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The Syrian American Medical Society 4th National Symposium

October 6, 2017 - October 7, 2017

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The Syrian American Medical Society 4th National Symposium

The Syrian American Medical Society will host its 4th National Symposium on October 6, 2017 through Oct. 7, 2017 at Andaz Wall Street 75 Wall Street New York, NY 10005, US.

January 7, 2015 in Bekaa valley Lebanon.   Heavy snowfall in Lebanon January 7, 2015. Yesterday staff from NRC Lebanon’s Bekaa office were working with refugees to put in place flood mitigation measures in advance of the forecast harsh storm which hit overnight. Field teams distributed 1,205 plywood sheets and 885 bricks as floor-raising kits for tents in two settlements in the town of Sarain, and 250 wooden pallets to ensure a clear pathway in five settlements in the town at risk of flooding.  Niamh Murnaghan, NRC’s Country Director in Lebanon said, “This morning residents of these informal settlements awoke to a knee-deep blanket of snow. With roads impassable in Bekaa, our staff have not been able to reach refugee settlements, but refugees have sent photos of themselves clearing the snow from their tents.” Photo credit: NRC Lebanon/Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

January 7, 2015 in Bekaa valley Lebanon.
Heavy snowfall in Lebanon January 7, 2015. Yesterday staff from NRC Lebanon’s Bekaa office were working with refugees to put in place flood mitigation measures in advance of the forecast harsh storm which hit overnight. Field teams distributed 1,205 plywood sheets and 885 bricks as floor-raising kits for tents in two settlements in the town of Sarain, and 250 wooden pallets to ensure a clear pathway in five settlements in the town at risk of flooding.
Niamh Murnaghan, NRC’s Country Director in Lebanon said, “This morning residents of these informal settlements awoke to a knee-deep blanket of snow. With roads impassable in Bekaa, our staff have not been able to reach refugee settlements, but refugees have sent photos of themselves clearing the snow from their tents.” Photo credit: NRC Lebanon/Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.: Registration
6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.: Opening Ceremony
7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.: Reception
8:00 a.m.–9:10 a.m.: Session 1: Ongoing Projects, Successes and Challenges
9:10 a.m.–9:40 a.m.: State of the Art Lecture #1: Building a Residency Program
with Available Resources
10:00 a.m.–10:40 p.m.: Session 2: Challenges and Opportunities
10:40 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Session 3: Strengthening the System to Meet Population
Health Needs
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.: Lunch
1:00 p.m.–2:20 p.m.: Session 4: Data and Research Role in Future Syria
State of the Art Lecture #2: Early Findings from the FXB Partnership
with SAMS
2:20 p.m.–3:15 p.m.: Session 5: Remote Education Pitfalls and Successes
3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.: Session 6: Looking Ahead
8:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m.: Gala



Moderators: Amjad Rass, MD, and Aref Al Kali, MD
8:00–8:10 Opening Remarks: The Importance of Education & Research,
Basel Termanini, MD
8:10–8:30 Promise for Relief & Human Development, A Grassroot Model of
Higher Education Inside Syria, Suzanne Kawamleh, PhD
8:30–8:50 Curriculum Development Training For Syrian Healthcare
Educators: Successes and Challenges, Tarif Bakdash, MD
8:50–9:10 What Exists & What Has Worked: Recommendations from the
Education Conference in Gaziantep, Lina Murad, MD
9:10–9:40 Building a Residency Program with Available Resources,
Conrad Fischer, MD
9:40–10:00 COFFEE BREAK

Moderators: Basel Termanini, MD, and Ahmad Tarakji, MD
10:00–10:20 Challenges & Opportunities for the Syrian Health Workforce:
Work from The Syria Pub-lic Health Network, Aula Abbara, MD
10:20–10:40 Syrian Physicians Working Abroad, Licensing & Credentials,
Ibrahim Al-Masri, MD

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10:40–11:00 Post Crisis Education, Where to Start, Lynn Cohen
11:00–11:25 Global Platform for Syrian Students, Rebuilding from Within—
Strengthening Human Resources for Health in War-torn Syria,
Helena Barroco, PhD
11:25–11:45 Health Care Systems in Transition, Nedim Jaganjac, MD, MPH
11:45–12:00 Panel Discussion

