American Univesity of Beirut

Book Public Health in the Arab World


Cambridge University Press ISBN: 9780521516747 Published: March 2012​​

About the Book​


The idea of the book, Public Health in the Arab World, was conceptualized during preparations for the scientific conference of the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at the American University of Beirut (AUB), which took place in December 2004.  Discussions uncovered the need for a comprehensive book focusing on public health in the Arab region. A community of authors began working together in 2008 to produce the volume.


​The book covers a board array of contemporary public health issues in the Arab World (see Table of Contents in the Front Matter section) . In addition to fulfilling a need for informational material on leading public health issues in the region, the book presents critical insights based on sound theoretical foundations and offers stimulating material for debate and action.

The significance of the book stems from its approach, seeing health in its broadest sense as a right and as a social construct, thus the emphasis on social determinants of health and multidisciplinarity, associating actions to improve health with broader social actions and, conversely, seeing health actions as having broader social impact.

With 520 pages comprising 38 chapters plus an introduction written by a community of 81 authors, the book is the largest international scholarship collaboration on the subject to date.


​The book project has received support from the Ford Foundation's Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, from AUB, and from FHS where the editorial team has been based and supported by the Center for Research on Population and Health.


The book was "Highly Commended" in the 2012 British Medical Association Medical Book Awards in the Public Health category.​

    Arabic Edition

    ​The Arabic edition of the book Public Health in the Arab World (Cambridge University Press, March 2012)  was published in 2013 by the the Center for Arab Unity Studies (Beirut, Lebanon) under the title:  ​

    الصحة العامة في الوطن العربي  (السعر: 22$)​​

    ​Colleagues in the Global Arabic Programme at WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean​, led by Regional Advisor Dr. Kassem Sara, oversaw and supported the translation of the book, into Arabic. The editors of the book acknowledge this support with gratitude.  

    Dr Fouad M. Fouad, from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut, carried out a final editing of the Arabic translation. The editors of the book thank him for this contribution.

    Book Contents

    ​Below please find information about the content and web appendices of the book, Public Health in the Arab World (Cambridge University Press, March 2012)


    • Download the Front Matter​ (includes Title page, Title/Editors page, Publication Data, Dedication, Table of Contents, Foreword, Acknowledgements, and Contributors)
    • Download the book's Synopsis (includes front cover, Front Matter, Introduction, selected chapter summaries, Postscript, Index and back cover) (forthcoming)

    The book includes 38 chapters divided into seven sections:

    • Section 1. The Context of Public Health
      • 1. Public health, the medical profession, and state building: A historical perspective; 2. The political, economic, and social context; 3. The demographic transitions: characteristics and public health implications; 4. Environmental degradation: the challenge of sustaining life
    • Section 2. The Social Determinants of Health
      • 5. Health inequities: social determinants and policy implications; 6. Assets and health: towards a new framework; 7. Gender disparities in health; 8. Knowledge gaps: the agenda for research and action
    • Section 3. Health and Disease: A Focus on Avoidable Conditions Health
      • 9. Introduction: health and disease in the regional context; 10. Nutrition and food security: the Arab World in transition; 11. Infectious diseases: the unfinished agenda and future needs; 12. Non-communicable diseases I: burden and approaches to prevention; 13. Non-communicable diseases II: focus on cardiovascular diseases; 14. An overview of mental disorders; 15. Recognising omitted contexts and implicit paradigms: towards a valid mental health discourse; 16. Injury epidemiology and prevention
    • Section 4. The Health of Population Groups Health
      • 17. Child health: caring for the future; 18. The health of young people: challenges and opportunities; 19. Women’s health: progress and unaddressed issues; 20. The older persons: from veneration to vulnerability?; 21. The well-being of migrant women: between agency and restraint; 22. Workers health: a social framework beyond workplace hazards
    • Section 5. Public Health in War and Violent Conflict Health
      • 23. Conflict in health: meeting challenges to insecurity; 24. Health status and health services in the occupied Palestinian territory; 25. Public health in crisis: Iraq; 26. Summer 2006 war on Lebanon: a lesson in community resilience

    • Section 6. Health Systems: Toward Equity and Accountability Health
      • 27. Introduction: seeing the trees, not missing the forest; 28. Health system governance; 29. Health system financing: the bottleneck of the right to health; 30. The public health workforce and human resource for health; 31. Health care delivery: the missing links; 32. Access to essential medicines: impediments and the way forward

    • Section 7. Public Health and the Social Agenda Health
      • 33. Graduate education in public health: towards a multidisciplina ry model; 34. Participatory community interventions: a case study approach; 35. Reflections on the de-politicization of health and scholarship; 36. Towards a regional perspective on health and human security; 37. Egypt in crisis: politics, health care, and social mobilization for health rights; 38. Can action on health achieve political and social reform?

