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AMENA-Psy Appointed Chair's & Representatives


Sawssan Ahmed, Ph.D.

AMENA-Psy Representative to APA’s Council of Representatives

Dr. Sawssan Ahmed is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton, and a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of California and Qatar. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology with specializations in quantitative methods and community psychology from Wayne State University. She completed her postdoctoral training in developmental issues and health disparities. Dr. Ahmed’s research focuses on the relationship between sociocultural risk and protective factors and physical and mental health in people of color with a specific interest in American Muslim and Arab American communities. She was a co-investigator on a NIH-funded study focused on the relationship between racism, behavioral factors, and psychological and physical health in Arab American adolescents and is currently the lead principal investigator on a research study that explores the role of socio-cultural risk and protective factors in the well-being of a diverse group of American Muslim emerging adults. Dr. Ahmed was awarded a QNRF (Qatar National Research Fund) grant to investigate outcomes from a postpartum depression intervention for Arab women receiving perinatal services. She is also a research associate of the Family Youth Institute.  She has authored several publications on the role of risk and protective factors as well as culturally competent clinical work with Arab and Muslim communities.



Bahaur Amini, Ph.D.

Membership Chair

Bahaur is a post-doctoral fellow at The Clinic California offering therapy services to individuals, couples, and families across California via telehealth and in-person in LA. She completing her internship year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Counseling and Psychological Services in the BIPOC concentration. Throughout her professional career, Bahaur has committed her efforts to contribute to psychological research of and clinical practice with Middle Eastern populations. Her professional interests and goals developed from her own cultural identity and journey as a Middle Eastern graduate student. Awareness of the multiplicity of her social contexts has shaped her interests and goals for the advancement of multicultural counseling and social justice initiative. Her research interests broadly capture the impact of childhood/adolescent trauma on mental health functioning and relationships in adulthood, cultural and social identity development, sense of belonging, wellbeing, and resiliency. Bahaur has served on the AMENA-Psy executive board as Student Member-at-Large (2020-2021), co-chaired the 2021 AMENA-Psy Conference, and was co-editor for the AMENA-Psy Newsletter (2021). She also served on the advocacy, conference planning, and student committee. In addition to her leadership roles within AMENA-Psy, she has also served as the Student Liaison for Division 45's Student Committee and the student representative of Division 17, in which she was awarded the 2018 Student Affiliates of Seventeen (SAS) Representative of the Year. More recently she received the 2020 SAS Award for Dedication to Social Justice and Liberation in Counseling Psychology. Bahaur was recognized for her sustained leadership as the Student Member of AMENA-Psy and anti-racist advocacy and solidarity with others. She is grateful for the many meaningful relationships she has made with students and professionals in the organization. AMENA-Psy is her professional home. 

Layli Khaghani, Psy.D.

Advocacy Committee Co-Chair

Dr. Layli Khaghani is on Clinical Faculty for the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA and in private practice in San Francisco. She specializes in serving adults, children and families from MENA regions, immigrant and refugee backgrounds, and survivors of complex and transgenerational trauma. Dr. Khaghani is thrilled to bridge her clinical work and activism on the Advocacy Committee, as she perceives global and personal transformation as inextricably linked. 


Nahaal Binazir, Psy.D.

Advocacy Committee Co-Chair

Dr. Nahaal Binazir trained at Pepperdine University and Providence St. John’s Child and Family Development Center, completing her Trauma Psychology postdoctoral fellowship at LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans – the city where she practices as a Clinical Psychologist. Born and raised in South Africa to interfaith Iranian immigrants, cultural learning and advocacy have always been at the core of her work. Dr. Binazir’s primary interests include adolescent health, community empowerment, mental health consultation, violence intervention, and immigrant and refugee health – with a focus on child-parent mental health. She is passionate about adolescent empowerment, as well as increasing accurate visibility for both MENA/SWANA and African communities in clinical work. She also serves as adjunct faculty to Providence St. John’s Child and Family Development Center as well as on the editorial board for the APA Journal of Psychological Trauma. In her free time, she enjoys time with family, reading, creating community through cooking and cultural crafts, as well as basketball and soccer. 

Mohamed Elnakib, Psy.D.

Newsletter Editor

Mohamed Elnakib received his Psy.D. at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. He is currently a Psychologist at Innercare, the first federally funded migrant health center in the United States. An avid and passionate activist, Mohamed’s advocacy centers around using a social justice informed lens to educate others about social issues impacting Arab Americans and using a humanitarian approach to serve the most underserved and marginalized MENA community members both nationally and internationally. His research interests include the advancement and development of multiculturally sensitive therapeutic interventions for MENA communities, raising awareness on the impacts of racial discrimination on the lives of Arab and Muslim Americans, and what contributes to collective resilience for Arab and Muslim Americans that are impacted by trauma. Mohamed embodies values of social justice in every aspect of his research scholarship and clinical practice and is a vocal advocate for social justice and equity for BIPOC communities. Mohamed has served as the co-chair of the first inaugural conference planning committee for AMENA-Psy in 2020 in addition to the co-chair of the Advocacy committee from 2018 to 2022. Currently, Mohamed serves as the editor of the AMENA-Psy Newsletter. In addition to his work with AMENA-Psy, Mohamed currently serves on Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis’s APA Presidential “Representation Matters” Task Force. 


Katrina Rbeiz, B.S.

Social Media Chair

Katrina Rbeiz is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Vanderbilt University. Having lived in several Middle Eastern countries before moving to the US for her undergraduate degree, Katrina is passionate about increasing the representation and voices of MENA populations. Her advocacy and research interests broadly include addressing disparities in the measurement and diagnosis of serious mental illnesses in people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds. She hopes to a) identify risk (e.g. trauma) and resilience (e.g. ethnic identity) factors for ethnically diverse populations, particularly for MENA populations and b) treat the attenuated symptoms through developing culturally valid assessments and interventions. Her goal is to further explore ethnic identity, resilience, and psychosocial factors of MENA populations. Katrina is excited to work and collaborate with the inspirational members of the Advocacy Committee to continue bringing awareness and fighting against the injustices of systemic oppression that Arab/MENA Americans face. She is grateful that there exists such a platform dedicated to providing support, promoting social justice, and promising change.