OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
UOSSM USA is governed by the Board of Directors. The Board creates the vision, mission, and values of the Organization, maintains its Bylaws, and assures appropriate organizational performance. The Board of Directors, Founders, Consultants, Advisors, and Executive Team are committed to organizational excellence and ensuring transparency and accountability of the Organization.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND FOUNDERS
Dr. Khaula Sawah – President & Co-Founder
Dr. Khaula Sawah, a co-founder of UOSSM USA, currently serves as the President on the Board of Directors and leads the programs and affairs of the Organization. In addition, she is temporarily serving as the Board Secretary. Dr. Sawah, with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and Board-Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist, is a clinical pharmacist in profession and resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since early 2012, with the support of her husband, two boys and parents, Dr. Sawah has been dedicating most of her time in Turkey to support the medical mission of Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) to the Syrian people. She was the first Executive Director of UOSSM office in Turkey, as she worked on the establishment of the office, building strategic relationships with partners and donors, and directing UOSSM medical operations in Syria and Turkey for almost two years. Dr. Sawah directly supervised the establishment and operation of UOSSM Bab Al-Hawa Hospital in Northwest Syria, which is currently considered the “Referral” emergency and specialized hospital in the region.
Dr. Sawah represented UOSSM at many local and international events, including several UN meetings in New York, the Donors’ London Meeting Supporting Syria in Feb 2016, the European Humanitarian Roundtable (EHR)-East in Warsaw serving as an expert at the Protection roundtable and providing recommendations towards the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), 2016 WHS in Istanbul, and the special invitation by the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs/ UNOCHA, where she represented UOSSM, as the solo guest at the Signing Ceremony between Mr. Stephen O’Brien, USG/ERC and the Qatar Development Fund in May 2016. Dr Sawah is also a founding Board Member of Syrian American Foundation (SAF) based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is an active member in her community.
Dr. Maram Khabbaz – Vice President
Dr. Maram Khabbaz MD, ABFM, ABGM, currently serves as the Vice President on the Board of Directors of UOSSM USA. Dr. Khabbaz is certified by the American Board in Family Medicine and Geriatrics and has been practicing since 2011 at Allied Senior Care and Colerain Urgent Care. Dr. Khabbaz moved to Qatar for two years gaining experience in different cultures. She returned to the US to continue practicing as a geriatrician in skilled nursing facilities with the Medicine Inpatient Group. Dr. Khabbaz graduated from the Aleppo Medical School in Syria and received training in family medicine at Bethesda Family Practice in Ohio. She also received training in geriatric medicine at the Christ Hospital/University of Cincinnati in Ohio.
Dr. Khabbaz is an active member in her community, she co- founded the Syrian Humanitarian Organization, Women United for Syria, and previously served as vice president in the Syrian American Foundation (SAF) where she continues to be an active member of the humanitarian organization. At the local community level, Dr. Khabbaz serves as a team leader of the Rahma Community Service Organization in Cincinnati, Ohio. On a personal note, Dr. Khabbaz is the mother of four children.
Dr. Monzer Yazji – Treasurer & Co-Founder
Dr. Monzer H Yazji, MD, a co-founder of UOSSM USA. He was the first President of UOSSM USA and currently serves as the Board Treasurer. Dr Yazji is also a co-founder of UOSSM-International. He was the first President of UOSSM-International and currently serves on its Board of Directors. Dr. Yazji has been practicing in the United States as a physician specializing in Internal Medicine since 1998. Dr. Yazji is the owner and President of a Multi-Specialty practice that consists of seven Physicians, three Physician Assistants and three nurse practitioners.
Along with founding the Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association in 2006, Dr. Yazji is currently a board member of various associations and organizations such as South Texas Health Systems and the Cornerstone Regional Hospital. He also holds memberships with many professional organizations such as the American College of Physicians, and the American, Texas, Hidalgo County, Syrian, and Southern Medical Associations. Dr. Yazji is the current Medical Director for the South Texas Diabetic and Metabolic Institute, Edinburg Nursing and Rehabilitation and also serves as a designated speaker for Novo Nordisk Inc. on diabetes prevention and treatment. He is currently recognized by the State of Texas as a Designated Doctor, and his clinic as a High Performer, for Workman’s Compensation.
