CNN Hero: Najah Bazzy


Najah Bazzy, RN, is an internationally esteemed health care consultant, humanitarian, interfaith leader, professor and named a CNN Hero in 2019. She leads Diversity Specialists, a training group that promotes cross-cultural understanding between clinicians and patients, and founder and CEO of Zaman International, a Metro Detroit-based nonprofit providing crisis assistance and vocational training to marginalized women with children. As an interfaith leader, she has educated thousands about Islamic practices and beliefs through books, documentaries, and talks before U.S. and international audiences.

Born and raised in Southeast Michigan, Najah earned her nursing degree from Madonna University and specialized over the past three decades in critical care and transcultural nursing, which promotes cultural and spiritual competency within health care. She has practiced at Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai Grace Hospital and Harper-Hutzel Hospital and with Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, for which she developed a national model of transcultural clinical care. As head of Diversity Specialists she has conducted countless workshops for healthcare administrators, practitioners, educators and policymakers on important cultural and spiritual considerations for service delivery, ethical decision making, staff training, and end-of-life care. She has also consulted and taught for the International Red Cross and the American Red Cross and lectured to nurses, doctors and social workers at universities across the country. Najah has been a part of adjunct faculty at Michigan State University Institute of International Health in East Lansing. She also holds a position at Bayan Claremont Theological School.

The extreme poverty Najah witnessed during post-discharge house calls to hospital patients she nursed led her in 1996 to found Zaman International, a grassroots network of Southeast Michigan donors providing food, furniture, clothing and utility assistance to marginalized women and children throughout the region. The organization was incorporated in 2004 and under Najah’s leadership now offers comprehensive crisis assistance, infant burial, and vocational training and life skills programs – all operated out of its 40,500-square-foot Hope for Humanity center in Inkster, Mich. Through partnerships with international relief organizations, Zaman has also funded projects bringing humanitarian aid and safe drinking water to more than 2 million people around the world.

A recognized community leader and convener, Najah has become a respected ambassador within Metro Detroit’s interfaith community, using her remarkable listening and speaking skills to foster dialogue and advance shared objectives. She is a founding member of the Islamic Institute of America in Dearborn, Michigan and a co-founder of the Muslim Youth Connection, which provides Islamic education, spiritual enrichment, and programming. She has engaged in interfaith outreach to the United States Army, the United States Department of Justice, New Detroit, Susan G. Komen, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent. Najah has written a book on “The Beauty of Ramadan,” produced a series of documentaries on her life’s work and vision for the human family, and provided educational and training to groups making the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

Najah has been interviewed by national and international media outlets about her work. Recently, Najah was selected as a CNN Hero for 2019. The announcement aired on September 12, 2019 reaching over 1.5 million viewers during the first two weeks. Najah had been profiled on CBS 62’s “Eye On The Future: The Power of Women” along with Suzanne Shank, Mary Barra, Gretchen Valade, and Andra Rush. She was featured on a United Way of Southeast Michigan billboard as a source of inspiration to Detroit-area youth.

An avid reader and tea aficionado, Najah lives in Canton, Mich., with her husband of more than 35 years, Allie Bazzy. They have four children and three grandchildren.

( Source: NajahBazzy )

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