Moderators: Mohamed Sekkarie, MD, and Aula Abbara, MD
1:00–1:30 Health & Conflict: Early Findings from the FXB Partnership
with SAMS, Satchit Balsari, MD, and Ranya Ahmad, PhD
1:30–1:50 Human Diagnosis Project: Collective Intelligence & Eventually
Machine Learning and Bahmni: Open Source Hospital System,
Joaquin Blaya, PhD
1:50–2:10 The Lancet Commission on Syria: Health in Conflict: Guidelines
for Future Health Needs, Ahmad Tarakji, MD
2:10–2:20 Panel Discussion

Moderators: Hisham Bismar, DO, and Abdulfatah Elshaar, MD
2:20–2:40 Remote Medical Education, Ahmad Almoujahed, MD
2:40–3:10 The Diabetes Care for Syria Project: Using Project Management
Tools to Plan & Manage Progress, Richard Wobbe, PhD, and
M. Ihsan Kaadan, MD
3:10–3:25 An ERP Correlate of Long-lasting Learning, Ala’a El-Shaar
3:25–3:40 COFFEE BREAK

Moderators: Majd Isreb, MD, and Ahmad Tarakji, MD
3:40–4:00 Nurses & Allied Healthcare Crucial Role in Future Syria: Instructional
Design, Evaluation and Assessment, Elizabeth McLellan, RN, MPH
4:00–4:20 The Six Steps Approach for Curriculum Development in
Medical Education, Sean Tackett, MD, MPH
4:20–4:40 Medics Training, Timothy Tan, MD, and Samer Attar, MD
4:40–5:00 Panel Discussion


Ranya Ahmed, PhD
Dr. Ranya Ahmed is currently the Information Management Officer for the
SAMS Foundation in Washington D.C., and a Research Fellow at Harvard
University’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. In January 2017,
Ranya completed the University of Kansas Political Science doctoral program,
specializing in quantitative methods, international relations and policy. She
previously earned a Master’s degree in International Studies, and an MPA, with
an emphasis in nonprofit management.

Aula Abbara, MD
Dr. Aula Abbara is the Project Lead for the SAMS’ response in Greece, which
provides primary healthcare to refugees. Dr. Abbara teaches healthcare workers
in Turkey on topics related to infectious diseases as part of SAMS’s education
programs. She is on the steering committee of the Syria Public Health Network
and is an Infectious Diseases Clinician in the UK.

Samer Attar, MD
Dr. Samer Attar is an Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Northwestern
University. Since 2013, he has worked with the Syrian American Medical Society
and the Aleppo City Medical Council and operated in underground hospitals in
Aleppo. He was last in Aleppo in July 2016. Dr. Attar has also undergone several
missions operating with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres at
the Jordanian-Syrian border.

Tarif Bakdash, MD, MHSC, MEHP Fellow, FAAN
Dr. Bakdash is an Associate Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical
Center in Jackson. He is a Pediatric neurologist with additional specialties in
epilepsy, movement disorders, and behavioral sleep disorders. Dr. Bakdash had an
extensive training in multiple institutions, such as Harvard University, Cleveland
Clinic, Baylor College, and Rush University. He also has a Master’s Degree in
Bioethics from the University of Toronto on a grant he received from the WHO.
Currently, he is in his final year of Master of Education in the Health Professions
at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Bakdash is a former Academic Coordinator at
WHO in Syria and was the First Secretary General for People with disabilities in
Syria,. He had taught bioethics and communications skills at Damascus University
for 7 years. He is the author of Inside Syria: A Physician’s Memoir.

