April 2014 Update Dear Friends,

April 2014 Update
Dear Friends,
In Pakistan’s medical schools, as many as 85% of the students are women. This is great news for
aspiring women doctors, who used to be restricted by admissions quotas. Yet today, only 30% of
female graduates practice medicine. The reasons are complex, ranging from insufficient career
planning resources, to poor security conditions, to low pay, to lack of awareness of non-traditional
career paths, to family resistance to women practicing medicine. As a result, there are too few
doctors in Pakistan overall, and not enough female doctors for the female patients who need them.
In summer 2013, the Association of Physicians of Pakistani decent of North America (APPNA),
agreed to develop a program for female medical students to help them overcome challenges that
prevent many from practicing medicine. In December 2013, APPNA co-hosted a panel discussion
with Jinnah Sindh Medical University in Karachi to identify ways to support female students.
Several articles were published, including this one. [insert link to Bina Shah article] Sarah has since
met with APPNA leadership and local APPNA chapters to garner support for this program.
In April, APPNA President Asif Rehman announced the program at the APPNA conference in
Atlanta. He envisions a three-part career-planning program for female students that will link
APPNA speakers via video to Pakistani medical students, a resource and mentoring page on the
APPNA website, and live career planning seminars in Pakistan next December. This program has
the support of two former APPNA Presidents, Saima Zafar and Javaid Suleman.
The Council is thrilled to cooperate with APPNA on this ground-breaking program, which we
believe will make it possible for more female medical students to plan a rewarding medical career in
Pakistan. If you would like to support this effort, please contact Sarah Peck.
Other news:
The U.S. Embassy and Dr. Bernard Amadei, President Obama’s Science Envoy, will host a science
and engineering conference in June in Islamabad. The conference will also feature a workshop
focused on social entrepreneurship. [insert link to web site] The Council helped identify an
outstanding panel of female scientists to speak about their achievements, and we have helped ensure
that at least 50% of the participants are women. In celebration of this exciting event, the Council
will highlight the achievements of 30 extraordinary Pakistani women working in Tech and Science
on our Facebook page in June. Please feel free to nominate women you believe should be
recognized (and please provide contact details!)
As always, we encourage you to visit our website, Facebook page, and Linked In group to be
inspired or to find ways to support the Council. If you have suggestions or would like to be added
to our mailing list, please contact us at womenscouncil@american.edu.
Sarah & Samssa