Co-founders

 

Ziad Nahas
Cofounder and Board Member

 
Dr. Nahas is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the American University of Beirut. He also holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. Prior to joining AUB, Dr. Nahas directed the Mood Disorders Program and was the Medical Director of the Brain Stimulation Laboratory at MUSC.

Upon moving back to Lebanon in 2011 and chairing the department of psychiatry at AUBMC, Dr. Nahas realized the absence and urgent need for a community advocacy for mental illness. Not only was stigma a problem in the community, but also the need to raise awareness about mental illness and create a support network for patients which served to decrease suffering and ease access to treatment. As a psychiatrist, Dr. Nahas also found that patients and family members often struggled with the financial expenses needed to treat mental illness. No one should suffer from mental illness because of stigma or lack of funds.

 

 

Nabil Younes
Cofounder and Board Member

 
Nabil Younes is a renowned attorney at law at Younes & Mikaoui Law Firm. He is a member of the board of directors of several companies. He is member of “Development Studies Association”, “Lebanese Cooperative for Development”, “Société pour la Protection et l’Amélioration de la Race Chevaline Arabe”, “Fouad Chehab Foundation”, Member of Le Conseil Strategique de la Faculté des Langues de l’Université St. Joseph, and Member of the board of the “Centre for Lebanese Studies”. He is also founding member of “The Friends of Jerusalem Society” and Vice President of the “Beirut Heritage Society”.
He serves as Alumnus of the Leadership Seminar of 1992 of Edmund A.Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University – Washington DC – U.S.A. In addition to his philanthropic work across various sectors, Nabil is passionate about the cause of Embrace and became a cofounder of Embrace upon launching its status as an official NGO in August 2017.

 

 

Mia Atoui
Cofounder and Board Member

 
Mia Atoui holds a Master’s degree in clinical psychology and a Master’s degree in public health from the American University of Beirut (AUB). As a psychologist who is continuously engaged in patient care, Mia has always appreciated the need to practice psychology not only in the private setting of the clinic and hospital, but also to be immersed in the community and bring direly needed psychological services into the community. Founding Embrace has been an opportunity to reach out to the community, spread awareness where it is needed, and allow others who are in need to reach out to us as well.

 

Board Members

Pia Zeinoun
Board Member

 

Dr. Zeinoun is a clinical psychologist specializing in psychological assessments for children and young adults presenting with a wide range of developmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Zeinoun joined the Department of Psychiatry in 2008, soon after graduating with summa cum laude from Illinois University with a master’s degree in Clinical–Counseling Psychology. In 2013, Dr. Zeinoun completed a post-graduate residency in psychological/neuropsychological assessment at the KKI. She has completed her doctoral research at Tilburg University, where she investigated new methods in test development and adaptation, with the purpose of developing culturally-appropriate tests in Arabic. Within the Department of Psychiatry, she has published research on test development in Arabic, and cross-cultural psychology. Dr. Zeinoun is a Fulbright alum, an international member of the American Psychological Association (APA), and serves on the executive board of the 2011-2013 Lebanese Psychological Association (LPA) and Embrace. She is a strong advocate for mental health and an Executive member of Embrace.

 
 

Omar Ghosn
Board Member

We are constantly told to put ourselves in others’ shoes. In doing so, we often forget the importance of being comfortable in our own shoes, after all we are going to be stuck in them for quite a while. Dr. Ghosn hopes that with in an initiative such as this one, individuals suffering from mental illness can begin to get comfortable in their own shoes without having to worry about the stigma that, more often than not, creates a barrier to getting help. He believes that EMBRACE is taking one of the first of many steps on a journey towards a better understanding and more supporting Lebanese community.

Core Team

Zeina El Jordi
Board Member

 
Zeina holds a Master’s Degree in Psychiatry and Mental Health Nursing from AUB (2014). She held a position of a Registered Nurse in the psychiatric inpatient unit at the American University of Beirut Medical Center for Seven year. She joined Alice Ramez Chagoury School of Nursing at LAU in September 2014 as fulltime clinical instructor. Her research areas of interest are suicide assessment, management and prevention among the Lebanese population

Sanaa Mugharbil
Project Coordinator

 

Sanaa holds a Master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Community Health from the American University of Beirut (AUB). Following her graduation, she worked for 2 years in the research field. Her love of research and passion for mental health issues led her to apply to Embrace where she has worked since Fall 2016. With her work at Embrace, Sanaa hopes to help those suffering from mental illness and to put an end to the stigma and shame associated with mental health.

 

Ceem Haidar
Communication Officer

 
Ceem Haidar is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of The Commery, a communications consulting firm based in Beirut. She majored in Communications Arts at the Lebanese American University (LAU), where she headed the first daily university newspaper in the Middle East. Her career path began in journalism as a Managing Editor, shifted into Public Relations at multinational PR firm Porter Novelli, and then led her to the Big4 corporate world at Deloitte Middle East, where she headed the firm’s internal and external communications, along with Corporate Responsibility Programs in 15 countries across the region. From 2014 to 2016, Ceem taught a Public Relations course at the Lebanese American University.

Michella Nahas

 
Michella Nahas holds a BA degree in Psychology and is currently working on her Master’s degree in sociology at the American University of Beirut (AUB). She has many years of experience working within the field of psychology, particularly in women’s issues and suicide prevention. Embrace is a passion for Michella, she believes everyone should have access to proper treatment and care they need to live a full and productive life.
diana

Diana Yehia
Translator

 
Diana hold a Bachelor's in Sociology from the American University of Beirut. As a believer in Embrace's mission, she chose to dedicate her skills and free time to help fulfill it. Currently, Diana handles all translation needs of the organization. She is an avid reader, a nature lover, and a loving mother and wife. 

Farah Yehia

 

Farah holds a Master's in Public Health from the American University of Beirut (2013) with a concentration in Health Management and Policy.

Farah served as Mental Health Advocacy Coordinator at the Department of Psychiatry at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) before she set off to pursue a PhD at John Hopkins University. Farah is passionate about public health and patient advocacy and has played a critical role in developing short-term and long-term strategies for Embrace.

 

Nayla Abou Haidar Seikaly

 
Nayla Abou Haidar Seikaly had long been planning to bring together a group of people in Lebanon who shared with her the same compassion towards mental illness and the need to raise awareness about mental illness in Lebanon. Being a patient who has experienced mental illness herself, Nayla joined and contributed to the establishment of Embrace with passion and commitment. Founding Embrace has helped Nayla raise awareness about mental illness through conveying the perspective of patients themselves. Through Embrace, she is also reaching out and helping many other patients who feel supported and understood by others going through similar experiences.