Dr. Umaiyeh Khammash

Job title: Executive Director

Dr. Umaiyeh Khammash, a Medical Doctor and Senior Public Health Specialist, graduated from Odessa in the Soviet Union in 1980. He did his postgraduate training in Epidemiology and Public Health from Montpelier in France and Emory University and CDC in Atlanta, Georgia.


With over 40 years of experience in all aspects of primary healthcare, Dr. Khammash currently serves as the Director of Juzoor for Health and Social Development, a leading Palestinian NGO in the health and social sectors.


Throughout his career, Dr. Khammash practiced medicine in different West Bank hospitals and managed several local and international health programs. Prior to his current post, he served as the Chief of Health for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the West Bank for over 14 years. In this role, he supervised the delivery of health services to Palestinian refugees and played a leading role in health service delivery, policy, governance, and reform, including the introduction of the Family Health Team Reform in the West Bank, integrating mental health, family and child protection, and the prevention of gender-based violence into the health services in Palestine. He also wrote a number of articles, manuals and books throughout his career including Sexual Health for Children and Adolescents and Health and Globalization. Dr. Khammash assumed different key and senior positions throughout the years. He was the Chief of Party for one of USAID’s top health programs - “Maram Project.” He was also the advisor to the Minister of Planning on population matters where he took the lead in establishing the population committee under the Prime Minister and was a member of the inter-ministerial committee to reform the health sector in Palestine.


Dr. Khammash has also worked and influenced health services in different countries. He was UNFPA’s Chief Regional Technical Advisor for Central Asia based in Uzbekistan. In this crucial role, he introduced reproductive health services into the system of six republics: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. He was also the technical advisor for the World Health Organization in Moldova. Additionally, he was the Vice President of the International People’s Health Council (IPHC) in Nicaragua for a number of years until the IPHC merged into the People’s Health Movement.


Dr. Khammash also played a key role in the introduction of modern concepts and models of healthcare in Palestine. He set the foundation for community and grassroots approaches and philosophies in the country as opposed to the medicalization of healthcare.  In the early 1980s, he and a number of like-minded doctors and health professionals established the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC), a leading community based health movement of which he served its Director. In addition, he was a founding member of several health organizations and projects both nationally and internationally including Juzoor, the Center for Primary Health Care with AL- Quds University, the Palestinian Health Coalition for Adolescents, the MENA Health Policy Forum, and the Palestinian Health Policy Forum.


Along with his medical and health background, Dr. Khammash is also a civil society activist where he promotes and advocates for human rights, democracy and women’s right.  In the early 1990s, he took a leading role to establish the Palestinian NGO network (PNGO) which includes over 100 organizations in the West Bank and Gaza. He currently serves on the board of trustees and/or general assembly for several organizations such as Woman Center for Legal Aid and Advice (WCLAC), the Palestinian Counseling Center (PCC), Education for Employment, MUWATEN a Palestinian establishment for the study for democracy, Tamer Institute for Community Education, and Al-Haq organization for human right. He has also served on the international board for the Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, the Arab Forum for Social and Health and the Arab Coalition for Adolescents Health and Medicine.  Dr. Khammash also represented the Palestinian Civil Society Movement in the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People established by the UN.