MERIT in a meeting in conference room

In Fall of 2006, President-Elect Dr. Nadeem Kazi invited me to chair a committee whose aim would be to help improve medical education in Pakistan. After extensive consultation in Pakistan with faculty, students, heads of medical colleges, universities, and regulatory bodies, we developed a set of initiatives under APPNA MERIT (Medical Education, Research, International Training & Transfer-of-Technology Committee). Those efforts are chronicled in APPNA’s history book, APPNA QISSA II.

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“APPNA MERIT” with Prof Zafarullah Chaudhry, President CPSP 2010: Helping Establish New Fellowships in Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Peds. Hem/Onc
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Dow University VC Award to Chair APPNA MERIT for Live Grand Rounds from US, Visiting Faculty Program, New Specialty Fellowships, Curriculum Reform
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APPNA MERIT Visits Rawalpindi Army Medical College: Arranges Live Grand Rounds from the US.
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APPNA MERIT Visiting Punjab Medical College: Arranges Live Grand Rounds from the US.

From 2007-2012 I developed MERIT working closely with the different APPNA Presidents (Nadeem Kazi, Mahmood Alam, Syed Abdus Samad, Zeeluf Munir, Manzoor Tariq), each of whom asked me to continue as Chair of the MERIT Committee and continue to build out the various MERIT initiatives, notably:

Live video Grand Rounds in different specialties, streamed simultaneously to faculty and post-graduate trainees at 20-30 medical colleges/universities, twice a week

APPNA Visiting Faculty Program, in conjunction with Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission and VEPCON, for 2-4 week teaching assignments by APPNA specialists at Pakistani medical universities and colleges

New Fellowships in Emergency Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, established with APPNA MERIT’s assistance by College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan (CPSP) and with the strong collaboration of Dow University of Health Sciences

MBBS Medical Curriculum Reform Symposium at KE

APPNA Specialty Networks (MERITnets) created to bring together APPNA specialists in different specialties to work on MERIT Grand Rounds, Visiting Faculty program, new fellowships curriculum, collaboration with Pakistani specialty-specific societies

APPNA SUKOON initiative to help develop palliative care and hospice education and programs in Pakistan.

APPNA MERIT Visits Khyber Medical College 2010
APPNA MERIT Visits Khyber Medical College 2010: Arranges Live Grand Rounds from the US
Dr. Naheed Usmani Teaching Pediatric Palliative Care
Teaching Pediatric Palliative Care at Al Nafees Medical College Islamabad 2016
RMC International Scientific Symposium 2016

These MERIT initiatives benefitted post-graduate medical trainees and faculty across Pakistan and I visited and worked closely with Pakistan’s medical colleges and universities annually (or semi-annually) to discuss their needs and best ways to help them improve medical education and training. These institutions included:

Dow UHS King Edward MU Khyber Medical U Liaquat UMHS
Sindh MC U of Health Sciences PIMS CPSP
Aga Khan U Allama Iqbal MC Nishtar MC Quaide Azam MC
Liaquat Natl HMC Fatima Jinnah MC Army MC Punjab MC
Shifa Intl. Rawalpindi MC CMH MC Fatima Memorial MC
Services Institute NUST Armed Forces Inst. Lahore MC

On the APPNA side, MERIT’s success occurred because of the volunteer effort of numerous APPNA physicians including MERIT committee members and chairs of MERIT Specialty networks. I also worked closely with office holders of the various alumni associations who helped arrange meetings and participation of their alma maters. I am grateful to all of them for their collaboration, hard work, and friendship.