Mais Humaideh embraces Dr. Sahar Al Fahoum, her mentor in Syria at the CU School of Pharmacy.
Mais Humaideh was just a few days into her pharmacy courses and more than 6,000 miles from Syria when her world got just a little bit smaller earlier this month.
Humaideh is one of seven University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences International-Trained PharmD (ITPD) students taking part in a monthlong on-campus session at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.
During the ITPD orientation session, Humaideh learned that her favorite professor from home in Syria, Dr. Sahar Al Fahoum, was also in the Denver Metro area. As fate would have it, Al Fahoum's daughter, Sim Taleb, is an ITPD student in her final semesters and is in Denver completing Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiential rotations.
CU Pharmacy Distance Degrees and Programs Director Dr. Shaun Gleason facilitated a brief hug-and-smile-filled reunion between Humaideh and her beloved professor, connecting them for first time since 2012.
"I was just so surprised,” Humaideh said. "I always looked at Dr. Al Fahoum as a great example to me.”
The ITPD program requires that students possess a bachelor's degree in pharmacy and have a desire to expand pharmacy in their home countries. Humaideh earned her bachelor's degree in pharmacy in 2012. That's where she worked closely with Dr. Al Fahoum.
During the four weeks that ITPD students are on campus in the summer, they take classes and participate in introductory pharmacy practice experiences.
Once the onsite experience is over, the students return to their homes across the globe to begin distance-based courses.
Humaideh, who graduated with a pharmacy degree from the University of Kalamoon in Syria, wants to expand her pharmacy education further so that one day, she can bring her training back home.
“To me, a PharmD is really important," she said. "PharmD is really about building my country.”
Back home, Humaideh saw healthcare — and many other systems — break apart during the Syrian crisis.
Humaideh’s goal is to use her ITPD training to transform healthcare access in her home country of Syria.
“I just believe that all people deserve a good life. Where you are and where you’re from makes a big difference,” she said. “I think everyone should have access to good healthcare.”