Dr. Yazji’s hospital affiliations are with the majority of the hospitals located in the Rio Grande Valley. These include the Edinburg Regional Medical Center, the Rio Grande and Cornerstone Regional Hospitals, the McAllen Medical Center and Heart Hospital, the Solara Hospital, and the Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance. His certifications and licenses include board certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Board of Obesity Medicine, and a recent appointment as Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor by the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Dr. Ahmad Abo Kayass – Board Member & Co-Founder
Dr. Ahmad Kayass, MD, a co-founder of UOSSM USA serves on the board of UOSSM USA. Dr. Kayass has been practicing medicine for nearly 20 years. Dr. Kayass completed his residency at Louisiana State University, then moved to Dallas to join UT Southwestern and Dallas Children’s Medical Center for a fellowship in Sleep Medicine. He is board certified in both Pediatrics and Sleep Medicine by the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Medical Specialties. After many years in successful private practice, Dr. Kayass chose to expand his opportunities and become the primary care provider at Pediatric Associates of North Texas, and recently at Southern Institute of Sleep Medicine in Edinburg, TX, while also overseeing his previously established practice, Tots N Teens Clinic of Mesquite, TX. Along with the long-term care of children’s well-being from birth to adolescence, Dr. Kayass is highly experienced in the management of inpatient and outpatient treatments. He is highly skilled with urgent care procedures as well as caring for critically ill children. Dr. Kayass is also heavily involved in his community by volunteering and hosting events to try and make a difference locally and globally. Dr. Kayass has also served on the boards of several non-profit organizations.
Dr. Hassan Chahadeh – Board Member
Dr. Hassan Chahadeh serves on the Board of UOSSM USA. Dr Chahadeh is board certified Anesthesiologist with added qualifications in pain management by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Dr. Chahadeh graduated from the University of Damascus-Facility of Medicine, Damascus, Syria in 1985. He did research in microsurgery and completed an internship in General Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. He then studied Anesthesiology with a 6-month fellowship in Cardiovascular anesthesia at Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Chahadeh finished his fellowship training in interventional pain and palliative care at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Chahadeh has been practicing pain management since 1996 and currently has office locations in Memorial City and The Woodlands. He is also an active member of UGHS Surgicare, The Woodlands. Dr. Chahadeh is committed to serving each patient individually by managing a treatment plan leading to restored quality of life.
Retired Senior Justice Linda R. Yanez - Board Member
Justice Linda R. Yanez, a board member of UOSSM USA, is a Texas trailblazer. In 1993, Governor Ann Richards appointed Justice Yanez to the Texas 13th Court of Appeals, making her the first Latina state Appellate Judge in the history of Texas and the first woman to serve as a Justice on the 13th Court of Appeals.
During her tenure on the bench, Justice Yanez authored hundreds of opinions concerning important civil and criminal issues facing Texans. Additionally, for more than a quarter of a century, Justice Yanez has also worked tirelessly toward the improvement of law by teaching lawyers and judges at various continuing legal education courses throughout Texas and the nation in areas ranging from the Fourth Amendment to Immigration Law. In 2003, Justice Yanez was also elected to the prestigious American Law Institute, where she worked on committees concerning International Jurisdiction & Judgements and the Model Penal Code, Sentencing Guidelines. Later she served as a faculty member at the National Judicial College. She continues to teach in the Trial Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School.
Prior to her serving as a judge, Justice Yanez served as a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School, as head of the Immigration Law Clinic and as Regional
Counsel for the Mexican America Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Chicago. Justice Yanez worked diligently in the 1980's on refugee issues along the U.S.-Mexico Border in conjunction with the Catholic Diocese. She worked closely with NGO's on those issues and attended hearings before the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1992 she also served as Head of the Immigration Team of the Clinton-Gore Presidential Transition Team.Justice Yanez's accomplished legal career is filled by many noteworthy accolades, including being named Outstanding Lawyer and Lawyer of the Year by the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas and received the Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Hispanic Bar Association and the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas and the Women's Bar Association of Texas.
Justice Yanez earned her Bachelor's Degree in Inter-American Studies from Pan American University (now University of Texas-RGV), her Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston and her Master of Laws from the University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia.
Currently, Judge Yanez has been designated as a Visiting Judge by the Texas Supreme Court. She is also certified as a Mediator by the Harvard Negotiation Institute at Harvard Law School. She spends half her time in the Valley where she sits as a Visiting Trial Judge throughout South Texas and as a Visiting Justice for the 13th Court of Appeals. The rest of her time is spent as a grandmother to her grandchildren in Houston, her most cherished role of all.
Dr. Ashraf Traboulsi - Co-Founder
Dr. Ashraf Traboulsi, a co-founder of UOSSM USA, is a successful professional and is highly experienced with organizational leadership. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a PhD in Pharmaceutical Science in 1997 and earned his Post-doctoral research in 1999. Dr. Traboulsi spent his professional career in teaching, and in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry, and has several publications related to his field.
