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Nahla Gomaa

University of Alberta

Canada

Nahla Gomaa, MBBCH, MSs, MD PhD is a Specialist and a Faculty of Medicine member in Canada. Being a physician, educator, researcher, and grant adjudicator; she has vast experiential educational experiences, certifications, and fellowships in Higher Education, medical and interprofessional education from international institutes including University of Calgary and Harvard. As an educator, Dr. Gomaa is known for her commitment to students’ success, fostering a collaborative and inclusive learning environment that unlock the learners’ full potential. She has designed and implemented cutting-edge teaching innovations with active learning approaches, to enhance students’ outcomes and engagement both in classroom and clinical settings.
Beyond her role as a student-centered educator, she is actively involved in faculty development initiatives, and mentorship of aspiring physicians and educators. Her dedication to advancing teaching excellence, promoting a culture of lifelong learning, and commitment to innovation make her a respected leader in the field, with national, international conference and grand round presentations. Equipped with a plethora of expertise in institutional strategic planning and experience in educational transformations; her interests extend to peer consultation, social accountability in higher education, and quality improvement in medical education as an entrusted tool for advancement of institutions aspiring to excellence.
On the research perspective, she is an associate editor, a grant awardee, adjudicator, and a member of the research academy. Alongside, she has been extensively investing in community and social entrepreneurship where she spearheaded mentorship programs for youth, certificate-recognition programs for newcomers and immigrants, lead a provincial chapter of the “Islamic history month of Canada [IHMC]”. As a former member on the first provincial Alberta Antiracism Advisory Council [AARAC], she is still continuing the efforts; in collaboration with the city and provincial offices. Amongst multiple awards granted, her community services accorded her “Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal” and a nomination to Alberta Order of Excellence.
Currently, she is a member of medical relief organizations such as “Doctors for Humanity”, and a strong believer in empowering women in education and healthcare domains as a way of shaping the landscape of contemporary communities. Nahla is seeking support of WLW to empower women and girls, who are the most impacted societal categories by severe disasters; with the minimum health literacy and education that enable them to look after themselves and their injured or disabled family members.
These short courses and training to improve health literacy and basic medical care skills may be lifesaving for them, as well as for alive, yet disabled family members. She is hoping to draw the support of WLW fellowship and network to consolidate a multi-level learner-centered innovative and well-structured program to train trainers in these impacted geographic areas, while brainstorming unconventional ideas of supplying them with basic medical information and logistic support.

Nahla Gomaa

About
Me.

What is your story?

What drives your work?

Throughout my career, I have demonstrated a commitment to promoting professional growth and development to educators. My experience as a physician, innovative educator, mentor, and curriculum development have provided me with a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that teachers encounter on a daily basis. I have successfully designed and implemented innovative professional development programs that have enhanced teacher effectiveness and student learning outcomes.
In addition to my vast practical experience, I hold multiple certifications in the following domains: Leadership from the “Gold College” in 2018, Certificate of Patient’s safety Quality Management” in health care from the University of Calgary, 2019, and most recently, I have completed a “Higher Education Teaching Certificate”, at Harvard University, U.S.A. I am eager to bring my expertise in teacher support and development to the MD Program and contribute to the continued success of its faculty. These multiple certifications came with national and international active affiliations to educational associations and societies that provided me with high visibility in the educational realm, and a continuum of resources that will foster the educators’ professional development.
So, I present myself as a clinical Physician and educator, who has invested in studying the quality of medical education; a major component of which, is related to making equal opportunities for learners, focusing on social accountability, and creating a culturally safe environment both for junior colleagues and learners.
Following my fellowship at one of the top universities in the U.S.A., I started my current career path with a clinical, educational, and research appointment. Being perhaps the only person in the in the current institution who started without a startup fund, was a huge setback for me. I soon learned that this was one of the challenges that brought forward one of my strongest attributes which I never explored previously; the ability to turn challenges into opportunities. The same challenges were repeated over and over again with the same pushback strategies. Fortunately, I had the opportunity of testing the efficiency “turning challenges into opportunities” that eventually was associated with innovative interventions. I also learned early enough in my career that although our medical training and practice might be at the same level, it is these attributes that build the character of the physician as a healer, the charisma of the educator between learners, and most of all they build mutual trust of the physician educator within their community of colleagues or learners.
Having all layers of visible minorities, such as being a person of colour, a woman in healthcare and educational leadership was not easy to navigate, in a world of privileges and tokens of rewards to the favorite individuals or races, versus setbacks and frustrations to everyone else. Working through institutional and individual discrimination, would undoubtedly, extend the road of obstacles on one hand, but on the other hand, they build a more steadfast perseverant character. I still remember the first apprehensive look of students in the first class I taught, and the first egregious comment from not only from a student, but from a colleague who told me that I won’t be able to teach male learners as I came from a man-dominant society, which he took back later on. These comments turned into complementary comments such as “Dr. Gomaa is cool as long as you do not try to be fool”.
Although the push backs close to the top of the pyramid will always be the same, the indicators of success and visibility changed. I could see the merit of being able to do innovations and able to strategize committees in different ways, when everyone else is trying to follow the same traditional methods.
On a community level, discrimination has been shattering the Canadians in many ways particularly following shooting of mosques and killing incidents to Canadian citizens from different backgrounds. The petition that I lead with 4000 provincial signatures for joining other provinces and declaring October as the Islamic History Month [IHMC] in our province gave us a grace period for about a year to work hard on educating the society about the heritage of Muslims in sciences and arts…etc., Despite the positive outcome, there was more need to dig more deeply into the root causes of the outrageous discrimination. My appointment at the first Provincial Antiracism Council came as an opportunity to use the quality analysis and improvement model in another setting, where I chaired a subcommittee, which worked on needs assessment and gave recommendations to the government. It was an action that was needed in a very difficult time, and I had to perform the job along with working at other community and grass roots levels, in addition to teaching learners and seeing patients. The efforts were concluded by being awarded Queen Elizabeth Platinum Medal last year, but I discovered it was only a milestone on a long road, and realized that leadership challenges never end.