    Web Appendices

    This page provides PDFs of Web Appendices for the chapters in the book, Public Health in the Arab World (Cambridge University Press, March 2012), that have such appendices (as indicated in the print edition)


    ​​The book has brought together an international community of contributors and peer reviewers.​

    Editorial Team​

    The editorial team of the book, Public Health in the Arab World (Cambridge University Press, March 2012), is based at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut where it is supported by the Center for Research on Population and Health.


    Samer is the lead editor and book project coordinator. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut (FHS/AUB) where he works on projects related to regional collaboration. He coordinates the FHS-based Secretariat of the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Academic Institutions’ Network for Public Health (EMRAIN). Samer is also a cardiologist in private practice. He received an MD degree (1989) from Aleppo University Faculty of Medicine (Syria) and an MPH degree (1998) from Harvard School of Public Health. He completed training in internal medicine and cardiology in Northwestern and Harvard affiliated hospitals (US). His research interests include non-communicable diseases, health systems as well as health and social change.

    Rita is a Professor and Research and Program Coordinator at the Institute of Community and Public Health, Birzeit University, Occupied Palestinian Territory. She received an PharmD degree from the University of California, San Francisco, an MPhil in Sociology from Essex University and an honorary PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2011. As a researcher and practitioner in the Palestinian Social Action movement of the 1980s and early 1990s, she helped set up the Palestinian primary health care and community based disability rehabilitation models.  She is a member of the Coordinating Committee of the Reproductive Health Working Group. Her research interests include population health; women’s health; mental health; and violence, human security and health.

    Marwan is Chief, Social Statistics Section of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. At the time of the start of the project he was a Professor and Director of the Center for Research on Population and Health​ at FHS/AUB. He received a PhD from Cornell University and was on the sociology Faculty of Syracuse University and Birzeit University. He is a member of the Specialist Panel on Social Science and Operation Research for Reproductive Health at WHO, Geneva, and a founding member of the Middle East Health Policy Forum. His research interests revolve around violence and health, forced migration/refugees and social determinants of health in the Arab World.

    Iman is a Professor and Dean of the FHS/AUB.  He received an MD from AUB and an MPH and DrPH degrees in Occupational Health from The Johns Hopkins University.  He is a member of the editorial boards of “Ecohealth”, “International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health”, and “Journal of Interprofessional Care”. In 2004, he was elected as a fellow to the Collegium Ramazzini. His interest interests include ecosystem approach to human health (Ecohealth), environmental determinants of health, occupational health, and the health of working children.

    Associate Editor​

    Rouham oversaw and carried out a variety of editorial functions when she served as a Research Associate at FHS/AUB. She is now Coordinator of the Non-communicable Disease Program at the World Health Organization Lebanon Office. Rouham received an MD degree from the St.-Petersburg Pavlov State Medical University (Russia) and an MPH degree from FHS/AUB, Lebanon.  Rouham is a general doctor and has worked in the NGO sector in Lebanon on child development projects for almost 20 years.

    Chapter Authors​

    The project of developing the book, Public Health in the Arab World (Cambridge University Press, March 2012), has brought together an international community of scholars comprising 81 authors. Contributors come from a variety of disciplines, including public health and social sciences, and backgrounds, including academics, researchers and practitioners, from both the Arab region and elsewhere.

    The Foreword (part of the Front Matter) is written by Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet​ 

    The Editorial Team comprises Samer Jabbour, Rita Giacaman, Marwan Khawaja, Iman Nuwayhid, and Rouham Yamout​

