A Letter from Huda M. Ayas, Associate Dean of International Medicine

February 5, 2014

This year marks an exciting milestone for the GW Office of International Medicine Programs at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) – we are celebrating our 20th anniversary! Founded in 1994, our growth and success has been nothing short of astonishing. As a pioneer in international medical education and research, IMP has developed, coordinated, and completed over 125 projects, touching the lives of healthcare professionals, students, and patients around the globe.

We have created several unique and visionary educational programs with our most recent being the Medical Research Fellowship program and one of our most popular, the International Clinical Electives program which is highlighted in this newsletter. The Medical Research Fellowship program which will be welcoming its third cohort this May had an outstanding match rate for the academic year 2012-2013 participants who applied to residency programs across the country. Additionally, many hundreds of international students have traveled to GW with an equal number of GW students traveling abroad to participate in clinical rotations enriching and diversifying their medical education.

The unique and successful SMHS’ MD program for international students is one of the few of its kind in the US. Many international medial graduates have been trained in our residency, fellowship, and observership programs and returned to their home country to assume the important role of the next generation of medical leadership. IMP’s Continuing Medical Education program has educated almost 10,000 practicing physicians.  More than 200 GW students have participated in first year summer internships abroad. On a humanitarian note, IMP has sent more than 250 students, residents, and faculty abroad on medical and surgical missions to developing countries such as Haiti, Guatemala, Guyana and others.

Many of the students that IMP has sent abroad were graduates of SMHS’ Global Health Track. The Global Health Track is designed to increase students’ awareness and sensitivity about international health systems, global diseases, and assessment techniques for the specific health needs of countries at various stages of development. Through the track, students participate in summer internships, global health lectures, and international clinical electives. GHT students have completed exemplary projects while in the track. For example, a student from the Class of 2009 started an organization called Books without Borders to address the lack of textbooks at medical schools overseas. This endeavor successfully donated millions of dollars’ worth of materials to both the Orotta School of Medicine in Asmara, Eritrea as well as the Kigali Health Sciences Institute in Kigali, Rwanda.

As IMP celebrates 20 years, we are excited to continue increasing GW’s presence and prestige worldwide by providing expanded GW educational programs overseas for the GW community, additional education opportunities at GW for international participants from all over the globe, as well as broadening humanitarian outreach. Many new lives will be transformed through the teaching, healing, and discovering of our faculty, residents, students, and partners and we will continue to fulfill our vision to “Fly the GW flag around the world and bring the world to GW.

One of IMP’s strategic goals for the next five years is to strengthen and renew our relationships with stakeholders, partners, participants, and alumni. In doing so, IMP would like to share our story via a semi-annual e-newsletter. I welcome you to learn more about our work and our impact on more than 10,000 healthcare professionals and I encourage you to reach out and connect with us whether you are a long-standing partner, alumnus of one of our programs, or a member of our faculty. We would love to share your story in a future IMP e-newsletter.

Sincerely,

Huda M. Ayas, Ed.D. ’06, M.B.A. ’98, M.H.S.A. ‘93
Associate Dean, International Medicine
Executive Director, Office of International Medicine Programs