Syrian Refugee Initiative

The PFMH’s Syrian Refugee Initiative brings an interdisciplinary approach to improving the effectiveness of humanitarian strategies on health, protection and human rights in the MENA region. Zahirah McNatt (DRPH Candidate, HDPFH) is currently leading three research and policy change projects.  Our research team also includes four MSPH students and three Jordanian researchers. 

Refugee Coping in Response to Host-country, Urban Healthcare Policy

Large scale, protracted displacement in the MENA region is straining the political and economic capacities of host countries, and their abilities to make healthcare financially accessible to refugees in urban areas. Host country healthcare policies influence whether refugees are able to prevent illness and maintain good health during and after a crisis, and this is especially challenging with populations exhibiting high-rates of non-communicable disease. The PFMH is launching a mixed-methods longitudinal cohort study with refugee communities in Jordan and Lebanon to better understand how refugees cope with host country healthcare policy and policy changes in urban areas.     

Impact of Family Separation on Syrian Refugees

The protracted refugee situation in the wake of the Syrian conflict has resulted in significant numbers of refugees in Middle East host countries who have family members in third countries. Family members become separated when they are forced to flee at different times, when individuals are lost during flight, or due to economic or security factors that cause families to decide to split up. UNHCR has asked the PFMH to investigate the specific features of family separation as a part of displacement in the MENA region, including how it influences important individual decisions with regards to vulnerability and durable solutions. As displacement has become protracted for Syrians, family reunification pathways provide an essential opportunity for split families to benefit from reunification in safe, orderly and lawful means.

Participatory Action Research with Syrian Youth

Syrian refugee youth in the MENA region face unique challenges, especially those who are separated from one or more of their parent.  Members of the PFMH research team are supporting Syrian youth to document their experiences through visual voice, photo voice and participatory action research approaches.