On Friday, October 8, 2010, for the first time in the history of the United States, a Shia organization lead community members to discuss critical health policy matters and issues of the targeted violence against Shias globally with offices of their elected representatives on Capitol Hill. Approximately 75 attendees of Imamia Medics International’s 11th National and 4th International Conference participated in the limited capacity Advocacy Day activities. Three meetings had been arranged with the following offices and groups of 6-12 individuals were lead by the IMI representatives listed below. At 9:30 AM the group lead by Dr. Barkat Jaferi met with Congressman Chris Smith's Deputy Chief of Staff, Tim Lynagh. At 10:30 AM, IMI delegates lead by Dr. Mohammad Yaseen met with Congresswoman Donna Edwards’ Legislative Assistant for Healthcare, Angie Jean Marie. The final group of IMI delegates lead by Dr. Hasan Askari met with Congressman John Conyers' Legislative Director, Joel Segal for several hours with the discussion continuing over lunch as well.
At each meeting, participants stressed the importance of universal healthcare in line with IMI’s vision, “whoso saveth the life of one, it is as if he has saved the life of all humanity.” (Quran 5:32). In addition, concerns were raised about the increased violence against Shias globally, and specifically in Pakistan. Each group presented the Representatives with details regarding recent incidents of violence against Shias and a sample letter to send to the Embassy of Pakistan to increase attention on this issue and security for the affected Shia populations.
Two follow up committees are being developed to continue advocacy on these two critical issues. In addition to the meetings, participants also toured Capitol Hill and attended Jummah Prayers on the Hill with Muslims from a wide spectrum of the professional community.
After the Capitol Hill Program, an IMI briefing was held at the National Press Club. Dr. Hasan Askari briefed the attendees about IMIs health policy work, Ms. Sakina Rizvi spoke on the currently flood relief and recovery activities being coordinated by IMI in Pakistan, and Mr. Wirasat Rizvi provided an overview of the targeted violence against Shias globally with a special emphasis on the increasing violence in Pakistan.
The first day of the 11th National and 4th International Conference concluded with a community dinner at Idara-e-Jaferia where, in addition to the community Health Fair, after a welcome address by the President of Idara-e-Jaferia, Mr. Hasan Zaidi, Dr. Barkat Jaferi made a short presentation on IMI and its current activities.
IMI also presented Idara-e-Jaferia with the Alam of Hazrat Abbas (AS) that was received in Karbala by IMI Third Delegation to Iraq.
The second day of the 11th National and 4th International Conference began with a welcome address by Dr. Mohammad Yaseen and an overview of the conference by Ms. Sakina Rizvi. The participants had the option to attend one of three workshops: Cardiovascular Health, General Health Screenings, or Professional Development: Career Guidance for New Professionals. Following this, a second set of workshops was attended by participants on Geriatrics or Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Lunch followed with a lecture by Lexden Capital on Leveraging Institutional Equity for Real Estate Investments By Physicians.
IMI’s general body meeting was convened after this with over 150 in attendance. International and national IMI representatives provided updates on IMI activities, and feedback was solicited by the members present.
After the meeting, a general session on International Healthcare Systems was scheduled with Dr. Hasan Askari presenting an overview on international healthcare systems with an emphasis on the US system, Dr. Mahdi Abdullah presenting on the Iraqi healthcare system and Dr. Ghulammehdi Sumar addressing the European healthcare systems, with an emphasis on the British system. A Special Address on Spiritual Health by Mrs. Mariam Agah followed this session.
To wrap up a long day of conference activities, IMI held the National IMI Pakistan Flood Relief Fundraising Banquet that evening. Jeff Naqvi emceed the event and a presentation on IMI’s activities in the field and the continuing need in Pakistan was made by Ms. Sakina Rizvi. With the help of the community, IMI raised $101,000 that evening in addition to the over $300,000 previously donated to IMI. Dr. Wajih Rizvi also presented numerous awards to individuals who have contributed to IMI’s efforts for the 11th National and 4th International Conference and IMI’s Pakistan flood relief activities.
At the banquet, awards were also presented to individuals for their contributions with the conference. Special awards were presented as follow:
The final day of the 11th National and 4th International Conference of IMI began with a Youth Mentorship workshop, where both youth and possible mentors were able to interact and forge new connections after presentations by Dr. Nusrat Naqvi, Dr. Sarwat Hussain, and Mr. Syed Azhar Hussain. Ms. Jabeen Reza moderated the session.
Finally, a short meeting was held to evaluate the 11th National and 4th International Conference. Participants graded this conference at an A level and offered constructive criticisms.