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As a global clinical professor of psychiatry and health sciences in the School of Medicine at UCSF, his research includes everything from assessing the long-term health effects of war on displaced communities and the psychological and psychiatric effects of conflicts. To children to negative health The impact technology can have on people, especially when it’s not used in a self-aware and conscious way.

His views are universal based on his background. He grew up as a first-generation Palestinian in Detroit, where his family came in in the 1940s because that was the most promising job at the time.

His legacy came from a land that was more culturally, political and social during the time of his parents than it is today.

“Palestine before 1948 was more racial and multicultural,” he said, pondering the stories he heard as children from his parents and grandparents over the years. “The Muslum, Christian and Jewish community made it. Work in whatever style they could at the time

Today, the space has transformed into a society that is divided and disconnected, which is not a great recipe for peace or health. ”

While Jess cares about global health But he is fascinated by the hidden giant, mental health, which is increasing at an alarming rate around the world.

“We have no choice but to change the way we think about global health, practice and training.”

He shared his story about his first trip to Gaza when there was only one psychiatrist for 1.5 million people, compared to 5 psychiatrists for everyone in San Francisco. In San Francisco / Bay Area and other city centers in the US, you can pick up the phone and choose from hundreds of practitioners and doctors. But in developing countries, the ability to access mental health is very difficult.


Jess and his team have created a Mental Health Development Certificate Program in Gaza where they train people into communities and schools and work directly with people, promoting basic health techniques. His work, setting up community health clinics in the Middle East to focus on developing community-based programs for families in crisis, has been very successful. Through his efforts in Gaza today, anyone has access to mental health assistance within twenty years.

Although he is most known for his mental health and humanitarian work in Palestine and along the Gaza Strip. But he is working on transporting the project to India and Latin America. During his travels, he saw the tragic progress of mental health problems, especially more people being disconnected and cut off from their communities and families. Jess said, “We see a change. These are severe global health problems and these are more chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and depression.

These are not drugs. ”Seeing an increasingly disconnected world and the impact this change has on people’s health has given him a job now at home and abroad. The global challenge is how to make people more conscious and aware of the factors that have a negative impact on their health and take action that can change the paradigm we see today.

“We need a new model. We need to train healthcare facilitators who can educate millions of people about re-engagement.

With their families, communities and their bodies “

Among other factors, the increased time spent on technology is one of the factors affecting people’s mental health. Regarding research and time abroad, he said, “People around the world spend more time on their mobile phones, spend more time on technology and work in manufacturing plants, and as a result, they spend less time with their families. Less time communicating with family and community has a negative effect on their health. ”

He adds, “One of the hardest things for me to see is how the psychological damage the world is becoming.” He calls it “over connected disorder,” but says he is not against technology at all. In fact, he thinks mobile technology can help people in developing countries gain a better understanding of their mental health and heal it in real time using positive feedback and communication. From others with similar ailments, they recommend glucometers to families living in apartment complexes and encouraging them to share.

Sharing devices and information on them has led to positive changes in their lifestyles. On the receiving level, they feel that someone cares. The feedback is so important that it leads to important changes and motivates them to take things like better diet and exercise into their lives more. They are responsible for themselves, their communities and their families. It’s not that technology has a negative effect on our mental health, he claims. But how do we relate to it?

He said, “The healthy world means we need to be able to connect with each other and communities in different ways. Many of the difficulties we have, both global and local, are how we nurture our relationships. How do we manage relationships with each other? Are we doing that in a healthy way? ”In other words, technology needs to be improved, and in the meantime, we need to be aware of how we relate to“ it ”on a regular basis. Ask yourself, “How much time do you spend on technology with your family or community and is it balanced?” It is desirable that people are facing tortured political prisoners or people living in the slums. He was particularly interested in how people manage and cope under those conditions, and still amazes at how resilient people are, even if something gets in the way.

“Health and wellness are human rights, not special rights.”

Jess is also a consultant to the Center for Constitutional Rights, Reprieve and other international NGOs working with torture survivors. Locally, he works to promote and improve the health and wellness of the population of refugees, displaced and immigrants from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia and has established community-based mental health therapy programs to support these communities.

He said he had always loved Mlk, Rosa Parks and Desmond Tutu for their work fighting justice and freedom. He said, “I am fascinated by them and others who are willing to put their lives on. On the line to create a more fair society These have greatly influenced me and my way of thinking about healthcare.

We look forward to hearing from him on the TEDxUNPlaza stage and give him encouragement.

Let you do what you can to raise this awareness among people in your community and around the world.

Image Credits: TEDxSF Image from Flickr, other photos direct from Jess Ghannam Slides Credits: WHO.

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