Currently, Dr. Traboulsi is a Principal Scientist at Proctor and Gamble (P&G) and holds membership with professional organizations such as the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.
Dr. Traboulsi has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations. He was a founding board member of the Institute of Youth Development in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has served as a Member of the Board of Directors and a Member of the Executive Committee of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati (ICGC) since 2012 and has been the Vice-Chair of the Board 2013-2019. Dr. Traboulsi was a founding Board Member and the President of the Syrian American Foundation (SAF) in 2012, a non-profit organization in the State of Ohio. In addition, Dr. Traboulsi currently serves on UOSSM-International Board of Directors, as a representative of SAF.
CONSULTANTS AND ADVISORS
Dr. Zaher Sahloul- Senior Consultant and Advisor
Dr. Zaher Sahloul, M.D, is a Critical Care Specialist, Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Illinois, humanitarian, and strong advocate for refugees and victims of disasters including his homeland Syria. He founded several global organizations including, MedGlobal and SAMS to reduce healthcare disparity, globally focusing on disaster areas like Syria, Yemen and the Rohingya crises.
Dr. Sahloul is a leading advocate in the Syrian humanitarian crisis and the role of diaspora communities among medical circles, the media, the US government, and the UN. He has authored many articles on the impact of war in Syria on public health, healthcare workers, civilians, and children and has been published in major news outlets such as the New York Times, CNN, WP, WSJ, Foreign Policy, the Chicago Tribune, Fox News, and the Guardian.
Dr. Sahloul was awarded the Chicagoan of the Year award in 2016 for risking his life in medical missions to besieged Aleppo, the "Heroes Among Us" award by the American Red Cross in 2017, the UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian award in 2017, and the 2020 Gandhi Peace Award.
Between 2011 and 2015, Dr. Sahloul led the transformation of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) into a globally recognized medical NGO, representing the Syrian American diaspora, serving hundreds of thousands of Syrian patients and refugees. He co-founded SAMS Global Response to address the refugee crisis in Europe, as well as the American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS), a coalition of 14 humanitarian organizations.
Dr. Sahloul co-chairs the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition and sits on the advisory boards of the Syrian Community Network (SCN), and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Sahloul co-founded MedGlobal, a medical relief NGO dedicated to providing sustainable, innovative solutions to victims of global crises incorporating technology, cultural sensitivity, and interfaith collaboration.
Dr. Sahloul is married with three children.
Haytham Nakhleh- Director of Finance and Administration
Haytham Nakhleh is the Director of Finance and Administration of UOSSM USA and responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. Haytham holds a Master’s degree in Management (Finance focus) and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Accounting focus), both from the University of Texas at Dallas. He passed FMA’s Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) exam in 2016 and his Nonprofit Management Certificate through the University of Texas at Austin in January 2020. Haytham also attended and successfully completed, in March 2019, a webinar presented by Nonprofit WebAdvisor on indirect cost allocations under 2 CFR 200.
Haytham joined UOSSM USA as an accountant in 2015. Prior to joining UOSSM USA he had worked in accounting in the private sector. He is responsible for maintaining a sound accounting system and the financial records of the organization. He ensures policies and procedures are followed and that the organization is fully compliant with federal, state, and local regulations and guidelines, as well as banks and insurance companies. Haytham’s responsibilities have steadily increased since joining UOSSM USA, and he has gained valuable experience and insight into the areas of grants, programs, and human resources.
Najah Allouch- Director of Public Relations
Najah Allouch is the Director of Public Relations with UOSSM USA. Najah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and an Associate’s degree in Computer Information Systems from the University of Kentucky.
Najah began volunteering with UOSSM in 2012, in response to the crisis, and unimaginable suffering of the people in Syria, and then moved on to become the Communications and Media Director for UOSSM USA in 2015. Najah works tirelessly to shed light on the situation in Syria and other areas of crisis by creating quality media content and communications describing the extent of human suffering, and UOSSM’s response. Najah also works closely with donors and supporters that partner with UOSSM USA in the support of its cause and mission.
Najah has worked with several media outlets facilitating interviews/coverage on the Syrian crisis, such as Voice of America, CBS, and BBC. Her main objective is to ensure the continuation of the provision of life-saving medical relief, ultimately alleviating the suffering of those in dire circumstances in areas of crisis. Her passion is to be a voice for the voiceless, supporting people affected by crisis and giving them hope.
On a personal note, Najah is married and has three children.