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Abu-Kaf, Sarah

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Sarah  Abu-Kaf is a faculty member in Cross-Cultural Psychology at the Conflict Management and Resolution Program of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). Abu-Kaf is the first Bedouin clinical psychologist. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology at BGU and completed her post-doctoral studies in the Department of Anthropology of Harvard University. Her work focuses on personality, psychopathology, and psychotherapy in different cultural contexts. Her recent research projects examine different sources of stress, coping resources and coping strategies, and different idioms of distress among young people (particularly students) in the Israeli society.

She has received several awards and fellowships, including the Head of Psychology Department Distinction Award (BGU) in 2008 and the RHA Center for Bedouin Studies and Development Award for a distinguished doctoral dissertation. In 2011, she was a Fulbright-Rabin Post-Doctoral Scholar in the Medical Anthropology program at Harvard University and she received the Maof Fellowship for Outstanding Arab Lecturers in 2013. In 2014, Abu-Kaf was named to the Women in Science Hall of Fame by the US Department of State, as one of a group of 11 women from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In 2016, Abu-Kaf has also won the Israeli Council for Higher Education Award in the Young Researcher category.

By working at the margins between theory, research, and practice,  she contributes to both the understanding of mental health problems and the development of culturally competent interventions. Dr. Abu-Kaf is a board member of the Association for Multicultural Psychology and plays a leadership role in developing programs in culturally competent clinical psychology. Recently, Abu-Kaf contributed a book chapter on “Mental Health Issues among   Arab Palestinian Women in Israel.” She developed a mental-health services model to better prevent and treat emotional distress among vulnerable populations, based on her research among Bedouin society in Al-Naqab. She also initiated an intervention program to address academic stress and dropout rates among Bedouin students in institutions of higher learning.

 

 

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