Under the umbrella of the NAAMA Foundation, created in 1990, NAAMA’s humanitarian programs include providing medical education tools and medical equipment and supplies to institutions in acute need throughout the Arab world. Generous members and friends supplement the funds that are available from the Foundation. In 1992, the Board created Liaison and Relief Committees for each of seven major Arab countries or geographic areas and for Arab America. These committees research all proposals submitted for educational and humanitarian projects before requesting a Foundation grant. If a grant is approved, the committee’s responsibilities include supervising and monitoring a project’s implementation and evaluating its effect.
Highlights of NAAMA’s educational and humanitarian programs are described below and grouped by recipient countries and charitable issues.
Egyprthosted NAAMA international medical conventions in 1985 and 1998 and NAAMA’s Symposium on Epidemiology: The Key to Egyptian and Global Health in 2002 with the cooperation of the Ministry of Health and medical schools in Cairo. In 1998, NAAMA donated $18,000 to provide wheelchairs for needy diabetic amputees in Egypt. NAAMA also maintained subscriptions to U.S. medical journals for Cairo University and the National Cancer Institute. In 2000, NAAMA contributed $8,500 to the Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak Project for Treatment of Cancer in Children in the Governorates. This special fund was created to provide medical supplies for pediatric cancer patients in treatment at the National Cancer Institute’s satellite treatment centers outside Cairo. In 2002 more than 70 Egyptian specialists attended the Symposium on Epidemiology presented by U.S. experts. Part of the proceeds from the symposium provided the seed money for NAAMA’s Egyptian Children’s Cancer Project. This ongoing project, begun in 2003, seeks to standardize the protocols for pediatric oncology treatment in Egypt and to develop the Nasser Institute into the country’s model treatment and research center for pediatric oncology. Since that time, NAAMA has funded the training of two Egyptian physicians on the use of immunohistology equipment donated to the Pediatric Cancer Center in Alexandria.
Medical schools in Iraq were the recipients of NAAMA’s donations of computers, software and medical texts in recent years. Members who visited Baghdad shared clinical know-how and delivered lectures on medical advances to the faculty and students at Baghdad University School of Medicine. NAAMA’s Liaison Committee for Iraq is currently organizing plans for future educational and humanitarian aid for that country. Funds are provided by the Foundation and by donations from members. Approximately 40 members have volunteered to travel to Iraq and use their medical skills to help the Iraqi people. NAAMA sponsored four physicians from Iraq to attend the Jordan convention in 2006. For three years, NAAMA has funded the Iraqi Refugee Physician Initiative, whereby qualified and financially needy Iraqi physician who are refugees in the U.S. may be partially reimbursed for costs associated with preparing for or taking the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination). NAAMA has donated almost $20,000 thus far to support their desire to practice medicine in the United States. If you are or know of an Iraqi refugee physician who wishes to practice medicine in the US and must take and pass qualifying exams, the requirements and application are on the NAAMA web site in the Education/Scholarships section.
During the 2006 international convention in Jordan, ACLS course equipments (value 15,000 dollars) were used to certify physicians and instructors in advanced life support courses during the Jordan convention and were donated to Universities for future use. During the 2011 international medical convention, the NAAMA Auxiliary donated in excess of $12,000 to local Jordanian charities dealing with domestic violence, blindness and the advancement of women.
Aid for Lebanon has focused on tools for medical education. NAAMA pledged and donated $50,000 to the University of Balamand for its laboratory over a three-year period from 1998-2000. Lebanese University was the recipient of a $10,000 grant for textbooks in 2000. Grants to the Red Cross and to several smaller charities for medical equipment were implemented from 1997-2000. Following the war in 2006, NAAMA members conducted a national fundraiser that supported the Lebanese Red Cross. NAAMA chapters also contributed in response to the turmoil in Lebanon. The Michigan, Ohio, Houston, Northwest Ohio, Illinois and DC chapters, among others, held fundraising events benefiting Lebanon medical relief efforts. In 2007, NAAMA donated $19,000 to the Child & Mother Welfare Hospital for ultrasound equipment. The following year, NAAMA donated over $113,000 for five projects of the Lebanon Red Cross. Since 2010, NAAMA has supported the Ajialouna Association in providing dental sealants to Lebanese public school children to fight dental caries in Beirut and other cities in South Lebanon. NAAMA has funded a symposium on cardiac electrophysiology for Lebanese physicians in connection with our 201o international medical convention. In 2011, NAAMA purchased ophthalmological equipment for a clinic in El Khiam that serves the entire southern region of the country.
