Mission statement and background

The Syria Public Health Network was established in early 2015 in response to calls for an independent and critical assessment of the humanitarian and health response to the crisis, from colleagues working in Syria and the wider region. It aims to create an independent and neutral space for discussion, analysis and to generate policy proposals for the types of health interventions and research that might help to address current and future health needs in Syria and the region.

A key function of the network is to improve understanding of the types of research and interventions that are taking place within the health response, and their political and social determinants. Workshops organised by the network incorporate key people working for UN agencies, donors, iNGOs, NGOs as well as academic researchers, journalists and those working on the ground in Syria and neighbouring countries.


Since our founding, we have convened several closed meetings in which we examine particular aspects of the humanitarian response in Syria and in Syrian refugee hosting countries. These have included Syria’s health system; mental health and psychosocial prioritization; non-communicable diseases; Syrian healthcare workers. Throughout 2020, SPHN will continue research and policy advocacy on Syrian healthcare workers in the region and in Germany which aims to generate pragmatic policy options but also help guide the future development of Syria's health and social welfare systems..

SPHN has two co-chairs (Dr Fouad M. Fouad and Dr Aula Abbara) and a steering committee which includes (Dr Adam Coutts, Ms Diana Rayes, Dr Miriam Orcutt, Dr Abdelkarim Ekzayez, Dr Houssam Alnahhas) who are based at various international institutions.



Dr Fouad M. Fouad MD is a general surgeon by training, is an Assistant Research Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Co-Chair of both the Refugee Health Program and Global Health Initiative (GHI), at the American University of Beirut (AUB)

Dr Aula Abbara MBBS MD(Res) DTMH is an infectious diseases consultant in London and a researcher in infectious diseases, refugee health and health systems in conflict

Steering Committee:


The wider network of SPHN includes academics, medical, public health and social policy professionals who have worked extensively on health and social welfare issues in Syria and the Middle East and North Africa before and after the onset of the current conflict. They bring a diverse range of experience and professional connections to SPHN which aims to amplify and advocate for the current and future needs of Syrian health care workers, refugees and host communities. 

Research, policy and media

The SPHN can provide assistance with media queries on the situation in the region as well as setting up policy roundtables linking NGOs to donor communities. We also help with the design and implementation of research on the Syria crisis.