Letter from Associate Dean for International Medicine Huda Ayas

Associate Dean for International Medicine Huda Ayas, EdD ’06, MBA ’98, MHSA ’93
April 30, 2020

To our partners, participants, alumni, and faculty,

On behalf of the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Office of International Medicine Programs (IMP), I hope this finds you all in good health and good spirits during this unprecedented time. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced so many around the world to confront unique challenges, and we want to express our appreciation for all of those who have been serving on the forefront in responding to this crisis.

Over the past two months, IMP has adapted our programming as GW put forward measures to safeguard the health of our campus community. Amid the cancellations of international elective programs and transition to virtual learning, our team at IMP has made every effort to ensure that students remain on track to meet graduation requirements by developing independent studies and local alternatives to their international electives. The measures put in place due to COVID-19 also affected international medical students participating in clinical rotations at GW, as all rotations were suspended in the interest of student safety and patient care. Fortunately, the six international students who were affected by the policy changes were able to safely return to their home countries.

While much of our focus has been on responding to the impacts of COVID-19, March nevertheless marked a significant milestone for our medical students and graduates who participated in this year’s residency match. IMP had a total of 11 fellows from this year’s Medical Research Fellowship Program participate in the match and apply through the Electronic Residency Application Service. Ten of the 11 research fellows matched in residency programs, including at GW, University of Maryland, and University of Nebraska. IMP is proud of this year’s cohort and their hard work to reach this milestone.

As we get closer to the end of the spring semester and look ahead to the coming months, the IMP team is continuing to move forward with planning for summer programming and future educational opportunities at SMHS. Preparation for this year’s Summer Research and Medical Enrichment Program is now underway, and we are developing potential remote alternatives should the need arise.

Despite the disruptions impacting society and the day-to-day life of everyone, my team and I are adapting and developing new opportunities that come with every new challenge. This includes an increased offering of continuing medical education courses on both today’s events and advanced topics such as precision medicine.

Finally, with the arrival of end of the semester comes the time to celebrate the achievements of our medical students, including those who will soon be graduating and moving on to the next phase of their medical careers. In this spring newsletter, we are taking the opportunity to highlight two students, third-year medical student Christina Pugliese and fourth-year student Mohamed Al-Amoodi, who each have carried out IMP’s mission to build the capacity of other countries through exchanges in medical education and research.