Satchit Balsari, MD , MPH
Dr. Satchit Balsari is a Research Fellow at Harvard FXB. His research has
contributed to advocating on behalf of vulnerable populations affected by
disasters and humanitarian crises in Haiti, Jordan, and Bangladesh. Until
recently, he served as the Director of the Global Emergency Medicine Program at
Weill Cornell Medical College/ New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He is currently
part of Professor Jennifer Leaning’s team assessing the impact of the Syrian war
on medicine and public health. He is teaching “Societal Response to Disaster and
War” at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. His research has resulted
in innovative applications of mobile, cloud-based technology to address public
health challenges in mass gatherings, disasters, and humanitarian crises. Dr.
Balsari’s signature initiatives include project EMcounter (a customizable, portable
digital surveillance tool) and Voices, a crowd-sourced, online disaster response
analysis tool. In March 2017, Pranab Mukherjee, President of India, awarded him
the prestigious 2016 Dr B.C. Roy National Award for outstanding services in the
field of socio-medical relief.

Helena Barroco, PhD
Dr. Helena Barroco is a Portuguese Diplomat. Over the past few years, she
has mainly worked on UN-related issues as the diplomatic adviser to former
President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio, focusing namely on the UN Alliance of
Civilizations. She is now working on the Global Platform for Syrian Students as
the Director of the Global Platform for Syrian Students, which is an emergency
scholarship program launched by President Sampaio to support Syrian students
struck by the conflict to finalize their university degrees. The organization’s
mission includes international advocacy for prioritizing higher education
in emergency response. The Global Platform for Syrian Students works in a
collaborative way through a Network of Partners, an Academic Consortium, and
a Special Emergency Fund.

Joaquin Blaya, PhD
Dr. Blaya is currently at the Human Diagnosis Project and a Research Fellow
at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital. His work focuses on the use of IT in
improving health care in resource poor settings and in promoting the use of
open source software and open standards to improve local capacity building and
interoperability between information systems. Prior to his, he was heading the
Strategic Partnerships in the Global Health Division of ThoughtWorks, focusing
on Bahmni, a hospital information system based on the open source tools
OpenMRS, OpenERP, and OpenELIS. Previously, he founded a Chilean mHealth
company focuses on chronic disease. He is a Fellow at Harvard Medical School,
Health IT moderator at, and was on the Board of Directors of
OpenMRS. He received his Master’s Degree from MIT in rehabilitation and
robotics, and his Ph.D. from the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences &
Technology (HST).

Lynn C. Cohen, MS
Lynn C. Cohen holds a Master’s Degree in International Education from the
University of Pittsburgh. She began her professional life as a U.S. Peace Corps
volunteer in Liberia, where she served as a teacher trainer at the Kakata Rural
Teacher Training College, where she introduced active learning into the
curriculum. She has consulted with UNICEF, UNESCO, and other international
governmental and non-governmental organizations on issues related to
education policy and practice; strategy and organizational change; and youth
positive development. She worked in education in Bosnia and Herzegovina both
during the war and in the post-war reconstruction period. Additionally, from
2003-2011, Lynn was adjunct faculty at American University in the International
Training and Education Program, where she also served as the Associate Director
for several years. Presently, she consults in education after returning from living
abroad in Kazakhstan and Bangladesh.

Ala’a El-Shaar, MS
Ala’a El-Shaar attained a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science & Psychology
from Bridgewater State University in 2013. She then graduated from Boston
University School of Medicine with a Master of Science degree in Anatomy &
Neurobiology. Her involvement in Psychosocial mission work with refugeed
children over the last several years furthered her interests in areas of behavioral
neuroscience and PTSD. Ala’a is currently working as a Lab Manager &
Researcher in the Center for Translational Cognitive Neuroscience at the VA
Boston Healthcare System, conducting research related to memory disorders,
and serves as the New England Chapter Coordinator of SAMS.

Abdulfatah Elshaar, MD, PhD
Dr. Abdulfatah Elshaar received his undergraduate degree from the University
of Rhode Island and then went on to obtain his MD and PhD in Anatomy
and Neurobiology from Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Elshaar
completed his medical training in Internal Medicine at Brown University School
of Medicine, in conjunction with Rhode Island Hospital. Dr. Elshaar established
the Medical Associates of New England, LLC in 2002. He has more than 18 years
of experience practicing medicine, and has had a significant research career. His
expertise extends into the classroom, where he has assisted in teaching courses at
Boston University School of Medicine & Stonehill College. He has been involved
in SAMS for over 10 years and currently serves as the SAMS New England
Chapter President.

