Dr. Mohammad Herzallah, faculty member and also founder and director of the Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative at Al-Quds University, was selected among 30 scientists to co-author a comprehensive scientific report as a part of the Lancet’s Commission on Global Mental Health.
Dr. Herzallah, the only Lancet commissioner from the Middle East, said the main objective of the Commission report is to redefine mental health practices globally and outline a blueprint for action to help achieve the sustainable development goals outlined by the United Nations.
The report of the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health calls on policymakers to include mental health as a major pillar of health while positioning mental health at the core of human rights. “It highlights the crucial importance of improving mental health as the key to sustainable development,” adds Herzallah. “The final report reframes mental health by synthesizing knowledge from scientific perspectives and real-world experiences to offer a fresh, ambitious, and unified vision for action”.
Aside from contributing to the writing of the different sections of the report, Dr. Herzallah’s role focuses on reframing the relationship between neuroscience and mental health and developing analytical approaches for data analysis and imputation.
Through the Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative at Al-Quds University, Dr. Herzallah’s researches explore the neural correlates of psychiatric disorders in Palestine to develop accessible diagnostics. Since its creation in 2009, the Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative at Al-Quds University has trained a total of 150 students from Al-Quds University, sponsored 40 students to complete advanced training in neuroscience research at elite institutions in the USA and Europe, and raised nearly $2 million to support research projects and exchange programs at Al-Quds University.
The Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative at Al-Quds University encompasses six different research units. They include the units of Cognitive Neuroscience, Behavioral Neurogenetics, Developmental Neuroscience, Molecular Neuroscience, Computational Neuroscience, and Neurophysiology. Researchers at the Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative have published more than 20 peer-reviewed papers in international journals.
The Palestinian Neuroscience Initiative at Al-Quds University aims to create a powerhouse of neuroscience research in Palestine, to train the next generation of Palestinian researchers and healthcare professionals, and to create a viable research institution in Palestine to host Palestinian and other neuroscientists to pursue research careers in Palestine.