Behind the Researcher: Ohoud Alosais

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Ohoud Alosais is a PhD student at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing (UK CON) with an expected graduation date of December 2022. Ohoud chose to come to UK because it is one of the top research universities in the US. She found that many UK CON faculty had funded research projects in which students are encouraged to participate. She chose UK so that she could gain research experience, learn from the faculty, and have guidance for her path in academia. The director of the UK CON Behavioral Health Wellness Environments for Living and Learning (BH WELL) research team, Dr. Zim Okoli, serves as one of Ohoud’s mentors.

Ohoud’s research focus is mental health help-seeking behavior among Arabs living in the US. She is interested in this topic because mental disorders are one of the leading causes of illness and disability in the world, comprising 14% of the global disease burden.  

Growing up in an Arabic culture, it seemed to Ohoud that mental health was viewed in a negative light. Despite efforts to reduce the stigma, open discussion about mental illness and necessary care continues to be the outlier rather than the norm. Her personal experience of avoiding needed mental healthcare inspired her research interest in exploring mental health help-seeking behaviors, especially among the Arab population. 

“My goal is to focus on the need for innovation to advance MH research. Thus, I will dedicate knowledge, skills, and passion to address mental illness stigma and mental health stigma, develop interventions to spread awareness, and translate mental health research findings into a call to action at societal and organizational levels,” Ohoud shares.

At APNA, Ohoud's poster will entail her systematic review about factors influencing Arabs' attitudes toward mental health care and their intentions to seek mental health services. Her coauthors are Bassema Abu Farsakh and Dr. Zim Okoli. The outcomes of this literature review have narrowed Ohoud’s research path by revealing possible factors influencing Arab behavior and opinions toward mental health care and mental health service-seeking. She will explore these possible factors as part of her PhD dissertation.