Saleyha Ahsan founds Healthcare in Conflict network 

PhD candidate Dr Saleyha Ahsan

Newnham PhD candidate and ESRC scholar Dr Saleyha Ahsan has secured funding from the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) to establish a new network called Healthcare in Conflict with co-convener Dr Charlotte Hammer, Everett Butterfield Fellow in Emerging Diseases, Downing College.  

As part of the award they will set up the network, run fortnightly seminars and a one day conference later this year. The inter-disciplinary research network aims to examine healthcare in conflict and foster dialogue through the lens of medicine, social science, journalism and law.  

Saleyha, who has worked as a doctor, journalist and film-maker in conflict areas including Syria, is studying for a PhD in Engineering Health Systems Design, in the Department of Engineering  looking at the Impact of Attacks Against Healthcare in Conflict from a health systems perspective. 

She will present a paper at the World Extreme Medicine Conference, in Edinburgh in November, on Healthcare in Conflict.   

Saleyha has been following the targeting of healthcare in war since the 1990s as a practitioner, journalist and now researcher.  Her work has taken her to Kashmir, Palestine, Libya, DR Congo and Syria. She’s a former British Army captain who served in Bosnia as a non clinical medical support officer, as part of the Nato Stabilisation Force, and it was there she was inspired to retrain as a doctor.   

In a busy few months, Saleyha has also been selected for the mid-career television scheme, Breakthrough Leaders 2023, securing support and connections with television industry decision-makers to help progress her career, and is being mentored by Fatima Salaria, the Executive Chair of Edinburgh Television Festival as part of the Women in Television mentoring programme 2023.  

Find out more about the Healthcare in Conflict network.