In April 2018, the BIDMC Fellowship in Disaster Medicine joined the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) for a new fellowship rotation to Jordan to provide care to Syrian refugees and the local community. The BIDMC team was comprised of five disaster medicine physician fellows and a disaster nursing fellow. Across the SAMS multi-specialty medical specialty mission, 53 volunteers from all over the world treated over 4,300 patients, and provided over 200 surgical procedures, including cardiac catheterizations, ophthalmological and reconstructive surgeries. Additionally, actress and activist Amber Heard joined the mission to experience first hand the impact of SAMS and raise awareness about the plight of refugees.
Founded in 2007, the SAMS Foundation is a global medical relief organization that is working on the front lines of crisis relief in Syria and in neighboring countries. When the conflict in Syria erupted in 2011, SAMS expanded its capacity significantly to meet the growing needs and challenges of the medical crisis. In 2017, SAMS provided more than 3.5 million medical services to those in need, including 3.2 million inside Syria. Last year, SAMS opened the largest multi-specialty center in Al-Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, home to 80,000 refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 24. The center provides over 7,500 services per month, serving over 6,000 beneficiaries.
During the mission, the BIDMC Disaster Medicine Fellowship team worked primarily at the SAMS center in the Zaatari Camp treating more than 500 patients. Additionally, the team also worked at other locations throughout Jordan, including Irbid, Ajloun, Tafilaa, Karrak, Maa’n, and Mafraq, which serve both Syrian refugees and the local community. The mission was an eye-opening, remarkable experience where the fellows used their expertise and skills, while also expanding their knowledge of the factors that affect international health care in times of crises.
The BIDMC Disaster Medicine Fellowship team was privileged to join the SAMS mission as it seeks to broaden its humanitarian reach through future rotations with SAMS and other medical organizations to serve displaced populations in post-conflict settings.