Hafifa Shabaik, PhD, MSN, RN​

Hafifa Shabaik, PhD, MSN, RN


PhD  UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
MSN – UCLA School of Nursing, Los Angeles, CA

Biography: Dr. Hafifa Siddiq is a doctorate-prepared registered nurse, whose research focuses on the health and wellbeing of resettled refugees. Dr. Siddiq’s work examines the social and structural influences on refugees’ and immigrants’ use of preventive screening and mental health services and community-based solutions to the mental health needs of this population. She also aims to address equitable access to these services through community-participatory research and policy advocacy. 

As a scholar, Dr. Siddiq applied community participatory and critical race theory principles in her work. She co-led the planning and evaluation of the “Community Leadership Institute for Equity (C- LIFE) Conference” in partnership with Healthy African American Families (HAAF-II). This conference proposes a potential training program for community members to become involved in Community Partnered Participatory Research (CPPR) that prioritizes issues like housing and food insecurity, violence and trauma, with the underlying cause of racism as a structural determinant of health affecting the health outcomes of Black and minoritized communities. Additionally, she developed and coordinated a series of focus group facilitator training and qualitative data analysis training for community leaders. Dr. Siddiq also participated as a clinician representative for the “Addressing Medical Mistrust in Black Communities” conference at UCLA. This conference trained over one hundred physicians and nurses on topics like the history of medical mistrust in Black communities and clinic and systems level changes that strengthen patient-provider relationships to improve health outcomes.  

Dr. Siddiq’s main project was entitled, “Collaborative Approach to Mental Health Service Use among Older Refugees from Muslim-Majority Counties.” This is a multi-phase study conducted in partnership with a refugee-serving organization, Access California Services, and is funded by the UCLA Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) and UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Pilot Award. This multi-methods study explores multi-sector service providers’ perspectives of priority mental health concerns of resettled refugees and immigrants, specifically from Muslim-majority countries, the pathways to culturally-sensitive counseling and community-based mental health services, and challenges in screening and referring refugee clients to these services. Relatedly, Dr. Siddiq co-developed a survey with AccessCal to administer to over 180 adults in the community, to analyze the association of social connectedness/isolation on patient- reported outcome measures of wellbeing among refugees and non-refugees. In the next phase of this project, the project team will pilot a virtual home visiting program, using a family-centered and trauma-informed approach to ultimately increase community connections, address social isolation, and overcome barriers to community-based mental health services among older adult immigrants and refugees. 

Dr. Siddiq also led and participated in COVID-related projects during her time in the fellowship. She was involved in the COVID-19 Mental Health Advocacy Working group, and assisted in the initial development and evaluation of a state-wide digital mental health resource app and webpage in response to COVID-19 and the mental health crisis. The first stage informed the CAL-HOPE website (https://calhope.semel.ucla.edu) in English and in Spanish. The second stage developed a curated set of 20 digital resources with input of stakeholder groups for diverse racial and ethnic populations and age groups. With increased use of and access to tele-health amid the pandemic, Dr. Siddiq led a research project using the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) examining factors associated with the use of tele-mental health services for emotional or drug and alcohol related issues comparing immigrant and US born adults. Additionally, she worked with Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Ambulatory Care Services to develop a survey exploring structural determinants of health and COVID vaccine uptake and declination among adult patients within a safety net health care setting. This study is currently funded through the DAISY Health Equity Grant Program.  

During her time as a NCSP fellow, Dr. Siddiq published eight articles. Select publications include collaborative editorials with other NCSP fellows across the nation, including a first author commentary titled “Clinicians as Advocates amid Refugee Resettlement Agency Closures” accepted for publication in the Journal of Public Health Policy and as second author in the editorial titled “Nurses Should Oppose Police Violence and Unjust Policing in Healthcare” published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies. Dr. Siddiq has also co-authored several papers related to health inequities exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic, including “Refugees and COVID-19: Achieving a Comprehensive Public Health Response” published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.  

Dr. Siddiq accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the Charles R. Drew University (CDU) School of Nursing where she continues to focus on improving the health and wellbeing of immigrants and refugees, develop community-based solutions to the mental health needs of under-resourced populations, and advocate for policy changes that improves equitable access to mental health services. Dr. Siddiq was awarded research salary support through the CDU Urban Health Institute.