Fighting Heart Disease and Smoking in Jordan

November 2011Catherine Rauch

Ahmad Abu Raddaha is on a mission to improve health outcomes and quality of life in his native Jordan and throughout the Middle East. Since his nursing career began 10 years ago, he has advanced quickly from a registered nurse, certified in the United States and Jordan, to a master’s-level nurse with degrees from both countries, to a doctoral candidate in his third year at UCSF School of Nursing.

An expert in critical care and information technology, Abu Raddaha is especially focused on the high rates of cardiac disease – exacerbated by high rates of smoking – that lead to many premature deaths in the Middle East.

“Despite the public’s awareness of the tragic consequences of smoking, tobacco use remains highly prevalent in Jordan,” Abu Raddaha says. In his doctoral dissertation, Abu Raddaha is examining the links between depressive symptoms and smoking among Jordanian men with cardiovascular disease. He hopes to develop evidence-based interventions that encourage lifestyle changes.

“Understanding the differences between smokers with and without depressive symptoms is essential to providing more informed smoking cessation treatments,” he says.