Author(s): Toi Sennhauser

Contributor(s): Salahaddin Shamdeen, Lorren Koceja, Iwona Steplewska, SoozVeen Catering, Azhar Yassin, Dawn Corl, Faten Rashid, Dr. Mahri Haider, Marwa Sadik, Zainab Al-Tameemi, Carey Jackson

Date Authored: September 11, 2017

Iraqi Food

This presentation is intended to be used by clinicians during discussion with patients about carbohydrates and blood glucose. It is tailored to reflect foods commonly consumed by Iraqi and Syrian Americans and includes photos of foods, meal comparisons, portion sizes, and some information about managing diabetes during periods of fasting.

PDF (146 slides) is available in sidebar.


Harborview Medical Center (HMC) physician Dr. Carey Jackson identified a need for a culturally-tailored visual reference tool to use during conversations about diet with diabetic patients. 


The process of developing this slideshow included guidance from an emerging Iraqi community health board in considering the fit to combine Iraqi and Syrian foods together in a single educational tool. Individuals from varied ethnic and religious backgrounds were invited to participate in interviews and group discussions to inform the educational content. It’s acknowledged that the slideshow is not a complete reflection of the many diverse cultures, foods and dietary traditions present in Iraq and Syria. 

Author Toi Sennhauser created this tool to fulfill practicum requirements for the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, Nutritional Sciences. The project was coordinated through Ethnomed’s student contribution program. Dr. Carey Jackson served as clinical advisor. Rekha Ravindran and Christine Wilson Owens provided program support. Harborview dietitians Lorren Koceja and Iwona Steplewska mentored the author during the project. Meetings were held with health care providers who work with Iraqi and Syrian patients. Cultural guidance was provided by medical interpreter Salahaddin Shamdeen, and interviews and focus groups were organized with the assistance of the Iraqi Community Center of Washington and International Counseling and Community Services.


Many thanks to SoozVeen Catering and Azhar Yassin for providing many of the foods featured in this slideshow. Special thanks to these others who supported and contributed to this work: Dawn Corl, Faten Rashid, Dr. Mahri Haider, Marwa Sadik, Zainab Al-Tameemi.

Funding for this presentation was provided by the Pacific Hospital Preservation and Development Authority.