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CNN anchor visits School of Medicine to cover Department of Psychiatry’s Syrian refugee study

February 10, 2017

CNN anchor and correspondent Victor Blackwell traveled with a film crew to Detroit and the Wayne State University School of Medicine on Thursday to cover the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences-based research study “Risk and Resilience in Syrian Refugees.”

Blackwell interviewed Assistant Professor Arash Javanbakht, M.D., the study’s principal investigator, and volunteer research assistant Mohammed Isam Alsaud, at the school’s Tolan Park medical office building.

(Learn more about the study here).

The report aired on the cable news network’s “New Day Weekend” program, which airs Saturday mornings. The video is available for viewing online at this link.

The study was launched six months ago to determine the mental health impact and biological correlation of civil war trauma on Syrian refugees now living in the United States. Data collected from saliva and hair samples, and interviews with refugees who moved to Michigan less than two months earlier, show that 30 percent of adult refugees experience post-traumatic stress disorder and 50 percent experience depression.

In addition, 60 percent of Syrian children show signs of anxiety because of the trauma – very likely impacted by their mother’s PTSD.

The CNN crew also visited the Arab American and Chaldean Council in Dearborn, interviewing refugees and staff there.

The study is supported by the state of Michigan’s Lycaki-Young Fund, Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority and Behavioral Professionals Inc. Many team members are volunteers, including five research assistants who served as dentists and physicians in Iraq and Dubai.

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