A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

From the Battlefield to the Classroom


Syrian doctor who led aid efforts is now studying public health at Brown.

When clashes between government protestors in Syria and the regime of Bashar al-Assad spiraled into civil war, many Syrians took up arms. Others, like Dr. Khaled Almilaji, countered the violence with a different manifestation of courage: he shipped in medical supplies, built hospitals, vaccinated children, and treated the wounded, even while he was a prisoner of the regime.

His latest step to fight the escalating horrors in his country is to earn a master’s in public health at Brown. As the conflict has grown in scope and complexity, Almilaji’s humanitarian responsibilities have as well. He’s committed to gaining the additional education to provide the best care for his country. That means not only continuing to solve urgent problems, as he has done in myriad ways, but also studying how to build, assess, and improve those systems for the long term.

“The international NGOs have been doing a great job in Syria,” says Almilaji, who moved from Turkey to Providence in September to begin his studies at Brown, supported by Provost Richard Locke and the School of Public Health. “But they are still working in a concept of relief. After five years, we really have to step out and look at what we are doing, improve our performance, and prioritize our activities for a long-term and consistent way of doing things.”

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