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17th Annual SAMS International Conference Istanbul, July 7 – 9, 2017

July 7, 2017 - July 9, 2017

Syrian American Medical Association Conference poster
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17th Annual SAMS International Conference Istanbul, July 7 – 9, 2017

On July 7, we are excited to be joined by a line-up of compelling and renowned speakers with extensive experience in disaster response, refugee health, healthcare, and medical relief, at our 17th Annual International Conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

Accountability in attacks on healthcare, palliative care, chronic illnesses in conflict zones, and the instrumental role of midwives: these are just a few of the topics that will be discussed.

This year’s international conference will focus on the theme of Dilemmas in Healthcare in Syria: Needs Assessment, Dynamics, and Ethics, featuring presentations and lectures from thought leaders and humanitarians such as Syrian dentist and human rights activist Dr. Radwan Ziadeh, palliative care expert Joan Marston, and Chair of SAMS’s Mental Health Committee, Dr. Khaled Hamza.

Register today to attend the conference! 

Syrian American Medical Association Conference poster

Syrian American Medical Association Conference poster

Speakers include:

Emaad Abdel-Rahman, MBBS, Depression in Chronic Kidney Disease

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Dr. Abdel-Rahman is a Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia. He received his primary degree at Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, completed his residency in Internal Medicine at North Eastern Ohio University, and his fellowship in nephrology at the University of Wisconsin.

Adeeb Alshahrour, M.D., F.A.C.O.G Together, Building Women’s Healthcare for Syria

Dr. Adeeb Alshahrour, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. graduated from medical school on August 1994. He completed his internship in OB/GYN through July 1999 – June 2000, then completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL. Alshahrour is fluent in Arabic, English and Spanish. He has practiced in Illinois and Indiana since 2004, currently he is affiliated with Presence Health System (St. Joseph Hospital, Our Lady of Resurrection Hospital), Weiss Memorial Hospital, Norwegian American Hospital, Saint Anthony Hospital since 1998.

Bassam Awwa, MD, Mental Health Services: Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together

Dr. Bassam Awwa is a psychiatrist with Connecticut Behavioral Health Associates. He completed medical school at Damascus University School Of Medicine. He completed his Fellowships in General Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry at Yale University School Of Medicine in General Psychiatry and West Haven Virginia Medical Center. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor, and a Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry, at Yale University.

Khaled Hamza, PhD, PA, Building the Mental Health Bridge: Where are we and where we need to go and SAMS’s Prospective

Dr. Hamza is a professor of Clinical Mental Health in the Counseling and Special Population Department at Lamar University–Member The Texas State System. He is an educator, researcher, cognitive scientist, and a consulting Forensic Neuropsychologist. He is currently chairman of the SAMS (Syrian American Medical Society) Mental Health Committee which includes mental health professionals from the U.S. as well as outside the U.S., serving four significant refugee zones (Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey) and delivering mental health services to tens of thousands of the 13 million refugees scattered around the world. His publications include refereed scholarly writings, presentations, and speeches delivered at a number of reputable organizations, including medical, psychiatric, and legal conferences and meetings.

Rümeyza Kazancıoğlu MD, Crush Syndrome & Care of the Syrian Dialysis End Stage Kidney Disease in Turkey

Nephrologist Dr. Rümeyza Kazancıoğlu is the ISN Eastern and Central Europe Regional Board Chair, and a rector/professor at Bezmialem Universitesi in Istanbul.

Mazen Kewara, MD, Coordination with NGOs , UN Agencies, and the Humanitarian Community

Dr. Mazen Kewara is a vascular surgeon from Damascus and the Country Director of the Turkey operation of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

Joan Marston, Palliative Care as an Integral Part of the Humanitarian Response

Based in South Africa, Marston has extensive experience in palliative care for children. She acted as the Executive Director of Bloemfontein Hospice and then founded the Sunflower Children’s Hospice in 1998 in Bloemfontein, South Africa, as well a regional network for life-limited children, the St Nicholas Bana Pele Network, in 2009. As the national paediatric development manager for the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa, from 2007 – 2010 Joan and her team developed a strategy for a national network of services, promoting the considerable growth of the number of children’s palliative care services for children in South Africa. Joan was also part of the group that developed the new Guidelines for Persisting Pain in Children, as well as Guidelines for Disclosure in Children, for WHO.

Cindy Nelly, CNM, ARNP, Midwives as Non-Physician Practitioners in Care Delivery for Refugees and During Conflict

Cindy Nelly is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse-Midwife.  She works in the UF Health Labor and Delivery unit providing care for women in triage, labor, and postpartum and in the UF Health Women’s Center at Shands Medical Plaza. She most recently has been working with Syrian refugees in Turkey and Lebanon.  She is also a disaster relief first responder.

Saud Suleiman, MD, Chronic Illnesses in Conflict Zones

Dr. Suleiman specialties include Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine. He is licensed in the state of Florida and has been in practice for over 20 years. Dr. Suleiman attended Damascus University, completed his residency at Mercy Hospital in Chicago and a Fellowship at University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. He has served as the Chief of Gastroenterology Department for Halifax Medical Center from 2004 to 2008. In 2009 Dr. Suleiman was listed as one of America’s top 100 physicians. He speaks English and Arabic.

Radwan Ziadeh, DDS,  Attacks on Health Care Facilities in Syria: The Need for Accountability

Ziadeh is a senior analyst at the Arab Center – Washington D.C. He is the founder and director of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies in Syria ( and co-founder and executive director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C ( He holds a D.D.S in Dentistry from Damascus University, Diploma in international Human Rights Law from College of Law at the American University in Washington D.C, MA in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University in Washington D.C, and MS in Finance from Kogod School of Business at the American University in Washington D.C

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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and for, and

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
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Intercontinental Istanbul Hotel
Istandbul, Turkey + Google Map
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