Conrad Fischer, MD
Dr. Conrad Fischer is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Physiology and
Pharmacology at Touro College of Medicine in New York. He has taught USMLE
and ABIM review courses nationally and internationally for 25 years. He has
received 10 “Teacher Of The Year Awards.” He is the author of 10 textbooks
and his “Master the Board” series for USMLE is being read by over 40,000
students every year. Dr Fischer is the Vice-Chairman of Medicine, Residency
Program Director of Internal Medicine at Brookdale University Medical Center
in Brooklyn. He has a Masters’ Degree in Theology and is Chair of the Ethic
Committee. Recently, Dr .Fischer collaborated with the Angle Project to Produce
“Lost and Guided,” an original play based on interviews and real life stories of
Syrian refugees living in the United States.

Nedim Jaganjac, MD, MPH
Dr. Nedim Jaganjac is currently a consultant at the World Bank, Human
Development Unit for the ECA region. Dr. Jaganjac has published many papers
covering public health, including Book of Best Practices: Trauma and the Role of
Mental Health in Post Conflict Recovery.

M. Ihsan Kaadan, MD, MS
Before moving to the U.S. in 2014, Dr. Ihsan worked with a local NGO providing
primary care services for the displaced people in Aleppo, Syria. He also practiced
medicine as a resident at Aleppo University Hospital after he graduated
from medical school, University of Aleppo in 2012. Dr. Ihsan won multiple
international awards for his work and writings during the Syrian crisis, including
the prestigious Civil Society Leadership Award. Dr. Ihsan hold a Master’s Degree
in International Health Policy & Management from Brandeis University, with a
concentration on Health Systems Strengthening. He is currently doing research
on cardiac arrhythmias at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Suzanne Kawamleh
Suzanne Kawamleh is both a PhD student in Philosophy and an MA student
in History at Indiana University-Bloomington, as well as the Higher Education
Program Director at Promise for Relief and Human Development. She is
interested in scientific models, error propagation, and Bayesian decision theory.
She had worked on providing higher education opportunities to internally
displaced populations in war-torn Syria, and is currently working on developing
a long distance education program for Syrian students, expanding the current
colleges to include a College of Engineering and a College of Health Sciences,
and replicating the success of Hope Underground. Hope Underground is a
collaboration with Valparaiso University and SAMS to establish the Ghouta
Medical Institute, a 2-year laboratory and anesthesia program to train medical
teams for field hospitals in Eastern Ghouta.

Ibrahim Al-Masri, MD
Dr. Ibahim Al-Masri is a Syrian physician, forced to flee to Lebanon in 2012
due to the Syrian conflict. There, he cofounded the NGO Multi Aid Programs
(MAPS), was MAPS manager of health programs and medical director of the
Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) in Lebanon. After four years in
Lebanon, he now lives in Canada. Dr. Al-Masri embodies SAMS’s mission of
providing care to anyone in need. SAMS services in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey
benefit refugees as well as the local community.

Elizabeth McLellan, RN, MSN, MPH
Elizabeth McLellan is the President and Founder of “Partners for World
Health,” an NGO based in The United States that is dedicated to improving
health care around the world by improving the medical supply chain and
coordinating medical missions in Africa, Asia, and South America to promote
capacity building and training. McLellan received her Registered Nurse and
BSN degrees from American University and Northeastern University and
graduate degrees from University of Southern Maine and Boston University.
Ms McLellan has traveled extensively, working as a leader in nursing and health
care administration, around the world and In Syria where she led the training
program fro nurses. In recognition of her innovative leadership and compassion,
Elizabeth has received numerous awards, from the Hanley Center for Health
Leadership, and the Red Cross and SAMS

Ahmad Al-Moujahed, MD, MPH
Dr. Al-Moujahed graduated from the Damascus University Faculty of Medicine
in 2010 and holds an MPH from Northeastern University in Boston. He
completed a research fellowship in the field of retina diseases at Massachusetts
Eye and Ear (MEE), Harvard Medical School. He is currently a PhD candidate at
the Boston University School of Med-icine, carrying out his research at MEE. Dr.
Al Moujahed is a member of the SAMS Education Committee. He has organized,
helped, and taught multiple online courses directed to medical students and
healthcare professionals in Syria. Some of these experiences were written and
published in peer-reviewed journals.

