Short Biography

Rima Habib is a Professor of environmental and occupational health in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. She holds a Master of Public Health, a Master of Occupational Health and Safety, and a Ph.D in Public Health and Community Medicine from the University of New South Wales.  She currently serves as the chair of the Department of Environmental Health at the American University of Beirut.

Rima Habib photo gallery

Research Interests

Dr. Habib’s research activities and contributions have focused on the following research themes: (1) Work-related exposures and human health; (2) Ecosystem approaches to human health in poor rural communities; and (3) Health of displaced, refugee and migrant populations. Her research—doubly focused on marginalized workers and unrecognized labor—aims to highlight the intersections of work, gender, environment, and health in Lebanon and the Arab region, often pushing beyond the boundaries of orthodoxy within her field.

Dr. Habib has pioneered the exploration of women’s work in the household in conjunction with housing conditions, an innovative approach that recognizes women's domestic labor as a necessary but often ignored area of study in the occupational and environmental health field. Her research emphasizes the parallels between homemaking and paid work, focusing on work tasks and health risks. Her research on migrant agricultural workers innovatively engages the field in questioning around the need for both gendered and intersectional analyses in ongoing studies of farmworker populations. She has further applied these principles to her research of farming communities, publicly advocating for the rights of these workers to basic labor protections and broader state recognition and support.

Dr. Habib has also engaged in health research documenting the relationship between levels of social and economic deprivation and multi-morbidity in refugee communities. Dr. Habib hopes to continue her critical and applied research supportive of social justice causes that are relevant to regional and global development debates.  More broadly, as nationalism and the vilification of refugees continues to intensify, this type of research and advocacy to vulnerable worker populations is timely. Its relevance is obvious to workers in Lebanon but is also contributing to broader regional and global debates on development policies, geopolitics, and health.

Dr. Habib has also led research related to child labor in conflict settings. Her research highlights how children within households experiencing displacement and economic precarity are often forced into work that is harmful to their health and development. Her research on working children has explored different dimensions of this phenomenon within Lebanon and among refugee populations, identifying how inadequate policy frameworks and social programs have had destructive consequences on vulnerable communities. This research is of great consequence to the region and the world, as mass displacement and migration-related to climate change and conflict are becoming more common, and children will continue to face the brunt of these crises.

Dr. Habib adopts an ecosystem approach to human health in research assessing the diverse interactions and effects of environmental exposures on health in underserved communities. She believes that the EcoHealth approach engages in participatory models of research in order to mobilize findings toward social justice causes.

Research Accomplishments

Dr. Habib served as a principal investigator for research on environmental and occupational exposures to ionizing radiation. She has served as a principal investigator on (1) the study group of the International Collaborative Study on Cancer Risk among Radiation Workers in the Nuclear Industry, carried out under the auspices of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and (2) the Workers Health research component of the Urban Health Survey carried out by the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut and funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Mellon and Ford foundations.

She has organized two international symposia focused on the theme of social justice and public health; one was held at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting in Denver Colorado, between 6 and 10 November 2010, and the other held at the EcoHealth Conference of the International Association for Ecology and Health in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, between 18 and 20 August 2010.

A number of the peer-reviewed articles that Dr. Habib authored have linked people’s environmental and living conditions with health in economically disadvantaged communities.  She authored a scientific article titled “Double Jeopardy: Assessing the Association between Internal Displacement, Housing Quality and Chronic Illness in a Low-income Neighborhood” which was published in the Journal of Public Health.

Dr. Habib also authored a chapter in the book on ‘Ecohealth Research in Practice: Innovative Applications of an Ecosystem Approach to Health’ published by Springer and IDRC (2011). She co-edited a Special Issue on Gender, Women’s Work and Ergonomics for the Journal Ergonomics (Vol 55, 2012).   She authored a book chapter titled “Workers Health: a Social Framework Beyond Workplace Hazards” published by Cambridge University Press in 2012. This chapter departs from the usual focus of the field of occupational health on workplace hazards to encompass a broader view—incorporating financial insecurity, exploitation, hazardous work environments and migration—while emphasizing that social justice and change are necessary components to improve workers health.

She authored a number of policy briefs one of which focused on addressing Climate Change and Health Research in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, published by the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs. Between 2009-2016, Dr. Habib assumed the position of Chair on the Technical Committee of Gender and Work of the International Ergonomics Association.

Other policy briefs included Addressing the Poor Living Conditions to Improve Health in Palestinian Camps in Lebanon. This policy brief was also published by the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. 
Her work on the health and living conditions of Palestinian Refugees residing in camps in Lebanon has been recently published online in the Lancet:  
http://www.thelancet.com/health-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory-2012.


Awards and Services

As a professor, Dr. Habib has mentored several graduate students and has coordinated undergraduate and graduate courses at the American University of Beirut.

