abuse treatment with the hopes of integrating the two areas into one unique focus area. Other research interests involve the LGBT community and advancements towards inclusivity and acceptance of this community in all domains. Sesso-Osburn is the president of the Adler University Military Psychology Student Organization and is Adler’s student representative for the Association of Chicagoland’s Externship and Practicum Training.
Clinical Psychologist, Swedish Covenant Hospital
Bio: FYEQA SHEIKH, PSY.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist practicing at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago. She completed her doctorate in psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, specializing in child and adolescent psychology. Her clinical and research interests include South Asian mental health, Islamic psychology, multicultural psychology, utilizing cognitive-behavioral techniques to treat depression and anxiety, as well as trauma-informed treatment. She participated in the Minority Fellowship Program through the American Psychological Association with her research with Pakistani Muslim American women. Additionally, she served on the executive board of the Division on South Asian Americans within the Asian American Psychological Association. She has a strong interest in integrating Islamic principles into psychotherapy and strives to erase the stigma associated with mental health in the Muslim community.
Halim Naeem, Ph. D
President, Institute Of Muslim Mental Health
Bio: Dr. Halim Naeem is currently the president of The Institute of Muslim Mental Health (www.MuslimMentalHealth.com), the nations' leading experts regarding mental health issues in the Muslim community. He is a practicing psychotherapist and president of his own private practice, Naeem and Associates in Livonia, MI. He specializes in Brain Health, ADD/ADHD, plus clinical intervention & assessment of adolescents and young adults. He has conducted the first research study in the field of psychology on African American Sunni Muslims. He also has a book: "(Like Glue: The Little Book of Marriage Advice We Should Have Stuck to from the Beginning)." Dr. Naeem sits on multiple boards of organizations ranging from Civic Engagement, Educational, Religious, and Professional Mental Health. He is published in magazines, books, articles, speaks at numerous conferences and conventions on spiritual and psychological issues Most importantly, he is a proud husband of 11 years and father of three beautiful children.
Assistant Professor, Yale University School of Medicine
Bio: Hamada Hamid, DO, MPH is an Assistant Professor at Yale University School of Medicine and Co-Director of the Veteran Administration (VA) Epilepsy Center of Excellence in West Haven, CT. His clinical work focuses on epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and neuropsychiatry. His research explores psychiatric co-morbidity of neurologic disease as well as mental health services. He is the Chief Editor of the Journal of Muslim Mental Health and current President of the Institute for Muslim Mental Health.
Founder/CEO - Ally Learning, Director Of Education - Institute Of Muslim Mental Health, Co-Founder - Narratives Of Pain, Wayne State University School Of Medicine
Bio: Muslim Mental Health Conference Master of Ceremonies
Professor, Michigan State University
Bio: HIKMET JAMIL, M.D., DVD, DIH, M.SC., PH.D., MFOM, FFOM.I ,FPH, is a professor in the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine. Jamil received his medical degree from Baghdad University. He holds several postgraduate degrees from England. He is the sole author of 18 books and 174 field research publications. He has given 184 presentations at national and international scientific meetings and has been involved in a number of research projects. He is a of the founder of the International Society of Iraqi Scientists and The Al-Hikma Society of Iraqi Scientists. He has been recognized by multiple governments, institutions and agencies, including the Wayne State University School of Medicine, which presented him with its Teacher Award three times. The Iraqi Medical Sciences Association presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award and he also received Baghdad University’s Shield Award for continuous effort to improve the public health in Iraq.
Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Argosy University Chicago
Bio: HOOMAN KESHAVARZI, M.S., is a licensed clinical professional counselor who holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology. He is currently an adjunct professor of psychology at Argosy University Chicago, American Islamic College and Hartford Seminary. He’s an instructor of psychology at Islamic Online University and executive director of the Khalil Center, a community spiritual and mental wellness center. Keshavarzi is a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding at the Global Health Center, where he conducts research on topics related to Muslims and mental health. A national public speaker and trainer, he also serves as a clinical supervisor of graduate students of clinical psychology at the Village of Hoffman Estates. He presents seminars on specialized topics around multiculturalism and psychology. Keshavarzi has also authored numerous published academic papers in recognized peer-reviewed journals on integrating Islamic spirituality into psychology.
Doctoral Candidate, University of Illinois at Chicago
Bio: IFRAH MAGAN, MSW, is a doctoral candidate in social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work.
Imam Shamsi Ali
Chairman, Al-Hikmah Mosque
Bio: IMAM SHAMSI ALI, PH.D., is a prominent Muslim scholar known for promoting interfaith dialogues among Abrahamic religions in the U.S. He is the chairman of the Al-Hikmah Mosque and the director of the Jamaica Muslim Center in Jamaica, Queens, New York City. Hailing from Indonesia, Ali was educated in Pakistan and received his Ph.D. from Southern California University. He is president of the Nusantara Foundation, a faith-based, social services organization based in New York City, that aims to promote interfaith dialogue and mutual cooperation among Muslims and their fellow community members.