Lina Murad, MD
Dr. Lina Murad, is an interventional nephrologist. She received her medical
degree from Damascus University, did her training at Georgetown University
and The George Washington University. She is involved in the care of Syrian
patients with kidney disease and has co-published on the care of renal patients
during conflicts in Kidney International, Clinical Nephrology, Nephron
and other journals. She has lead multiple Training missions for the Dialysis
Technicians and bio meds. She was a SAMS Board member and Secretary and
presently works with the Education Committee.

Sean Tackett, MD, MPH
Dr. Sean Tackett, MPH is an internal medicine physician and Assistant Professor
of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center whose career interest
is international medical education. He teaches Curriculum Development for
Medical Education in the Johns Hopkins faculty development program and
has conducted curriculum development consultation and workshops in China,
Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. His previous medical education research has
emphasized students’ perceptions of their learning environments, and included
collaborators from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, and Brazil, and he currently
researches medical education technologies. He also provides consultation to
the World Federation for Medical Education on its accreditation standards for
medical schools.

Ahmad Tarakji, MD
Dr. Ahmad Tarakji is the President of the Syrian American Medical Society
(SAMS), as well as a current Board member of the SAMS Foundation. Dr.
Tarakji is a cardio-thoracic surgeon in California, and a former clinical assistant
professor at Stanford University. At SAMS, he spearheads and participates in
numerous initiatives, including providing trauma and critical care courses
for Syrian physicians and nurses, overseeing SAMS’s advocacy work, and
spearheading SAMS’s partnerships with UN agencies, NGOs, and universities in
the U.S. and Europe supporting post-crisis rebuilding programs for Syria.

Basel Termanini, MD
Dr. Basel Termanini is the the SAMS Vice President and the Chairman of SAMS
Fundraising and Media Committees. Dr. Termanini was born and raised in
Aleppo, Syria, and completed his medical education both in Aleppo and the
United States. In 1997 he started his GI practice in Steubenville, OH and is
currently part of Trinity Health system there. Dr. Termanini has been active in
the humanitarian and medical relief efforts in Syria and has visited northern
Syria and Turkey seven times since 2013 on SAMS-led medical missions.

Richard Wobbe, PhD
A biochemist by training, Dr. Wobbe worked for 20 years in pharmaceutical
and biotechnology R&D, holding positions including Research Fellow (Merck),
Director of Biology (ArQule), Senior Director of R&D (Anadys, Baxter
Healthcare) and Vice President of R&D (XTL Biopharmaceuticals) as well as
working as an independent consultant for biotech start-ups. He led research
programs that discovered novel drug candidates for herpes virus, bacterial and
fungal infections, first-in-class NS5A inhibitors that clear HCV infections, and
an inhalable insulin.
In 2008, Rick refocused his career on science education and social responsibility.
As an educator, he has taught high school, undergraduate and graduate level
courses, advised undergraduate researcher students and served as Director
of Education Programs for InnovaTID Pharmaceutical Consulting, where he
oversaw career-training programs for biomedical graduate students interested
in healthcare professions. His social responsibility work has included serving
as Volunteer Leader for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Worcester, for which
he earned a Citation from the Massachusetts State Senate and leading a project
for the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Massachusetts to recognize
Ramadan in supermarket advertising. He currently works as a volunteer Program
Director for the Syrian American Medical Society’s Diabetes Care for Syria
Project, which focuses on alleviating the shortage of diabetes supplies in Syria.

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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and for, and

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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October 6, 2017
October 7, 2017
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Andaz Wall Street
75 Wall Street
New York City, New York
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