Alumni Inspiration
July 20, 2022

Fulbright Alumni Awarded For Article In Occupational Therapy

Dr. Darawsheh is an associate professor at the University of Jordan and a Fulbright Visiting Scholar Alumna who recently received an award for a published paper.

Dr. Wesam Darawsheh is an associate professor at the University of Jordan where she teaches under the department of occupational therapy and school of Applied Health Sciences, her journey crossed paths with the Fulbright commission when she applied and was nominated to be part of the 2018-2019 cohort to receive the Fulbright Visiting Scholar (Postdoctoral Research) Award.

Dr. Darawsheh came with extensive knowledge and a clear vision of what she wanted to accomplish in life as an academic and advocate shedding light on occupational therapy within marginalized communities such as refugees. She is a qualified occupational therapist with experience of working in the United Kingdom and Jordan. She has a particular interest in contemporary issues such as technology, refugeeism, and cultures and their effect on education, and development. She has also an interest in Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR),occupational health in dysphagia conditions and occupational voice disorders.

For her Fulbright award, Dr. Darawsheh was invited to conduct her research at Jacksonville University in the state of Florida where she worked mainly at Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences and part of her field work was done with refugees that sought asylum in the U.S.

When asked about her experience during that time, Dr. Darawsheh said:

The Fulbright (Award) was my chance to explore the experiences of Syrian refugees in the USA, reflect on the meaning of their stories, and search for their human reflections deep inside of my soul. How often do we take things for granted, I wonder? How often do we learn the lessons without appreciating their morale? How often do we become selfish in keeping what we learn in our deepest closet? And how often do we forget the road that led us to where we are right now, and to the true meaning of our humanity? – Dr. Wesam Darawsheh

In 2019, Dr. Darawsheh authored a study titled “Exploration of Occupational Deprivation Among Syrian Refugees Displaced in Jordan”, and it was selected for the 2020 Cordelia Myers AJOT Best Article Award which is presented annually to recognize a high-impact, quality research study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT®) which reflects the journal’s current publication mission.

Dr. Sawsan Tabbaa (right), and the Provost , Prof. Christine Sapienza (center), Dr. Darawsheh (left)

In 2021, Dr. Darawsheh published another paper titled "Resettlement Experiences of Syrian Refugees in the United States: Policy Challenges and Directions" in the Journal of International Migration and Integration. This paper was accomplished in a collaboration with a research team at Jacksonville University (pictured above).

These two research papers are part of a series of research papers linked to the research project entitled: “The Experiences of Occupational Deprivation Among Syrian Refugees in Jordan and the USA” that was supported by the 2018-2019 Visiting Scholar (Post-Doc) Fulbright Program.

The research project is conducted to offer solutions and suggestions for policy makers, and workers in the refugee support programs in both host (e.g. Jordan) and resettlement countries (e.g. USA) so the Syrian refugees can no longer be described as a crisis but rather as an integral part of the development of host and resettlement communities.

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