Dr. Habib is also a member of several Academic and Professional Societies including the International Association for Ecology and Health, the International Commission on Occupational Health, the International Ergonomics Association, the International Society of Urban Health, the Public Health Association of Australia, and the American Public Health Association.  

Collegium Ramazzini Fellow

On November 8, 2017, Dr. Habib was elected as a Fellow of the renowned Collegium Ramazzini, an independent, international academy founded in 1982 by Irving J. Selikoff, Cesare Maltoni and other eminent scientists. 

Dr. Habib was an invited speaker during a conference organized by the Collegium Ramazzini, ANNUAL RAMAZZINI DAYS, at Capri, Italy, on 24-27 October 2019. She presented on "Child labor among Syrian refugees living in Lebanon: A story of deprivation and neglect". During this conference Dr. Habib was inducted as a fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini, by the mayor of Capri, Alberto Bellilli, and the president of the collegium Ramazzini Philip Landrigan. 

Dr. Habib was recognized as a Fellow on the Collegium Ramazzini Website: http://www.collegiumramazzini.org/fellows1.asp?id=339

Collegium Ramazzini is comprised of 180 internationally renowned experts in the fields of occupational and environmental health from more than 30 countries. The mission of the Collegium Ramazzini is to advance the study of occupational and environmental health issues and to be a bridge between the world of scientific discovery and the social and political centers which must act on the discoveries of science to protect public health.

More information can be found on: http://website.aub.edu.lb/fhs/fhs_home/Pages/news1711.aspx

Collegium Ramazzini

Collegium Ramazzini

Collegium Ramazzini

Collegium Ramazzini

The International Occupational Health and Safety Award

In recognition of her considerable achievements and service in Occupational Health and Safety, Dr. Habib received the “2017 International Health and Safety Award" from the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) on 7 November 2017. The International Health and Safety Award recognizes individuals with outstanding achievement in the field of occupational health and safety outside the United States.

Over her career, she has challenged colleagues, government officials, and NGO’s to recognize and pursue social justice approaches to environmental and occupational research and public-health practice. The award was based on her work on health disparities for marginalized workers and unrecognized labor in Lebanon and the larger Arab region. In this particular field, Dr. Habib developed innovative approaches for policymakers to recognize women's domestic labor and its impact on individual and community health. She was also recognized for her extensive research on migrant agricultural workers, and for pursuing new lines of inquiry about gender in farmworkers populations. Her research in this field has provoked new advocacy on behalf of farmworkers and agricultural communities in Lebanon and the region including the founding of a regional Agriculture, Environment, and Health Network.

Talk during the Award Ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_x8LijH3Zw

Talk during the International Occupational Health and Safety Award Ceremony

At the 2017 International Health and Safety Award from the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) section of the American Public Health Association (APHA)

Associate Editor of the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health

Since 2018, Dr. Rima Habib is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health.

"This interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal is designed to foster the identification and discussion of agricultural safety and health issues. Articles written by experts in the fields of engineering, occupational safety, social psychology, public policy, education, industrial hygiene, and public health appear in this quarterly publication. The American Society of Agricultural Engineers publishes Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health four times a year. Open Access may be purchased for your article." Available at: https://www.asabe.org/JASH

Journal Cover (DOI: 10.13031/issn.1074-7583)

Established the School Network for a Healthy Environment

The Network was established by the Department of Environmental Health at the Faculty of Health Sciences, AUB, to promote a healthy environment, raise environmental awareness and seek to engage with Lebanese schools to respond to environmental health challenges in Lebanon and the region. The initiative also serves the purpose of student recruitment for the undergraduate Environmental Health program.

Conducted 3 workshops:

First Workshop, launching of the network, on 23 November 2017

Second Workshop on 28 March 2018

Third Workshop on 27 November 2018

Rima Habib giving the keynote for launching the School Network for a Healthy Environment in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Health at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon)

Engaging school councilors in a talk on the state of the Environment in Lebanon

Workshop for schools

Sample Conference Presentations

Presentation in Bibliotheca Alexandria

Green Economies in the Arab Future: Challenges, Assets, and Possibilities

Invited Speaker: Healthy Green Economies: Health is a Cornerstone of Economic Development. In: "Green Economy: A Road Map for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction in the Arab Region". Center for Special Studies and Programs, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 16-17 December 2015. https://www.bibalex.org/CSSP/Presentations/Attachments/Rima%20Habib/play.htm

Measures and categories in the production of knowledge about rural transformation in the Arab World Conference

Conference Opening Speech: Measures and categories in the production of knowledge about rural transformation in the Arab World. September 16-18, 2016, American University of Beirut, West Hall, Auditorium B.

Available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnhVyumvOv8

https://www.athimar.org/en/articles/details/measures-and-categories-in-the-production-of-knowledge-about-rural-tra

Presentation at AUB

Conference Program

Video of the Opening Session at AUB

We Made Every Living Thing from Water

Co-Chair of the Scientific Committee and Moderator.

A 40-minutes documentary highlights the dangerous impacts of environmental degradation on water resources and shows the mismanagement of water resources in Lebanon. Research sponsored and event organized by the Agriculture, Environment and Health Network and the Environmental Health Department at FHS, AUB. https://vimeo.com/259600292

Pre-Launch: Survey on Child Labor in Agriculture in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon – The Case of Syrian Refugees

Presented the results of the Child Labor study among Syrian Refugee Children in the Bekaa Valley to the Ministry of Labor in Lebanon and a number of UN organizations: ILO, FAO, UNICEF, and other entities, on 28 June 2018.

at Ministry of Labor

at Ministry of Labor

Launch of the Report on Survey on Child Labor in Agriculture in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon: The Case of Syrian Refugees

Organizer and Presenter for the launching event organized by the Department of Environmental Health (FHS, AUB), in partnership with the Ministry of Labor. A study carried out with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Environmental Health Department at the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), led by Dr. Rima Habib, published one of the largest research studies to be carried out on child labor globally, entitled "Survey on Child Labour in Agriculture in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon: The Case of Syrian Refugees."

The report was launched on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 in the auditorium of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) at the American University of Beirut, in the presence of the Lebanese Minister of Labor Camille AbouSleiman and senior representatives from IDRC, UNICEF, FAO, and ILO.

More details at: https://www.aub.edu.lb/fhs/news/Pages/enhl_ChildLabourReportLaunch.aspx

Habib RR (2019). Survey on Child Labor in Agriculture in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon: The Case of Syrian Refugees. Pp. 112. Beirut, Lebanon: American University of Beirut Press, June 2019. ISBN 978-9953-586-47-2. [A report prepared with funding from IDRC, UNICEF, FAO, ILO]. Available at: https://scholarworks.aub.edu.lb/handle/10938/21507 

Report Cover

Dr. Rima Habib

Minister of Labor Camille AbouSleiman

Dr. Fadlo Khuri, AUB President

Dr. Maurice Saade, representing FAO

Frida Khan, on behald of ILO

The 27th International Conference on Epidemiology in Occupational Health: Health and the Environment at Work: The Need for Solutions (EPICOH-2019)

Invited Keynote: Conceptualizing Child Labor in Conflict Settings: The case of Syrian refugees Conference organized by the Epidemiology in Occupational Health, Scientific Committee of the International Commission on Occupational Health: EPICOH 2019, Wellington, New Zealand, 29 April – 2 May 2019. https://www.confer.nz/epicoh2019/speakers/prof-rima-habib/

EPICOH 2019 Speaker

EPICOH 2019 Profile Biography

11th Joint Conference on Occupational Health for Health Workers

Invited Keynote: Research on healthcare workers in conflict settings: A gender perspective

Conference organized by the Scientific Committee for Occupational Health for Health workers (SCOHHW), the Scientific Committee for Occupational and Environmental Dermatoses (SCOED), the Scientific Committee on Women, Health and Work (SCWHW) and the International Section of the International Social Security Association (ISSA) on the Prevention of Occupational Risks in Health Services, Hamburg, Germany, 22-23 October, 2019.

Links and Additional Information

 

Publications on Google Scholar:

https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Y26j4mAAAAAJ&hl=en

 

Information about the Environmental Health Department at the American University of Beirut:

http://website.aub.edu.lb/fhs/fhs_home/academic_departments/Pages/eh_department.aspx

 

Media Coverage:

Coverage of the Child Labor Study – Posted on AUB President’s Perspective in December 2019

“This past year also saw a host of impactful research on medicine and health coming out of AUB. This includes the largest-ever study of child labor globally led by Dr. Rima Habib (FHS), which looked at the case of Syrian refugee children working in agriculture in the Beqaa Valley.”
Available at: https://bit.ly/30tyBLA

ASPPH Article on Dr. Habib's induction as Collegium Ramazzini Fellow

An article related to RR Habib’s induction as a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini during the Ramazzini Days in October 2019 was posted on Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) website on 7 November 2019:
"AUB: Dr. Rima Habib Inducted as a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini."
Available at: https://bit.ly/38haxOG

ASPPH Article on Child Labor Report Launch

Coverage of the launch of the report on Child Labour in Agriculture among Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon - Posted on July 11 2019
“AUB: Researchers Reveal Shocking Facts on Child Labor Among Syrian Refugees Working in Agriculture in Bekaa Valley of Lebanon”
Available at: https://bit.ly/2TSy7eV

AUB News Article on Induction as Collegium Ramazzini Fellow

An article on RR Habib’s induction as a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini during the Ramazzini Days in October 2019 – Posted on 11 November 2019
"Dr. Rima Habib inducted as a fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini" 
Available at: https://bit.ly/2FQILN7

AUB News Article on Child Labor Report Launch

Coverage of the launch of the report on Child Labour in Agriculture among Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon - Posted on 20 July 2019 “FHS researchers reveal shocking facts on child labor among Syrian refugees working in agriculture in the Bekaa Valley”
Available at: https://bit.ly/2X2Ho84

AUB News Article on Child Labor Study Presentation at MoL (Pre-Launch)

Coverage of the Presentation of the results of a study on Child Labor among Syrian Refugees at the Ministry of Labor 28 June 2018 - Posted on 29 June 2018
“Dr. Rima Habib discusses the results of a study on Child Labor among Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley”
Available at: https://www.aub.edu.lb/fhs/news/Pages/childlabor.aspx

AUB News Article on International Health and Safety Award

An article relating to RR Habib receiving the 2017 International Health and Safety Award and being elected as a fellow of the renowned Collegium Ramazzini.- Posted on 7 November 2017
“Double global recognition for Dr. Rim Habib, Chair of the Environmental Health department at FHS”
Available at: https://www.aub.edu.lb/fhs/news/Pages/recognition_RimaHabib.aspx

Coverage of the Child Labor Study in the Media between June and July 2019 - following the launch of the study report at AUB in the presence of the Minister of Labor and various UN agencies’ representatives:

1. Dubai TV – 26 July 2019: Interview with Dubai TV Reporter Eliane Chatry - Coverage between 14:05-17:33 minutes in the News

2. Al-Hurra TV Interview – 12 July 2019

3. MTV primetime night news – 12 July 2019
"دراسة: غالبية أطفال اللاجئين السوريين في لبنان يعملون"

4. China Global Television Network (CGTN) News – 29 June 2019
"ز75% من أطفال اللاجئين السوريين في شرق لبنان يعملون في الزراعة"
Available at: https://bit.ly/2Zj6L6O

5. Addiyar News – 27 June 2019
وزارة العمل اطلقت دراسة عن مسح عمل أطفال النازحين في قطاع الزراعة" – عدد 10832"

6. El Sharq – 27 June 2019
وزارة العمل تطلق دراسة عن عمل أطفال النازحين في قطاع الزراعة" - عدد 20983"

7. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) – 27 June 2019
Interview with BBC Arabic radio reporter Manal Jawhar

8. Al Akhbar News – 27 June 2019
"ز75% من أطفال اللاجئين السوريين في شرق لبنان يعملون في الزراعة"
Available at: https://bit.ly/2X4xBKJ

9. AlSharq el Awsat News – 27 June 2019
"وزير العمل اللبناني: نعمل على تنظيم العمالة السورية"
Available at: https://bit.ly/2KK7d7k

10. The Daily Star Lebanon News Website (also published on Pressreader Website) – 27 June 2019
“No excuse: Officials vow action on child labor”
Available at: https://bit.ly/2J3u23u & https://bit.ly/30t2MCN

11. Ministry of Labor Website – 27 June 2019
"عمل اطفال النازحين في القطاع الزراعي"
Available at: https://bit.ly/2Z3WZ9c

12. IM Lebanon Website – 27 June 2019
"ز75% من أطفال اللاجئين السوريين في شرق لبنان يعملون في الزراعة"
Available at: https://bit.ly/2MwCUlg

13. Alaraby News Website - 26 June 2019
"دراسة: غالبية أطفال اللاجئين السوريين في لبنان يعملون"
Available at: https://bit.ly/31WqCaj

14. Arab News – 26 June 2019
“Survey reveals plight of Syrian refugee children”
Available at: https://bit.ly/30rP1TY

15. Lebanon24 Website – 26 June 2019
"أبو سليمان: نتبع الخطط الملائمة لضمان العودة الآمنة للنازحين"
Available at: https://bit.ly/2y6sob4

16. Alliwa’a News– 26 June 2019
"وزارة العمل تطلق دراسة حول مسح عمل اطفال النازحين في القطاع الزراعي"
Available at: https://bit.ly/2JLiBOp

17. Annahar News – 26 June 2019
"أبو سليمان: الحكومة تتبع الخطط الملائمة لضمان العودة الآمنة للنازحين"
Available at: https://bit.ly/2NikJ41

18. The MainGate Magazine at AUB – August 2019
The Human Face of a Crisis - Professor Rima Habib is the lead investigator of an alarming study on child labor in Lebanon p.34-35
Available at: http://www.aub.edu.lb/maingate/Documents/summer-2019.pdf