Why I Became IAMA Member

Around 12 years ago while I was in university of Tennessee in Memphis, I received a call from an Iranian physician who asked me if I were interested to Join IAMA. I asked, “What is IAMA?” He explained about IAMA and its mission, that a group of Iranian physicians in the United States have come together with a common goal of helping the needy Iranian medical students, residents, and patients without expecting ANYTHING IN RETURN. The real goal was to elevate the respect and reputation of our beloved country and countrymen, which have been at stake for sometime. That was like a soothing music to my ears and the message was very close to my heart. I accepted the invitation right away and participated in IAMA’s annual meeting that year and participated actively in many events both here in the United State and in the scientific and missionary trips to Iran. There was not and never will be any economic compensations for what IAMA ’S members have done. On several occasions, those of us who volunteered, closed our busy practices, got our own plane tickets, went to Iran, did a lot of good work, enjoyed every minute of it, and came back with complete sense of gratification. Here in US we make every effort to bring many doctors and their next generation of doctors together thru many cultural and scientific events so that they don’t forget their roots and identity. Fortunately many of us have been able (against all odds) to help quite a few younger physicians. As we all know these individuals and their families have gone thru tremendous hardship to come to this “land of opportunity” with high hopes of establishing their careers. This has truly been possible thru the efforts of quite a few of IAMA’s members. This is the essence of IAMA. In reality there are also many defects and obstacles in reaching these goals. First of all IAMA is not economically very sound. Secondly, we, as a group are not very strong compared to other minorities. I am sure the reason is very clear to all of us. Unfortunately when we are in need, we join a particular association with only one expectation in mind, thinking that everyone should cater to our needs and help us reach our goal. If we do not get the help (which sometimes is very unrealistic), then we start criticizing others for not helping us. But even worse is when we reach our goals, we completely forget about other people who may be in the same situation that we had been in not too long ago. Of course individually all of us become successful, but as a group, we will always be behind every other minority groups. That’s perhaps why we don’t have a voice in this country. It’s probably time for us to wake up and change our way of thinking. We should offer our help first, then expect to get help. A stronger medical association will be able to do more for those in need of help. If you have these ambitions in mind, please consider joining IAMA and contribute to its improvements. I also encourage your constructive criticism and active participation in IAMA’s day to day activities. Hopefully we will have an ideal organization that we all will be proud to be a part of it. Hosein Shokouh-Amiri, MD, FACS, FICS Chairman of CME committee of IAMA