    Chapter Contributors

    • The list of contributors in alphabetical order: 
      • Ynesse Abdul Malak, Sawsan Abdulrahim, Rima Afifi, Ala Alwan, Nisreen Alwan, Mohammad Assai, Amr Awad, Peter Barss, Hyam Bashour, Manal Benkirane, Habiba Ben Romdhane, Krishna Bose, Rayana BuHaka, Sylvia Chiffoleau, Jocelyn DeJong, Omar Dewachi, Fadi El-Jardali, Driss Zine-Eddine El-Idrissi, Abbas El-Zein, Fadi A. Fathallah, Rim Fayad, Hala Ghattas, Rita Giacaman, Rima R. Habib, Rana A. Hajjeh, Samia Halileh, Abdelmonem S. Hassan, Jamil Hilal, Abdullatif Husseini, Ghena A. Ismail, Doris Jaalouk, Samer Jabbour, Diana Jamal, Mey Jurdi, Aisha O. Jumaan, Afamia Kaddur, Elie G. Karam, Zeinab Khadr, Mohamed Hassan Khalil, Rana Khatib, Marwan Khawaja, Nabil M. Kronfol, Natalia Linos, Elisabeth Longuenesse, Ahmed Mandil, Awad Mataria, Zafar Mirza, Driss Moussaoui, Hani Mowafi,  Mona Mowafi, Abdulrahman O. Musaiger, Cynthia Myntti, Mayssa Nehlawi, Adib Nehmeh, Iman Nuwayhid, Omar Obeid, Hoda Rashad, Salman Rawaf, David Rawaf, Belgacem Sabri, Mariana M. Salamoun, Mohamed Salem, Tanya Salem, Bruno Schoumaker, Olivia Shabb, Sherine Shawky, Alaa Shukrallah, Abla Mehio Sibai, Sameen Siddiqi, Dominique Tabutin, Maha Talaat, Rania Tohme, Susan Watts, Livia Wick, Nasser Yassin, Rouham Yamout, Kathryn M. Yount, Huda Zurayk
    • The following colleagues contributed boxes in chapters: 
      • Gamal Khalafalla Mohamed Ali, Norbert Hirschhorn, Nour Kibbi 
    • The following colleagues contributed to work that is reproduced, with permission of concerned journals, in the book: 
      • Chadi S. Cortas, Tony Laurance, Asad Ramlawi, Guido Sabatinelli, Luay Shabaneh

    Peer Reviewers​

    All chapters in the book, Public Health in the Arab World (Cambridge University Press, March 2012), have undergone both internal and external peer reviews.

    The editors acknowledge the kind contribution of the external peer reviewers in the Acknowledgement section of the Front Matter​.

    External peer reviewers​

    Hanan Abdul Rahim (Qatar), Carla Abou-Zahr (Switzerland), Houssain Abouzaid (Lebanon), Raeda Abu Al Rub (Jordan), Abdulrazzak Abyad (Lebanon), Mustafa Afifi (UAE), Narjis Ajeel (Iraq), Kamel Ajlouni (Jordan), Kristine Ajrouch (USA), Naira Al Awqati (Jordan), William Aldis (Thailand), Aysa Al-Riyami (Oman), Ricardo Araya (UK), Haroutune Armenian (USA), Elsheikh Badr (Sudan), Guitelle Baghdadi-Sabeti (Switzerland), Arwa Baidar (Yemen), Seifeddin G. Ballal (Saudi Arabia), Brian K. Barber (USA), Alaka Basu (USA), Malek Batal (Canada), David Bishai (USA), Thomas Bossert (USA), Sofiane Bouhdiba (Tunisia), Derick Brinkerhoff (USA), Melani Cammett (USA), Guy Carrin (Switzerland), Monique Chaaya (Lebanon), Sir Iain Chalmers (UK), Mario Dal Poz (Switzerland), Nadia Dalloul (Lebanon), Ivan Dimov Ivanov (Switzerland), Azza El Nouman (Egypt), Sameh el-Saharty (USA), Heba Elgazzar (USA), Eltigani Eltigani (Saudi Arabia), Sameera El-Tuwaijri (USA), Ibtihal Fadhil (Egypt), Ali Fakhro (Bahrain), Laila Farhood (Lebanon), Mahmoud Fathalla (Egypt), Stephen Fawcett (USA), Osman Galal (USA), Michele Ruth Gamburd (USA), Muntaha Garaibeh (Jordan), Richard Garfield (USA), Buthaina Ghanem (Jordan), Farha Ghannam (USA), HassenGhannem (Tunisia), Jen’nanGhazal Read (USA), Richard Gosselin (USA), Emily Grundy (UK), Hani Guend (Canada), Jean RD Guimarães (Brazil), Omran Habib (Iraq), Nadim Haddad (Lebanon), Gail Harrison (USA), Allan Hill (USA), Dennis Hogan (USA), Marcia Inhorn (USA), Tushar K. Joshi (India), Miloud Kaddar (Switzerland), Montasser Kamal (Egypt), Zeina Kanafani (Lebanon), Khaled Khatab (Germany), Nadir Kheir (Qatar), Eberhard Kienle (Egypt), Judith Kulig (Canada), Adam Leive (USA), Socrates Litsios (Switzerland), Frederick M. Burkle (USA), Chowra Makarermi (Canada), Jihad Makhoul (Lebanon), Bernard Manyena (UK), Theodor Marmor (USA), José Carlos Martines (Switzerland), Abdel Aziz Mousa Thabet (Occupied Palestinian Territory), Alok Mukhopadhyay (India), Mona Nabulsi (Lebanon), Marion Nestle (USA), Olcay Neyzi (Turkey), Peter Pellett (USA), Guénaël Rodier (Denmark), Najib Saab (Lebanon), Ritu Sadana (Switzerland), Shadi Saleh (Lebanon), Monica Schoch-Spana (USA), Zohair Sebai (Saudi Arabia), Ravi Shankar (Nepal), Hania Sholkamy (Egypt), Katherine Smith (UK),Nicholas Spencer (UK), Devi Sridhar (UK), Mayssun Sukarieh (Lebanon), Derek Summerfield (UK), Simon Szreter (UK), Yoke van der Meulen-Rabaia (Occupied Palestinian Territory), Tony Waterston (UK), Sheldon Watts (Egypt), JohannaWyn (Australia), Hassan Zaky (Egypt), Nicolas Zdanowicz (Belgium), Zachary Zimmer (USA).