In recent years, donations of medical relief supplies to Palestine have been significant. NAAMA works closely with relief agencies such as American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) in Washington, DC, to stretch its donated dollars and facilitate the timely delivery of donated medical supplies. Numerous projects have been implemented since October 2000. For example, NAAMA has upgraded the burn unit at Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem and the emergency room at Ramallah Hospital, and has provided ambulances, equipment and pharmaceutical supplies for hospitals in Gaza, Tulkarem and Jenin. NAAMA’s Michigan Chapter and the Mosaic Foundation partnered the establishment of a burn unit at Rafidia Hospital in Nablus and are sponsoring training in burn care for a physician and two nurses from the hospital. Assistance was provided to Ghassan Kanafani Children Foundation to benefit the toddlers attending pre-school nurseries in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. In early 2003, outdated computers, printers and copiers were replaced at AlQuds Medical School in Jerusalem and milk drinks were provided daily for several months for preschoolers and kindergarten students in Gaza’s poorest neighborhoods. The Milk for Preschoolers program was expanded to supply milk and high-energy biscuits to 325 children in four preschools in Nablus for six months beginning in late 2003. In April 2003, Geraldine Shawa, executive director of the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children in Gaza City, wrote: “Your help comes at a time when the children are very much in need of nutrition for the proper development of their bodies and minds. The administration and staff of Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children and the 40 deaf girls and boys registered in the society kindergarten and their parents send their most sincere gratitude to NAAMA for including our kindergarten children in the Milk for Preschoolers program being implemented by ANERA.” In response to the violence in 2006, a national fundraiser was launched to boost the Palestine Medical Relief Fund. The Palestine Liaison Committee also sponsored four Palestinian physicians to attend the Jordan convention, performed and donated equipment for ACLS, PALS courses during an intervention held prior to the Jordan convention in the West Bank. The committee also helped ship medical equipment through ANERA in 2006. In 2007, NAAMA was one of the major donors and an impetus behind the building of the Palestine Diabetes Institute (PDI) in Al-Bireh, Palestine. Our contribution has made it possible for Palestinians who suffer from this chronic disease to get the care they need. It has been operating ever since. In 2008 and 2009, NAAMA sent needed medical equipment to Gaza and Hebron. In 2010, NAAMA made a significant purchase of critical supplies for the Palestinian Blood Bank. As well, 2010 saw NAAMA’s support of three non-profit organizations that provide social rehabilitation and vocational training. In 2012, NAAMA’s donation will support the establishment of a new PDI center in Nablus.
Syria has been the site of three NAAMA international conventions and multiple workshops on cardiology and cancer. Clinical workshops were held in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia in September 2003. In addition, NAAMA has participated in bringing medical professionals from Syria to the United States for specialized training in cooperation with both Wayne State University in Detroit and Physicians for Peace in Norfolk. Donations have included medical journals and texts for the medical schools, medical equipment and emergency medical supplies following the flood resulting from the collapse of the country’s fourth largest dam in June 2002. In 2008, NAAMA supported the BASMA Cancer Project. As the civil unrest continued unabated through 2012, NAAMA took decisive action and purchased two new, fully equipped ambulances for use in two of the Syrian cities in greatest need. Through the efforts of the NAAMA Auxiliary, NAAMA provided funding for medical care for the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees living in Jordan.
In the U.S., NAAMA supports professional and educational activities aimed at Arab American health education and disease prevention in cooperation with the community-based organizations. NAAMA supported social and human service organizations such as the Community Health Center built by the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) in Dearborn, Michigan. NAAMA also donated to help the relief efforts following Katrina/Rita hurricanes aid. Several NAAMA members contributed their time and expertise to help the hurricane relief efforts. NAAMA is a member of the Advisory Board of the National Network for Arab American Communities so that we are in touch with the needs of various Arab Americans across the country.
NAAMA also joined worldwide efforts in 2006 to help the unfortunate victims of South Asia’s devastating Tsunami waves in Srilanka. NAAMA also assisted in the relief efforts following Pakistan earthquake in 2006.
Medical Student Scholarships are granted yearly. Small educational grants are awarded to qualified Arab American students enrolled in recognized North American schools of medicine and health care.