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Welcomeپیام رئیس همایش

Welcome to the 1st Iranian Congress on Academic Medicine


Academic medicine describes a field of medicine, which is pursued by doctors who engage in a variety of scholarly activities such as teaching and research. These doctors tend to prioritise their scholarly activity over the clinical workload. Even though these doctors comprise a small proportion of all medically qualified doctors in the world, they are the workforce for new innovations and discoveries for disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment.


Distinction between academic and non-academic doctors in the West is usually based on whether they are primarily employed by the University for research and education, or by the local health authorities to provide health service to the community. Such distinction is difficult to draw in Iran because “Medical Universities” are responsible for providing health service as well as educating students and doctors at all levels.


Medical universities were formed in 1985 when medical education was separated from the Ministry of Higher Educations and moved to the Ministry of Health. All medical and dental subjects were given to the Universities of Medical Sciences in the capital cities. These Universities became responsible for providing health care all over Iran as well as education and training of medical and dental students from undergraduates to fellowships.


This rather unique situation has pros and cons, not replicated by any other country in the world. The origin of this decision was to rapidly compensate for the shortage of doctors after sudden outflow of the medical doctors immediately after 1979 revolution. While establishment of medical Universities helped this cause, it is now increasingly clearly that it caused university agendas and policies to set by the majority of doctors who has no or little interest and capabilities in academic medicine.


The situation is worsening since Health Transformation Plan started 4 years ago. This plan aimed to provide universal healthcare insurance but it proved managerially so demanding that it practically became top agenda for all Medical Universities in Iran, hence affecting academic medicine.


A year ago I thought an event in which some of the best academic medical scientists gather together and provide inspiration for the younger generation as well as to reach out to the international community to strengthen academic medicine in Iran would be beneficial.  Prof. John Wass and Prof. David Warrell both from University of Oxford provided an invaluable support and intellect to plan what I believe is going to be one of the most important medical events in Iran in the last few decades. Some of the senior authors of Oxford Textbook of Medicine will be giving lectures on their areas of expertise and engage in discussion with the audience. Prof Tim Cox, a guru in metabolic medicine from University of Cambridge will provide insights into Gaucher’s disease.  Prof Jeremy Farrar, the Director of Wellcome Trust, will talk about his amazing journey over the years in the UK and in Vietnam to discover some of the deadliest viruses affecting human kind.  Prof. Derick Wade, Director of neurorehabilitation in Oxford, the man who brought measurement to rehabilitation research in the world, will tell us that one does not need a large fund to do high impact research. Prof. Kevin Talbot, Head of Neurology in Oxford, provides insight into the nature of neurodegeneration from his vast experience.  Prof. Chris Conlon, will talk about tuberculosis that is as important a problem as it was ever before, and hopefully will introduce new weapons to us to fight it.


Finally, our host is Islamic Azad University, one of the largest universities in the world with no governmental funding. IAU is a not-for-profit organization that grew rapidly after 1979 revolution solely upon contributions of charities and student tuition fees. IAU remains one of the very few universities in Iran, which retained the real concept of universitas. I am particularly thankful to the IAU vice chancellors Prof Mohsen Nafar and Prof Mohammad Mehdi Tehranchi for their support.

I hope you join us in this historic event and enjoy every moment of that.


Mojtaba Zarei MD PhD FRCP(UK)

Prof. of Neurology and Neuroscience

Shahid Beheshti University

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