Critical training to better protect, support, and heal vulnerable children




Insufficient nutrients, status and deficiencies are very common, especially in displaced populations. Often they're receiving aid from, from international organization, which is really helpful. But the aid in and of itself is usually not completely sufficient. It's really meant to be a patchwork and often families still have to get a supplemental food in between.

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Um, so it's really meant to be just the basics and the foundation for them. Um, a lot of times when we're seeing these children were seeing that they have most grossly we're seeing, um, protein deficiencies. There just not enough protein in, in the food stuffs that they're getting. Um, there are also a lot of micronutrient deficiencies. So when we say micro nutrients, we're talking about vitamins, minerals, things like vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, um, just to name a few. Um, and often they're not enough. They're not getting a lot of produce and so they might be missing a lot of these really important nutrients are essential for their growth and for their immune system to thrive.

Um, we're also seeing deficiencies in what are called essential fatty acids. And so those are specific kinds of fats that the body can't produce and you have to get from your diet. And often those are not available in just the regular food stuffs that they're getting from day to day. So, um, in a lot of western cultures, we actually supplement some of these things. That's why we take vitamins and minerals. That's why we might take a fish oil supplement, for example, or vitamin D supplements and things like that because we're not getting enough of them from our food. So imagine if you're in a population that's particularly vulnerable for food insecurity. In other words, you don't have as much access to a variety of different foods than you can imagine that the needs for those nutrients is going to be even larger.


Lara Zakaria, RPh MS CNS CDN

Lara Zakaria is a Syrian-American pharmacist and clinical nutritionist residing in New York City. She owns Foodie Farmacist LLC, an integrative medicine, nutrition, and genomics consulting practice focused on prevention and reversal of chronic disease. An active member of...

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The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Tristate Chapter, she is also honored to serve on the national Board of Directors.

Her ground experience includes participating with multidisciplinary medical teams serving displaced refugees and underserved local communities in Jordan and Lebanon. Lara also serves on several advisory committees including the Jordan Relief Committee (including the Za’atri Clinic Advisory Commission), Advocacy, and as chair of the Pharmacy and Nutrition Committee. Lara is an active advocate for awareness of the Syrian Crisis and medical worker safety, meeting with representative of the United Nations and of the US congress and senate, as well as in presenting SAMS work at various universities and roundtable discussions including the University of Michigan, Columbia University, CUNY Medical School, and New York University Medical and Law School.

Lara is currently a graduate student at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and a candidate for a Masters in Public Health with a special interest in Behavioral and Social Health.


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