    Get the Book

    ​Disclaimer: The editors have devoted all royalties from the sales of the book to purchase additional book copies for distribution, for free, to students and institutions of public health in the Arab world. 

    There are different ways for you to get the book, 'Public Health in the Arab World' (Cambridge University Press, March 2012).

    Buy the book (ISBN: 9780521516747)

    • Cambridge University Press: Australia website, UK website, US website (Applly code PHAW2012 to get a 20% discount off the published price. Offer expires 30 April 2013)
    List of distributors and sellers of Cambridge books in Arab countries 

    • International distributors
      • US: Amazon, Barnes & Nobles  
      • UK: Amazon 
    ​Check out the health sciences libraries in your country 

    • Locate a library near you through MedLib Directory, the EMR Medical Libraries Director (a service of WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean) – You can search by country, city, name of library or name of institution
    Need the book, not in your library, and cannot afford to buy it?  

    • We might be able to help! Thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation, which has supported the development of the book, the editorial office has a small supply of books to distribute in the Arab world. Priority is given to low-income and/or conflict-afflicted countries and public institutions (for example a health sciences library)
    • ​Write the editorial office. Please take the time to explain your need.
    Please tell the editors how to increase access to the book and disseminate information about it in the various Arab countries. Write us at

    Press & Media

    ​Award & Recognition

    The book Public Health in the Arab World (Cambridge Unvervisty Press, 2012) was "Highly Commended" in the 2012 British Medical Association Medical Book Awards ni the Public Health category.

    Book Launch

    (Left to Right: Samer Jabbour, Peter Dorman, HE Najob Mikati, and Iman Nuwayhid)

    Tuesday, 15 May 2012, 4.00-5.00 PM
    ​Hisham Jaroudi Auditorium, Hariri School of Nursing, American University of Beirut

    Under the Patronage of His Excellency Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the President of the American University of Beirut, Dr. Peter Dorman and The Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Iman Nuwayhid, hosted a launch ceremony of the book Public Health in the Arab World (Cambridge University Press, March 2012)


    Iman Nuwayhid, Dean, Faculty of Health Siences, American University of Beirut

    Samer Jabbour, Lead Editor of the book and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut

    Peter Dorman, President, American University of Beirut

    Prime Minister’s Address 
    His Excellency, Prime Minister Najib Mikati

    ​Master of Ceremonies Huda Zurayk, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut (see remarks and introductions in Arabic)

    AUB & Media Coverage

    Launch material

    Press & Media​

    This page includes material for the press and media as well as media coverage of the book 'Public Health in the Arab World' (Cambridge University Press, March 2012)

    AUB Book Launch

    Press kit

    Media coverage

    2012 BMA Medical Book Awards

    Press kit

    Media coverage

    Press and media contact

    • Ms. Maha Al-Azar 
    • Associate Director for Media Relations
    • Office of Communications, American University of Beirut
    • P.O. Box 11-0236, Riad El Solh
    • Beirut 1107 2020, Lebanon
    • Tel: +961-(0)1-350-000 x2670
    • Email:
    Contact the editorial team at​  to suggest new venues for dissemination through the press and the media.

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