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Academic Medicine and Science Diplomacy: Medical Education in Iraq. Acad Med 2019 12;94(12):1884-1890



Pubmed ID





Physicians are infrequently selected to serve in the yearlong role of Jefferson Science Fellow (JSF) as senior science advisor for the U.S. Department of State or the United States Agency for International Development. The authors discuss the role of a JSF in promoting "science diplomacy" from the perspective of one alumnus, who sites examples of ongoing, long-term collaborative projects including one focusing on medical education reform in Iraq that would not have been possible without the JSF program. More than 3 decades of political and social unrest, terrorism, the internal displacement of millions of Iraqi citizens, the arrival of Syrian refugees, international sanctions, and the effect of fluctuating oil prices that fund education in Iraq have all led to a standstill in modernizing educational systems and the need for reform. In 2016, new opportunities for international collaboration and travel allowed faculty from the Al Kindy College of Medicine, University of Baghdad, Iraq, to visit the United States, explore U.S. medical school teaching methods, interact with U.S. faculty and students, and then implement their vision of a revised medical curriculum. These faculty members shared their observations with the Iraqi Council of Deans, which represents all 30 Iraqi medical schools. Structural changes in curriculum content and teaching methods have been implemented with the goal of restoring quantifiable excellence in education and health care in Iraq. The authors close with lessons learned to encourage other physicians to participate in the JSF program, which offers a unique opportunity to influence foreign policy through science diplomacy.

Author List

Kron M, Roenius M, Alqortasi MAM, Alhaidari T, Hussein M, Hameed EK, Salih IK


Michael Kron MD Director, Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Education, Medical, Undergraduate
International Cooperation
United States
jenkins-FCD Prod-482 91ad8a360b6da540234915ea01ff80e38bfdb40a