The record of the IIHE founders in Iraq has centered in the Kurdistan autonomous region and focused on two areas of work: advancing access to the right to health for women and the integration of mental health in maternal health services.
The IIHE founders aided the official launch of CREWH, a women’s health center in Erbil, as a result of a series of academic workshops, trainings and teamwork between Hawler Medical University and a number of US counterparts identifying its need. These also benefited from brainstorming sessions between local professionals, visiting scholars and the representatives of organizations including the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), UNICEF, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the UN Refugee Agency and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Trainings covered topics including: female genital mutilation (FGM), reproductive health, violence against women, mental health and war, capacity building for women’s rights in Kurdistan, substance use, HIV/AIDS, environmental factors with regard to diseases, and impediments to research in Kurdistan. These forums also highlighted factors that prevent people from getting the care that they need, and these included stigma, lack of funding or poor understanding.