On the Issues Episode 99: Dr. Zaher Sahloul
Today’s guest is Dr. Zaher Sahloul, a Syrian-American critical care specialist and president of MedGlobal, an organization that provides medical care in disaster regions, and the founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria and Syria Faith Initiative. Dr. Sahloul is considered one of the world’s experts on the humanitarian crisis in his homeland of Syria and applying lessons learned to other disaster responses, including COVID-19. In this episode, Alon and Dr. Sahloul discuss the Syrian Civil War and his work in providing healthcare in Syria during the war, what is currently happening on the ground in Syria, and what role the international community can play in ending the conflict.
(This episode was recorded before the terrible earthquake in Syria, which has only made the problems discussed in this episode worse.)
Dr. Mohammed Zaher Sahloul is a medical doctor, Chicagoan, humanitarian, faith, immigrant and civic leader, and influencer. Professionally, he is a Critical Care specialist at Advocate Christ Medical Center and Saint Anthony’s hospital and Associate Professor in Clinical Medicine at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Dr. Sahloul is considered one of the world’s experts on the humanitarian crisis in his homeland Syria and applying lessons learned to other disaster responses, including COVID-19. He led the Syrian American Medical Society from 2011-2015 to play a crucial role in providing humanitarian medical aid and organizing the Syrian American diaspora. He founded the American Relief Coalition for Syria, ARCS, and Syria Faith Initiative. He has published extensively on the Syrian crisis, refugees and immigration, disaster management, and COVID-19 impact on disadvantaged communities in Chicago, and has many media appearances locally, nationally, and internationally. He was instrumental in providing medical relief to help the civilian population in his homeland of Syria and testified to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations Security Council multiple times on defending medical neutrality, the use of siege and chemical weapons, and the siege of Aleppo. He was awarded Chicagoan of the Year in 2016 for risking his life with two other American doctors to provide healthcare to the civilians in Aleppo under siege and bombardment. Dr. Sahloul sits on the advisory board of the Syrian Community Network and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He was a member of the Illinois Board of Health from 2009-2016. In 2020 , Dr. Sahloul was awarded the Gandhi Award for Peace for his humanitarian work in Syria and at the global level. He has also received many other awards including the “Heroes Among Us” award by American Red Cross, Dr. Robert Kirschner’s Award for Global Activism by Heartland Alliance Kovler Center 2017, the Commitment to Change Award by the National Immigration Justice Center for his commitment to human rights, and the Shine a Light on Global Refugee Crisis and annual humanitarian award by UNICEF Chicago 2017.