Earth Institute Research Projects

REfugees Act and Communicate for Health (REACH): Using Technology to Increase Health Literacy and Health Care Access for Refugees in Turkey and Lebanon

Lead PI: Yanis Ben Amor , Dr. Ozge Karadag Caman
August 2019 - July 2021
Europe ; Asia ; Turkey ; Lebanon
Project Type: Research Outreach Education

DESCRIPTION: REACH is a regional initiative of CSD, which aims to bridge the gap in health literacy and health care access among refugee and local youth via digital health technologies in Turkey and Lebanon. Co-lead by Dr. Yanis Ben Amor and Dr. Ozge Karadag Caman, the project employs Community Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) framework, which has been recognized as a unique approach to conduct research with - rather than on - communities. Using CBPAR and implementation science methods, REACH aims to assess the impact of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on accessing reliable health information and available health services and to contribute to the limited scientific literature on ICT interventions for health in countries that host large refugee populations.

REACH Project in Turkey is supported by the International Cooperation and Development Fund of Taiwan (TaiwanICDF) and implemented with the collaboration of CSD, Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul, Istanbul University, and Bir IZ Association. REACH Project in Lebanon is supported by the Blue Chip Foundation and implemented with the collaboration of CSD, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT)-Lebanon and American University of Beirut (AUB). With a strong adult-youth partnership, the project includes stakeholders meetings, a mixed-methods baseline study with young people, health service providers and health policy makers, in addition to communication and dissemination activities such as organization of photo exhibitions, panels, and production of policy documents and scientific publications.

REACH works with refugee and local youth, software developers, academia, local health authorities, UN organizations and NGOs to develop an mHealth application to increase health literacy and improve health care access among young refugee and host communities, assess its effectiveness, work with stakeholder groups to disseminate the application more broadly in the region, and to contribute to the limited evidence base on using health technologies for youth health promotion in forced migration settings.


TaiwanICDF and Blue Chip Foundation


Yanis Ben Amor, Ozge Karadag Caman, Selma Karabey, Inanc Sumbuloglu, Nuhad Yazbik-Dumit


Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul


Istanbul University, Bir IZ Association (Turkey); DOT-Digital Opportunity Trust (Lebanon), American University of Beirut (AUB).


global health health promotion displacement community involvement mobile health (mhealth) refugees action research migration youth at-risk populations access to resources healthcare access


Sustainable living