Pakistan-American psychiatrist named among top US women faith leaders

WASHINGTON, (Web Desk) : Dr. Farha Abbasi, a noted Pakistani-American psychiatrist, is set to be recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of nation’s top women faith leaders.

Dr. Abbasi, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM), was named one of the top 15 women to be honoured on Thursday at the Women on the Frontlines: Celebrating Women Faith Leaders celebration.

The invitation on behalf of Xavier Becerra, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, recognizes Dr. Abbasi’s transformative work on minority mental health and “extraordinary leadership on behalf of humanity.”

Dr. Abbasi received the American Psychiatric association SAMSHA Minority fellowship in 2009 and used the grant money to create awareness about cultural competency, to redefine it as not just tolerance but acceptance. Her areas of interest include faith & cultural psychiatry and teaching medical students how to provide culturally appropriate care to Muslim patients.

She works directly with Muslim American community to encourage integration rather than isolation from mainstream society, according to a press release issued by Pakistani Embassy.

Dr. Abbasi is the founding director of the Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference which was attended by experts from 30 countries. She also launched a Global Muslim Mental Health Conference in Malaysia and Jordan. She is also making efforts to create safe spaces for people affected by domestic violence and substance abuse.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Masood Khan, telephoned Dr. Abbasi on Tuesday and and felicitated her for making Pakistan and Pakistani diaspora in the United States proud with her singular achievement. “It is yet another feather in our cap, proving huge talent and capabilities of Pakistani diaspora,” he said.

Talking to the Ambassador, Dr. Abbasi said that she has been working for past 15 years not only to reinforce efficacy of faith and cultural based solutions in addressing mental health issues but also to remove stigma that typical surrounds mental health issues, especially in the developing countries.

Masood Khan appreciated her services in providing healing touch to those who needed our attention the most. He also acknowledged her efforts in bringing people of the two countries together.

Ambassador Khan further said that doctors’ community of Pakistani descent in the United States could significantly help their Pakistani brothers and sisters in addressing issues related to mental health issues, creating greater awareness, overcoming resource constraints and most importantly removing stigma attached to such issues due to variety of reasons.

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