By John I. Kennedy Jr, MD

Well Be Wisdom

On Wednesday the Department of Medicine held a brief virtual gathering to allow people to share their thoughts and feelings regarding the catastrophic impact of the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Dr. Riem Hawi, Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease, offered her personal insights about the country of Syria, its place in the history of our world, and the magnitude of the impact on the people in that region and beyond. Following Dr. Hawi’s presentation, Dr. Vineeta Kumar, Professor in the Division of Nephrology, moderated a conversation among those gathered.

With Dr. Kumar’s guidance, the group shared the complex thoughts and intense feelings they have experienced in the wake of this event. A recurring theme of the sentiments expressed by the group was that in spite of the sadness all felt, the opportunity to gather and share those feelings brought a sense of hope through our connection as the UAB family. The sentiment was aptly displayed in the last image that Dr. Hawi shared with us, the photo of the baby girl born under the rubble of the earthquake where her mother and the rest of her family died. The Arabic name given to this child, Aya, has been variously translated a ‘miracle,’ Divine sign,’ and ‘hope.’ In difficult times, the bonds of our human connections can extract hope from despair.

Should you desire to offer hope to others through financial support of the ongoing humanitarian relief efforts in the region of the earthquake, here are some options that have been vetted by multiple organizations:

The Syrian American Medical Society Foundation

The White Helmets

International Rescue Committee

Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders



February 17, 2022