#OpenGaza: Trauma and Hope, First Hand

Yasser Abujamei, MDPlease mark your calendars for an upcoming US speaking tour with Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, Psychiatrist M.D. and Executive Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, and Ran Goldstein, Executive Director of Physicians for Human Rights — Israel.

The two will be touring and speaking in the US from October 11 through November 3, 2015, on the west coast and in Boston, New York and Washington, DC.

Dr. Abu Jamei and Mr. Goldstein will  be describing the dire situation of physical and psychological health in Gaza through a lens of personal experience and their efforts to help. Children are especially impacted, as shown in the staggering numbers of children killed and injured last summer and the extremely high rates of ongoing traumatic stress. The impact of ongoing violence on psychological health is exacerbated by the ongoing blockade, the destruction and defunding of schools, loss of family members and friends, and stalled reconstruction efforts.

Stay tuned for more information and specifics about dates and times of events and read more below about each of the speakers. For now, the tentative schedule for Dr. Abu-Jamei and Mr. Goldstein’s visit in the greater Boston area includes:

Thursday, Oct. 22: Boston, MA
11:30AM: Cambridge Health Alliance – Cambridge, MA
4:00 – 5:15PM: Visit to the University of Massachusetts, Boston Psychology Department for the course: “Psychological Trauma”
7:00PM: Open Community Event at First Baptist Church of Jamaica Plain 633 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Saturday, Oct. 24 – Boston, MA
Morning: Private Event
2:00-3:30PM: Open Community Event at First Church of Cambridge Congregational, 11 Garden Street (near the Sheraton Commander and a short walk from Harvard Square)
Evening: Private Event

Dr. Yasser Abu-Jamei MD, MSc, a psychiatrist, is the Executive Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.  He was born in 1974 in Saudi Arabia and has lived in Gaza-Palestine since 2000. In 2002 he joined Gaza Community Mental Health Programme as a student in the High Diploma Programme in Community Mental Health. From June 2004 to March 2009, he worked for the Training & Research Department as a Psychiatrist-Clinical Supervisor and from March 2009 he worked as the Director of the Training and Research Department. In January 2014, he became the Executive Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, and brings a special interest in neuropsychiatry, child and adolescents psychiatry, and advocacy and policy change.  Last year on July 21, 2014 during the bombing of Gaza, twenty-eight members of Dr. Yasser’s extended family were breaking their Ramadan fast with their iftar dinner when their home was hit by an Israeli missile.  All were killed including the nineteen children and three pregnant women.

Ran Goldstein is Executive Director of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel. Formerly Head of Communication of ICRC Delegation to Israel and the Occupied Territories, Senior Strategy and Communications Consultant to various Israeli Civil Society Organizations. Prior to this he worked as a journalist for a number of leading Israeli media outlets. Founder and board member of a newly established Israeli NGO, “Akevot,” Institute for Israeli–Palestinian conflict research, Goldstein led numerous campaigns on human rights issues in Israel focused on most vulnerable population that live in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel.