Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) is a nonprofit, non-partisan, non-religious medical relief organization, with a mission to provide lifesaving healthcare services and to revitalize health systems for underprivileged Syrian refugees, internally displaced persons, and vulnerable host community members in zones of conflict and displacement. This is done by implementing an integrated model of essential services that emphasizes priority needs, including the delivery of medical education, training, and financial support to physicians and other healthcare workers in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and Iraq. Along with the provision of healthcare services and medical training, SAMS Foundation also implements mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) programs, as well as protection against gender-based violence (GBV).
With support from a donor, SAMS is exploring opportunities to provide advanced quality learning initiatives for a range of mental health cadres in northern Syria. To do this SAMS will partner with universities in the region to provide accredited master’s degrees and professional diplomas in Clinical Psychology, Psychiatric Nursing, and Psychosocial Support to eligible candidates. The goal of this initiative is to provide local, long-term solutions for reducing barriers to MHPSS services while also providing individuals with improved access to professional education, employment and career advancement in a context where these opportunities have been disrupted.
- Purpose and specifications:
Needs Assessment: SAMS will conduct a scoping study in order to gauge the feasibility of implementing the proposed academic programs in northern Syria. Among other things, this study will inform the upgrading of teaching and training in psychology and the behavioral sciences; address equivalence of qualifications and portability of skills inside Syria; and identify points of complementarity with other programs and areas for partnership that will enhance sustainability and coverage of education programs. The Clinical Psych/PSS Specialist’s role in this assessment is to: (a) Review relevant training programs throughout Syria – both academic and non-academic; (b) Evaluate the curricula that are currently being used; (c) Work with the lead consultant to identify local standards, regulations, and required qualifications in Clinical Psychology and Psychosocial Support; and (d) Produce strategic guidelines documents for both fields that outline suggestions and future directions for education and practice. The study questions are as follows:
What are the existing standards, expectations, and practices for each MHPSS cadre?
- What are the job descriptions, roles, and responsibilities of each cadre?
- What knowledge, skills, and qualifications are required?
- What mentoring and supervision practices are currently in place?
- What are the career pathways for each cadre?
- How is practice regulated and by whom?
- Are there existing protocols for dealing with mental health patients?
- What is their workload? What task shifting practices are utilized?
What are the current psychology programs across Syria?
- What degree or training programs already exist, and what is their quality (including non-academic, undergraduate, and postgraduate programs)?
- How widely accepted are the credentials from these training programs?
- What contents, entry requirements, and training methods do they use?
- What are the training gaps?
- How well do the current offerings meet the needs of trainees and practitioners?
- What are the governance models, human resources, capacity gaps, and needed structural reforms at local higher-education institutes?
Review of Program Curricula. SAMS will partner with regional universities to develop culturally and contextually relevant curricula in Clinical Psychology and Psychosocial Support that will be delivered in Arabic. During this phase, the Specialist will work with the university coordinators and instructors to review the curricula and suggest adaptations as needed.
Midline/Endline Evaluations: After the scoping study is complete, and the academic programs have been launched, the Specialist will also contribute to midline and endline evaluations in order to determine the quality of instruction and adherence to the curricula. During these phases, the Specialist will meet with the students who are enrolled in the program in order to assess their opinions, experiences, and progress, as well as meeting with program instructors to discuss any challenges with the course material or supervision process. After the midline evaluation in particular, the Specialist will suggest any adaptations that could strengthen the quality of the program, as needed.
- Suggested Timeframe and Deliverables
|Tasks||Deliverable||Estimated # of days|
|Technical review of all pre-existing curricula in Syria, including non-academic training programs in Psychosocial Support, Psychotherapy, and/or Clinical Skills; and academic programs in General Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and/or Clinical Psychology.||Situation report summarizing existing education/training programs and discussing curriculum elements||10 days|
|Update the existing strategic guidelines document on Psychosocial Support in Northwest Syria with a more comprehensive outline of needs and suggestions for Psychosocial Support training and practice across northern Syria||PSS strategic guidelines submitted in English||15 days|
|Write a strategic guidelines document that outlines needs and suggestions for development of Clinical Psychology training and practice in northern Syria||Clinical Psych strategic guidelines submitted in English||20 days|
|Work closely with the project team during the initial scoping study to provide technical input as needed (particularly regarding establishment of standards and regulations in Clinical Psychology and Psychosocial Support)||Review needs assessment report and submit comments||5 days|
|Review the curricula developed by partner universities and suggest cultural and contextual adaptations||Convene meeting with SAMS and university coordinators to discuss adaptations||10 days|
|Work closely with SAMS M&E team to complete a technical evaluation of the academic programs at the project’s midpoint, including meetings with students and instructors to gauge progress and quality of instruction||Submission of midline evaluation report and recommended adaptations (together with M&E team)||20 days|
|Work closely with SAMS M&E team to complete a technical evaluation of the academic programs at the project’s endpoint, including meetings with students and instructors to gauge progress and quality of instruction||Submission of an endline evaluation report (together with M&E team)||20 days|
The specialist is expected to work closely with the lead consultant for the needs assessment, SAMS MHPSS Specialist, and relevant Programs and Operations staff, who will oversee implementation of the evaluation from the beginning through to completion. All deliverables will be submitted to the MHPSS Specialist.
- Payment Policy
The payment will be delivered in three phases:
- First payment after submission of the Clinical Psychology guidelines (25%)
- Second payment after submission of the Psychosocial Support guidelines (25%)
- Third payment after midline evaluation (25%)
- Final payment after endline evaluation (25%)
- Required Qualifications
Knowledge, skills, and experience:
- Advanced background in Clinical Psychology
- Advanced knowledge of Psychosocial Support
- Extensive knowledge of the MHPSS sector and education system in Syria
- Fluent in English and Arabic
- Highly organized; able to plan, implement and monitor work with attention to detail
- Tolerance for operating in an environment characterized by uncertainty and ambiguity
- Ability to take initiative within clearly defined parameters
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Adherence to agreed-upon deadlines and SAMS protection policies
- Application Materials
Interested applicants should submit the following in PDF format:
- Writing Sample
- Budget, including the applicant’s daily rate
Please send all the requested application materials to [email protected]