Iranian American Medical Association: Improving Lives and Shaping Futures
PARSA Community Foundation
When the historic Iranian city of Bam was devastated by a massive earthquake
five years ago, the international community and the Iranian diaspora joined the
effort to provide much-needed relief assistance to the tens of thousands of
victims of one of Iran's worst natural disasters. Today, five years later, Bam's
infrastructure remains decimated, and the wounds of that tragic day remain in
both the city's hospital facilities and its stricken residents.
A group of Iranian-American doctors have not forgotten the residents of Bam, and
have embarked on an ambitious effort to build a free clinic in the recovering
city. With thirteen-thousand square meters of land donated by the city council
of Bam, the clinic will be comprised of four major sections: an advanced general
medical facility, a building for specialty services, a same-day surgery unit and
a residential unit for physicians and visiting specialists from around the
world. The center will provide greatly-needed care for Bam's impoverished
The Bam clinic represents only one aspect of a wide range of activities
initiated, supported, and created by the Iranian-American Medical Association (IAMA).
Founded in New Jersey in 1993 by seven Iranian-American doctors, the Iranian
American Medical Association has eight chapters across the United States and
provides a multitude of charitable and educational services. Its mission is to
support Iranian-American healthcare professionals and provide assistance to the
Iranian-American community in need. In the last sixteen years, IAMA has
organized educational courses for medical students and professionals, published
a regular bulletin for the Iranian-American medical community and has advised
medical students and graduates in their career paths. The organization also
provides financial assistance to medical students and also hosts a service to
assist them in gaining admission into highly competitive residency programs.
Each year, IAMA holds meetings and conferences throughout its chapters,
including an annual symposium and accredited CME seminars. These events help
unite Iranian-American health professionals from all over the United States,
with over 6,000 people invited each year. IAMA promotes education at these
events by offering up to 10 hours of AMA (American Medical Association) category
CME (continuing medical education) credits at the annual seminar, an invaluable
asset for IAMA members.
IAMA's local chapters organize free lectures and medical tests as part of their
individual initiatives. For example, the Texas chapter of IAMA recently offered
a screening event for cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose. This
invitation was extended to the entire local community and benefited those in
need of medical testing.
One of IAMA's newest initiatives is IAMA-JAVAAN, which aims to mobilize young
Iranian-American medical students and residents. This special chapter of IAMA is
carrying the torch for the next generation of brilliant Iranian-American health
professionals through organizing fundraisers, meetings and networking events.
According to IAMA President Dr. Barry Sadegi, IAMA-JAVAAN is the "main
connection to future members" and an "invaluable asset" to the organization.
IAMA has also made significant strides in medical diplomacy. In a groundbreaking
project, IAMA worked with the Aspen Institute in 2006 to select over twenty
Iranian physicians in the fields of addiction, infectious disease, public
health, cardiology and gastroenterology to visit the United States. These
physicians attend American universities and learn about the latest breakthroughs
in fields such as HIV research, organ transplant, and combating drug addiction.
Thanks to the generous efforts of IAMA and the Aspen Institute, this program is
free of charge for the participating Iranian physicians. With the knowledge
gained, these physicians are well-poised to become leaders in their respective
medical practices in Iran.
In a field where so many Iranian-Americans have excelled, it seems only fitting
that IAMA is raising the bar not only for the medical community, but for the
Iranian-American community as a whole. Through pooling the resources of leading
Iranian-American medical professionals, IAMA is strengthening the medical
community's ability to improve lives and shape futures both in the U.S. and in
To learn more about the Iranian American Medical Association, please visit
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