May 21, 2024

Student organization raises $12,000 to support possible medical student rotation in Palestinian territories

Empower health
Organizers and attendees pose among the art on display at the fundraiser and cultural celebration.

A poetry and art exhibition hosted by the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Palestine Medical Service Initiative student organization raised more than $12,000 to support sending fourth-year medical students on a rotation with Wayne State University faculty to the Palestinian territories.

The event, held May 11 at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, sought to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza while celebrating Palestinian culture and heritage. Attendees included physicians, medical students, community members and WSU School of Medicine faculty.

“Our event celebrated Palestinian culture and heritage, and featured a compelling presentation by Dr. Fadi Safi, a professor at the University of Toledo School of Medicine and representative of the Palestinian American Medical Association, on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” said second-year medical student and event co-organizer Ameen Khan.

Art on display included 50 pieces made by medical students or donated by local artists and community members. 

Associate Professor of Oncology Morhaf Al Achkar, M.D., Ph.D., performed several songs on his oud string instrument.

The crowd also enjoyed several performances, including dabke folk dancing, and songs and spoken poetry by medical students, community members and faculty. Morhaf Al Achkar, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of Oncology and associate center director of Education at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, sang and performed several songs on his oud, a traditional Middle Eastern stringed instrument.

Food and chai were donated by Dearborn Fresh and Kitab Café, respectively.

PMSI surpassed its fundraising goal thanks to donations from those in attendance, as well as online auctioning of the art on display.

The organization is aimed at providing medical aid to an underserved population in Palestinian areas. It also provides a space for thoughtful discussion about barriers to health care access both locally and globally. Through fundraising efforts, community events and academic discussion, students learn how they can impart positive change globally during their prospective careers as practicing physicians. They also aim to send students to Ramallah in the West Bank as part of service-oriented trip.

“The proceeds from this fundraiser will fuel our mission to send fourth-year medical students to Palestine for a transformative away rotation with Wayne faculty,” Khan said.

The group has previously partnered with the Palestinian Children Relief Fund.

In the eventuality that the trip isn’t possible, the funds will be channeled toward a meaningful endeavor such as providing essential medical supplies to children in Gaza, Khan added.

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