Executive Director, Arab American Family Services
Bio: ITEDAL SHALABI, MSW, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Jane Addams College of Social Work. She is the executive director of Arab American Family Services in Chicago. Shalabi is responsible for all operational aspects of the organization, including overall supervision of the programmatic, management, and administrative functions. She is a recognized trainer locally, nationally and internationally on issues impacting women and children.
Doctoral Candidate, University of Kentucky
Bio: MINNAH W. FAROOK, M.A., ED.S., is a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the University of Kentucky. She graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and attained a Master of Arts in clinical psychology with a counseling specialization from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her research interests focus on acculturation, sociopolitical factors that affect marginalized communities, multicultural competence, psychotherapy outcomes and client feedback. Her clinical interests include trauma recovery, dual diagnosis, identity exploration and culturally competent services. More broadly, she is interested in working with underserved and underprivileged populations and is committed to issues of multiculturalism and social justice.
Chief Executive Officer, University Muslim Medical Association Community Clinic
Bio: MIRIAM Y. VEGA, PH.D, is the chief executive officer of the University Muslim Medical Association Community Clinic in Los Angeles, which serves Latinos, African-Americans and Muslims. Previously she was the vice president of the Latino Commission on AIDS, where she founded the Institute for Hispanic Health Equity with a focus on community-based participatory research. She served as an advisor to the NIH for five years in regards to building authentic community-research partnerships in the Hispanic community. She earned a doctoral degree in social psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on issues of social identity, stigma, culture, social marketing and health. She created the CHANGE model of capacity building. At the United Nations she served as secretary of the Psychology Coalition of NGOs at the UN, and also as a UN NGO main representative of the ECOSOC-accredited Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. She also served as program co-chair for the UN’s annual Psychology Day program, Reducing health inequalities within and among countries: Psychology’s contributions to the United Nations Post-2015 Global Agenda.
Masters Student, Adler University
Bio: MUTAAL S. KHAN is a master’s-level counseling student at Adler University with a specialization in forensic psychology. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree with concentrations in psychology and criminology, law and justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is originally from Karachi, Pakistan, and came to the U.S. to pursue her college career.
Associate Professor, Argosy University
Bio: NAHID AZIZ, PH.D., is an associate professor at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Northern Virginia. She received a Master of Arts degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Alliant International University. Her research interest is in multicultural issues in clinical psychology, including refugee and immigrant mental health, mental health in conflict and post-conflict regions, and mental health of women in the Islamic and developing countries. Aziz was the recipient of the Outstanding Dissertation Award and the 1999 Best Dissertation of the Year at Alliant International University. Her dissertation was a clinical manual for mental health professionals treating Afghan immigrant and refugee women. Aziz is the vice president of Afghan Education For A Better Tomorrow, a non-profit organization that provides health and education services in Afghanistan. She is the co-chair of the Afghanistan Mental Health Workgroup at the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Associate Professor, DePaul University
Bio: NEIL J. VINCENT, PH.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Social Work at DePaul University. He teaches research methods, program evaluation, and foundation practice skills. His research interests are in the areas of intimate partner violence, crime victim services and program evaluation.
Doctoral Candidate, University of Kentucky
Bio: ROBERTO L. ABREU, M.S., ED.S, NCC, is a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the University of Kentucky. He received a bachelor’s degree in science education and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Florida International University. Abreu’s research interests include sexual minority and gender expansive youth, with an emphasis on Latina/o LGBTQ youth and parental and community acceptance. His clinical experiences include working with children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, LGBTQ teenagers, college students, low-income families and immigrants, incarcerated men and women and veterans.
Assistant Professor, University of Illinois
Bio: ROHAN D. JEREMIAH PH.D., MPH, is an assistant professor of Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois, School of Public Health. He is a global public health researcher with expertise in medical anthropology and health education. His research is at the intersections of trauma, HIV/AIDS, and substance use. Jeremiah is a principal investigator on two current studies -- the Chicago Refugee Men’s Health Initiative and the UIC Integrated PASEO, a campus-community partnership to co-locate HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, substance abuse and mental health services for Black/African-American and Hispanic/Latino young LGBT adults. His work has been featured in several academic journals such as the American Journal of Men’s Health, International Journal of Men’s Health, Child Abuse and Neglect, Frontiers Public Health and Global Health Perspectives. He has served as technical advisor to the United Nations, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and USAID.
Doctoral Student, Teachers College, Columbia University
Bio: SARAH ALSAIDI is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She received her bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College in child development and nonfiction writing. After working with survivors of domestic violence at the Arab American Family Support Center, she began her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her interest in cultural diversity and identity lead her to work in multiple nonprofit organizations where she had the opportunity to interact with racial and ethnic minorities, survivors of domestic violence, and incarcerated individuals. Through these experiences, Alsaidi began to develop her research interest in stigmatization, prejudice and discrimination among both racial and ethnic minority groups, as well as her interest in the influences of culture and religion on mental health stigma and help seeking behavior. Alsaidi is the co-founder and president of the Mental Health Awareness Conference at Teachers College, dedicated to learning about barriers to help-seeking and multicultural competencies among ethnic and racial minorities.