Lena Ismail is a community health educator specializing in mental health. She was an Assistant Director at the University of Chicago for six years where she implemented public health initiatives on campus. Lena has a Master in Public Health and is a certified Community Health Education Specialist. She has been a Mental Health First Aid trainer since 2015 and has trained over 250 attendees.
Named the 2015 Hometown Hero in Education, Abeda Khanam is a science teacher with the New York City Department of Education. Abeda is also a chaplain with the New York State Chaplain Task Force. She is a parental engagement columnist and advocate in the areas of family values, social justice, and mental health. She teaches Mental Health First Aid to her fellow New Yorkers, with the goal of creating robust families and resilient communities.
Dr. Omar Shareef was certified in Adult Mental Health First Aid in July 2016 and has conducted 16 trainings for the Muslim and other faith communities in New York. He is a graduate of St. George's University School of Medicine, where he earned both his MD and MBA degrees. He is currently a 2nd year PGY2 psychiatry resident physician at Nassau University Medical Center in New York. He is affiliated with the Khalil Center where he is pursuing training in islamically-integrated psychotherapy, and also serves as the President of Muslims Thrive, a NY-based Muslim mental health organization. He likes to incorporate actual Muslim-based patient case studies and examples from his clinical experiences to help enrich his MHFA trainings, and uses his training in psychiatry to help give more in depth discussions of the MHFA curriculum.
Yasmin Irfani is an Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor who resides in Los Angeles, California. She is currently serving as Youth Programs Director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness-San Fernando Valley (NAMI-SFV). She received her M.S in College Counseling and Student Services from California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and her B.A in Psychology from UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). She has been a Youth Group Leader at the Islamic Society of West Valley for 4 years and is passionate about helping teenagers feel heard and less alone in their struggles. Yasmin loves starting conversations surrounding mental health and suicide prevention so that nobody has to suffer in silence. Though this work can feel heavy at times, she finds inspiration from the miraculous story of Kevin Hines, who she believes everyone should know about. In her free time, Yasmin likes to read, write, spend time in nature, and watch The Office with her family.
Najat Elsayed is a licensed professional counselor and a certified school counselor. She has certification in MHFA, DBT, MI, TBRI, and TGCTA. She works in the second-largest juvenile detention facility in the country - Harris County in Houston, Texas. She runs the mental health unit along with her treatment team as the primary therapist for the mental health unit. She also trains detention staff on how to work with kids ages 10-17 with mental health conditions that are in detention with a trauma-informed approach. She sees kids that are victims of human trafficking, substance abuse, sexual/physical abuse, neglect, in the CPS system, refugees, migrants, who have committed a crime.
Dr. Sabeen Sheikh has a doctorate degree in Educational Policy and Leadership and a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. She is now the Director of the Career Center at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Her research is focused on reporting behaviors, campus policies and the impact of institutional culture on Muslim college students. Sabeen’s greatest passions are career and student development in higher education, and addressing mental health issues in various communities. Her experience includes work in strength-based counseling, career coaching, social justice, domestic violence, undoing racism, and student leadership development. She currently serves on the founding board of a grass roots non profit, Heal Collective NY, and is a Certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor with the National Council of Mental Well-Being.
Dr. Ali Syed has a longstanding passion for improving mental health literacy, knowledge, as well as decreasing stigma associated with mental illness within the Muslim community and beyond. He is certified as an Adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Instructor on a full-scholarship from the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH). He graduated from Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and is currently a senior Psychiatry Resident Physician at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas. As an Osteopathic Physician, Dr. Syed specializes in the mind, body, and spirit approach to achieve psychological wellness, and plans to incorporate this whole-person approach in his MHFA training. He has partnered with community mental health centers as well as faith communities in Kansas City to train mental health professionals as well as faith leaders in adult MHFA. He hopes to use American Muslim Health Professionals as a platform to train Muslims as well as other individuals/organizations interested in MHFA throughout the U.S.
Nursel Hussain is a Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor as well as an Associate Social Worker currently working at the Khalil Center. She received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California with a focus on Adult Mental Health and Wellness. Nursel is witness to the stigma surrounding mental health in Muslim and other marginalized communities, and it is for this reason that she entered the field and focused her education on understanding the intersectionality of mental health, religion, and culture. She believes that creating a safe, non- judgmental, warm environment, will allow for the most successful outcome in healing.
In her spare time, Nursel enjoys painting and being creative, watching Friends, going on hikes, and spending time with family.
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