A glance at a television screen or a click online can bring nightmarish images of the Syrian civil war, many of them photos of children maimed by bombings.
Being some 6,500 miles away from the fighting that began in 2011 doesn't mean Dr. Tarif Bakdash isn't doing what he can to ease suffering in the war zone.
Bakdash, who joined UMMC as an associate professor of pediatric neurology in September, sees patients in Mississippi in person but consults with physicians in Syria via Skype, helping them treat children in different settings. On weekends, he teaches courses online through Free Aleppo University.
On these Saturdays, he teaches physicians how to build curricula for medical school classes. Amid destruction from repeated bombings, educations are being built.
An American since 1992, Bakdash feels the pull of the country where he was born, in Damascus, and his obligation as a physician to relieve suffering.
“Every 28 minutes, we are losing a human being,” he said of the violence unleashed against rebel-held parts of Syria by the Bashar Al-Assad regime. “There are thousands of kids with no arms or legs, who have lost their sight and their hearing in bombings, and it is still happening. It is a huge mental health issue as well, as there are children who have no psycho-social support. From one area bombing massacre, 1,300 children were orphaned. Just one.”