USA About Us

USA Home
USA About us
Special Issue of the “Psychoanalyst Activist” on the Nakba
Mental Health Workers’ Pledge for Palestine
USA Trips and Events
USA Resources and Links
USA How to Help
USA Contact us

See our new website: USA-Palestine Mental Health Network


The USA-Palestine Mental Health Network was founded in 2016 by mental health workers in the United States who now form its Steering Committee:

Elizabeth Berger, MD, MPhil, Child Psychiatrist, New York

Rebecca Fadil, LCSW, Social Worker, Washington, D.C.

Christine Schmidt, LCSW, Psychoanalyst, New York

The USAPalMHN took inspiration from the well-established UK-Palestine Mental Health Network—our overseas sibling organization—and is deeply grateful for its ongoing support.

The USA-Palestine Mental Health Network is also an affiliate member of the umbrella organization, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and works closely with the  Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council. We especially recommend the JVPHAC’s monthly newsletter Health and Human Rights Media Watch as an invaluable source of information about current issues.

The aims of the USA-Palestine Mental Health Network are:

  • To contribute to raising the level of understanding and the breadth of discussion regarding Palestine; to articulate concerns with international law, with universal human rights, and with social, political, ideological, military, and public health realities that impact the Palestinian people.
  • To link these concerns with the ethical standards of our professions as mental health workers and to bring these concerns to the attention of professional organizations, of health care service providers, and of the public.
  • To foster solidarity through personal and professional relationships with our colleagues in Palestine and, while relying upon their leadership, to develop an agenda for constructive change based on their experiences in the Palestinian context.
  • As consistent with our individual situations and to the degree possible for us as individuals, to consider direct action such as arranging public meetings, embarking on letter-writing campaigns, working with human rights and other organizations, initiating public advocacy programs, and responding to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS).
  • To dedicate our expertise as professionals—regarding diverse areas such as trauma, family cohesion, racism, equity in health care, the ideological roots of oppression, the impact of such oppression on all involved parties, and the process of reconciliation between communities—to the service of advancing human rights in Palestine.

The USA-Palestine Mental Health Network works closely with the members of our Advisory Council:

SAM BAHOUR is managing partner of Applied Information Management (AIM), a policy analyst with Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network, a secretariat member of the Palestine Strategy Group, and chairman of Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy. He blogs at Twitter: @SamBahour

SAMAH JABR M.D. is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist based in East Jerusalem. She has consulted with many health and mental health care organizations globally, and has been on the faculty of several universities within Palestine and internationally. She is well-known as a spokesperson for human rights in Palestine and widely published in the popular press, in academic journals, and in scholarly books.

MARTIN KEMP Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst in private practice in London, UK. He has made several visits to Palestine, experiences that motivated a commitment to activism within the mental health community. He was one of the founders of the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network in 2014. He has published several articles exploring psychological components that affect the quality of international discourse on Israel and Zionism, within and beyond the professional literature, and numerous briefer contributions to the struggle for justice and equal rights in the region.

LYNNE LAYTON Ph.D., Ph.D. is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology, Part-Time, in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a supervisor at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis, and Adjunct Professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute’s program in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology. She is past-president of the American Psychological Association’s Section IX (Psychoanalysis for Social Responsibility) of Division 39. Dr. Layton is past-editor of the journal Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, and has published widely on the intersection of psychoanalysis and social justice with regard to gender, class, race, and related subjects.

SAMI OWAIDA M.D. is a child psychiatrist based in Gaza. He studied medicine in Moscow and child and adolescent psychiatry at the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Dr. Owaida was trained during the 1990’s at the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme under the leadership of its founder, Eyad El-Sarraj MD, and now works as a child psychiatrist at the GCMHP, dealing mostly with traumatized children.

LARA SHEEHI Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist, behavioral health policy analyst and Assistant Professor of Clinical and Forensic Psychology at the George Washington University. She is the incoming Secretary for the America Psychological Association’s Division 39 (Psychoanalysis), an executive board member of Division 39’s Section IX (Psychoanalysis for Social Responsibility), previous co-chair of the Division 39’s Multicultural Concerns Committee, and a mentor in the Minority Scholars Program. Dr. Sheehi was the 2016-2017 recipient of the Psychology Fellowship with the American Psychoanalytic Association. She and her husband, Stephen Sheehi, co-authored an article, Enactments of Otherness and Searching for a Third Space in the Palestine-Israel Matrix, which was the winner of the 2017 Best Article Gradiva Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. They are currently working on a book under contract with Routledge entitled Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Theories and Practice of Psychoanalysis in Palestine; she has a forthcoming chapter “The Islamophobic Normative Unconscious: Psychoanalytic Considerations” in the edited book, Islamophobia and Psychiatry: Recognition, Prevention and Treatment (forthcoming, 2018).

STEPHEN SHEEHI Ph.D. is the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Chair of Middle East Studies at the College of William and Mary. He is the author of Arab Imago: A Social History of Portrait Photography, 1860-1910 (Princeton, 2016), Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign Against Muslims (Clarity, 2011) and Foundations of Modern Arab Identity (Florida, 2004). He and Dr. Lara Sheehi are the authors of Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Theories and Practice of Psychoanalysis in Palestine (forthcoming, Routledge). Along with Salim Tamari and Issam Nassar, he is also co-author Camera Palaestina: Photographic Witnessing in the Albums of Wasif Jawharriyeh (University of California Press, forthcoming).

Follow us @USAPalMHN