Education & Certifications

  • M.A., Duke University, Bioethics & Science Policy (2021)
  • A.B., Harvard University, Neuroscience & Philosophy (2020)

All Publications

  • A Brief Overview of the Islamic Ethics of Suicide and Suicide-Related Contemporary Issues from a Sunnī Perspective: A Primer for Clinicians and Researchers. Journal of religion and health Zia, B., Kouser, T., Helal, H., Awaad, R. 2024


    Suicide is a growing global health concern with complex socioeconomic implications. Understanding psychosocial resiliency factors may facilitate suicide prevention. Religious moral objections to suicide, including those inspired by the Islamic faith, appear to promote resilience to suicide. However, few English-language resources provide an overview of Islam's moral and ethical position on suicide, potentially hindering treatment of, and research on, suicide risk among Muslims. In the current paper, Islam's unanimous prohibition of suicide is explored and contextualized within the religion's foundational principles regarding the sanctity of life, the role and necessity of hardships, and one's responsibility to care for their body and to maintain their rights to their community. The role of harsh deterrents to suicide are contrasted with the impetus to show compassion to the deceased and the bereaved. Given the increasing focus on suicide-related topics such as euthanasia/ medical assistance in dying (MAID) and suicide contagion, Islam's ethical and legal position on suicide is discussed in the context of these contemporary moral issues.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10943-024-02007-6

    View details for PubMedID 38421564

    View details for PubMedCentralID 8295887

  • Developing a Suicide Crisis Response Team in America: An Islamic Perspective. Journal of religion and health Awaad, R., Durrani, Z., Quadri, Y., Sifat, M. S., Hussein, A., Kouser, T., El-Gabalawy, O., Rajeh, N., Shareef, S. 2024


    Suicide is a critical public health issue in the United States, recognized as the tenth leading cause of death across all age groups (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). Despite the Islamic prohibition on suicide, suicidal ideation and suicide mortality persist among Muslim populations. Recent data suggest that U.S. Muslim adults are particularly vulnerable, with a higher attempt history compared to respondents from other faith traditions. While the underlying reasons for this vulnerability are unclear, it is evident that culturally and religiously congruent mental health services can be utilized to steer suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention in Muslim communities across the United States. However, the development of Suicide Response toolkits specific to Muslim populations is currently limited. As a result, Muslim communities lack a detailed framework to appropriately respond in the event of a suicide tragedy. This paper aims to fill this gap in the literature by providing structured guidelines for the formation of a Crisis Response Team (CRT) through an Islamic lens. The CRT comprises of a group of individuals who are strategically positioned to respond to a suicide tragedy. Ideally, the team will include religious leaders, mental health professionals, healthcare providers, social workers, and community leaders. The proposed guidelines are designed to be culturally and religiously congruent and take into account the unique cultural and religious factors that influence Muslim communities' responses to suicide. By equipping key personnel in Muslim communities with the resources to intervene in an emergent situation, provide support to those affected, and mobilize community members to assist in prevention efforts, this model can help save lives and prevent future suicide tragedies in Muslim communities across the United States.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10943-023-01993-3

    View details for PubMedID 38245908

    View details for PubMedCentralID 8295887

  • Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy: shared neuropathology guides current and future treatment strategies. Frontiers in neurology Lu, O., Kouser, T., Skylar-Scott, I. A. 2023; 14: 1241339


    Epilepsy is a cause of profound disability in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The risk of being diagnosed with AD increases the risk for epilepsy, and in parallel, a history of epilepsy increases the likelihood of the development of AD. This bi-directional relationship may be due to underlying shared pathophysiologic hallmarks, including decreased cerebrospinal fluid amyloid beta 42 (Aβ42), increased hyperphosphorylated tau protein, and hippocampal hyperexcitability. Additionally, there are practical treatment considerations in patients with co-morbid AD and epilepsy-namely, there is a higher risk of seizures associated with medications commonly prescribed for Alzheimer's disease patients, including antidepressants and antipsychotics such as trazodone, serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and first-generation neuroleptics. Anti-amyloid antibodies like aducanumab and lecanemab present new and unique considerations in patients with co-morbid AD and epilepsy given the risk of seizures associated with amyloid-related imaging abnormalities (ARIA) seen with this drug class. Finally, we identify and detail five active studies, including two clinical trials of levetiracetam in the respective treatment of cognition and neuropsychiatric features of AD, a study characterizing the prevalence of epilepsy in AD via prolonged EEG monitoring, a study characterizing AD biomarkers in late-onset epilepsy, and a study evaluating hyperexcitability in AD. These ongoing trials may guide future clinical decision-making and the development of novel therapeutics.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fneur.2023.1241339

    View details for PubMedID 37936917

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10626492

  • Addressing Religious and Spiritual Diversity in Moral Injury Care: Five Perspectives Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry Pyne, J. M., Currier, J., Hinkson Jr., K. D., Usset, T. J., Abeita, L. A., Dordal, P., Kouser, T., Awaad, R., Weber, M. C., Griffith, B. J. 2023
  • Addressing Mental Health Through Community Partnerships in a Muslim Community. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.) Awaad, R., Obaid, E., Kouser, T., Ali, S. 2022: appips202100505


    The mental health of American Muslims remains significantly understudied and unaddressed, despite known obstacles to Muslims' utilization of mental health services, such as stigma and institutional mistrust. Since the inception of the Stanford Muslim Mental Health and Islamic Psychology Lab in 2014, partnerships across the Bay Area were formed among key Muslim community establishments to address obstacles to good mental health. Through a community-centered approach, diverse stakeholders engaged to identify and address the community's most pressing mental health challenges. Successful outcomes of this approach include facilitated research and mental health initiatives to support the Bay Area Muslim community.

    View details for DOI 10.1176/

    View details for PubMedID 36065581

  • Health-Related Digital Autonomy: An Important, But Unfinished Step AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BIOETHICS Kouser, T., Ward, J. 2021; 21 (7): 31-33
  • The Need for Deen: Muslim Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic Journal of the British Islamic Medical Association Awaad, R., Kouser, T., Raza, L., Umarji, O. 2021