Sawsan Abdulrahim, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Sawsan Abdulrahim is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut. She earned a doctorate in Health Behavior and Education in 2005 from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, where she was a Kellogg Doctoral Fellow in Health Policy Research. Abdulrahim received her master’s in public health, epidemiology from San Diego State University, and her bachelor’s degree in life sciences from the University of California Berkeley.

Research Interests & Projects

Her research focuses on the health of populations who live across borders – Arab American communities in the United States, female labor migrants from African countries in the Arab region, and Palestinian refugees in the diaspora. One of her interests lies in understanding what subjective health evaluations capture among different culturo-linguistic and socioeconomic groups, and whether self-rated health is an appropriate measure to use in research designed to inform policies to reduce social inequalities in health. Her work on migrants and refugees is framed to promote rights-based policies to protect non-citizens in nation states. Abdulrahim is a mixed-methods researcher, with strong backgrounds in qualitative and epidemiological research. She also has experience conducting community-based participatory research in a refugee setting. Abdulrahim is a member of the World Health Organization Scientific Resource Group on Equity Analysis and Research, the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, and CIPMH.

Contact Information:


Abdulrahim, S. & Ajrouch, K. Social and cultural meanings of self-rated health: Arab immigrants in the United States. Journal of Qualitative Health Research. Under review.

Abdulrahim, S. & Khawaja, M. The Cost of Being Palestinian in Lebanon. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies. In press.

Tewtel-Salem, M., Abdulrahim, S., Zurayk, H. Using open-ended data to enrich survey results on the meanings of self-rated health: a study among women in underprivileged communities in Beirut, Lebanon. Women & Health. In press.

Abdulrahim, S. & Baker, W. (2009) Differences in self-rated health by immigrant status and language preference among Arab Americans in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. Social Science & Medicine, 68:2097-2013.