SAMS Training Syrian Medical Professionals in Turkey

By S. Syed,. TMO

Editor’s note:  S. Syed is from Troy, Michigan, and has gone to Turkey representing the Syrian Medical Association, to distribute medical supplies.  He is on the Board of Directors of the TMO Youth Group.


A man carries his daughter as he walks in Bab Al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz August 29, 2012. The refugee flow to Turkey has grown as fighting has worsened around Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo, split between rebels and Assad’s forces in a street-by-street battle that has ground on for weeks. At the Azaz-Kilis crossing, the main route into Turkey from Aleppo, Syrians described dire conditions for refugees still trapped on the other side of the border.

REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

ANTAKYA, Turkey – Two dozen physicians, medics and medical students from Syria attended a 3-day seminar organized by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) in Antakya, Turkey, this weekend. Medical experts from the US and Saudi Arabia trained the Syrian participants on several critical issues, including portable ultrasound use and advanced trauma and life support. The SAMS trainers also addressed a range of questions based on the daily emergencies faced by the medical professionals in Syria, such as how to prioritize multiple wounds in a patient and how to recognize and treat the effects of chemical weapons.

Medical professionals traveled to Antakya at considerable risk from all over Syria, including Hama, Idlib, and even Damascus, to attend this first SAMS Training Mission and learn new skills to better treat their patients. However, a US-based SAMS trainer noted that many physicians could only attend a couple of the critical seminars before having to return to their field hospitals, given the demand and urgency back in Syria.

SAMS is not just providing physicians with critical training but also delivering critical equipment as well. The organization recently established a warehouse in Detroit, MI, to collect medical supplies, and has already started sending shipments to its newly established medical center in Antakya, Turkey. Several attendees returned to Syria with portable ultrasounds and other medical equipment supplied by SAMS.

In addition to the life-saving training, the event was also an opportunity for the Syrian doctors to network, connect with SAMS, and communicate their needs. Dr. Mazen K., who oversees the new SAMS center in Antakya, plans to establish regular communication with the field hospital networks in Syria to inform them of available supplies and understand where the critical shortages are.

Visit to learn more about opportunities to support SAMS or to participate in a SAMS Training Mission (for physicians).


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