Displaced Syrian Doctors Awarded Scholarships To Maryland School

BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — Two displaced Syrian doctors have been awarded scholarships to attend the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

School officials announced Tuesday that Alfred Tager and Mohammad Darwish will begin attending this summer. Both are originally from Damascus.

As tension in their home country reaches a critical level, both are part of the more than 5 million people have fled Syria since 2011.

The Bloomberg School and the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health created the scholarships last year in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Applications were accepted from displaced Syrian health care workers who wanted to learn new skills to help rebuild their country’s health care infrastructure when they are able to return.

“Coming from the war zone gives you a totally different perspective on things that you don’t appreciate in every day life,” said Tager via Skype.

He escaped Syria two years after the war broke out. He is currently a senior research associate at the Charleston Area Medical Center Health Education and Research Institute in Charleston, West Virginia.

Darwish is based in Lebanon with the Palestine Red Crescent Society, providing first aid training and disaster management.

They’ll join less than 300 other students for an intensive, 11-month program.

Dean Michael Klag knows hospitals and clinics are frequent targets of attacks.

“What’s going on right now in Syria is unbelievable,” he said. “Syria is going to have to rebuild its healthcare system and its public health infrastructure. To do that, it needs, people who understand the country and who understand the tools of public health.”

“Being granted this scholarship is a huge opportunity to learn new skills. Skills that will help me be a part of finding solutions,” Tager said.

Johns Hopkins said they had huge interest in this program and received thousands of applicants.

The doctors will start class in July.

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(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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