I find that justice, fairness and standing up for the oppressed are some of the most important values that leaders should have. In our world, this becomes quite difficult job when the majority of leaders mix leadership with management, quite often they default to micromanagement to advance their power. My leadership was also shaped by digging more into the quality assurance and best practices for physicians. To serve in a quality level, it may be reasonable to divide huge academic problems into small chunks and sort one at a time.
Some of the leadership memories are: Shifting the impression about women in Surgery from to being assertive or aggressive to collaborating, yet able to take difficult decisions. I have seen the first model when women climbed up the leadership and once they are at the top, they compensate for their feminine disadvantage by being extensively demanding and aggressive. This model would not build capacities, neither would it be appealing to junior learners to follow.
Keeping the balance between the feminine character, the mother role model and the professional influential leader is the most difficult challenge and the self-rewarding feeling when achieved. Being composed in difficult times and difficult challenges was noted in my leadership career, and quite often saved the team tremendous consequences of anger and resentment.
In summary, I may have been guided by the surrounding circumstances to a situational leadership that flourished and survived, as it originated from working at the grassroots level. This level of leadership usually drives its legitimacy from the community and sustains more by giving back to the community. My leadership journey had many stops and multifaceted outcomes, that lent themselves to different other challenges that continue to come. I am excited to use more innovative models and resources in helping more communities globally.

What drives my work?
The main inspirations in my life have been really consolidated when I moved from the zone of securing self-successes and achievements to mentoring other learners or junior staff to achieve their successes and achievements. In many cases this was the only factor that would drive me to keep going. Reflecting back on our seniors in the professional world, when we did not have mentors’ roles well-defined, It's interesting how most of us do not remember many of those who let us down, while we always remember our professors or seniors who were encouraging to our success, just as much as you counts the lamps and lights stand in a dark tunnel. These light stands were the first sparks of my momentum to develop the necessary strength to help oppressed junior staff who are not provided enough opportunities to pursue their future and bring their best qualities to the surface in order to help another generation. I found then that the community at large is in need to these leadership efforts.

Describe your biggest strength as a leader

-In addition to having a record of turning challenges into opportunities for improvement and success, one of my 360° surveys to assess my leadership, I was confirmed to be motivated by an internal inclination towards doing the right thing in the right way, mutual respect and was diagnosed with valuing quality over quantity. Some other attributes that characterized my survey where having a strong sense of duty and taking work seriously, being able to capitalize on the available resources, bring order and structure through organizational qualities, being able to amass a wide range of information while effectively focusing on both task and people within the team, help the team to work more effectively, and encourages team allegiance. These attributes opened the doors for me to achieve and flourish in leadership positions that arise from the community needs than top-down positions that come through appointments.

Describe your biggest challenge as a leader

The models I have worked on, were local relatively small community or learners’ models. I wonder when it comes to global models how to maintain sustainability.
Another challenge may be spreading the vision and mission to others in a given organization. This is particularly important when delegations are needed, how to maintain the quality of the model?
In addition, I have been working on setting high goals and being over-ambitious.

About the
Organization
and the Project.

Sector

Academia

Vision & Mission

Organization Vision & Mission: Although the organization was existing, we are looking into refreshing its activities to start making a positive impact towards the needy people globally.
The overall vision was aligning with the W.H.O. statements of providing equitable, socially accountable health for all humans; regardless their race or background.

Mission changes: The main goals were hard to achieve in a world, where according to the last report of the W.H.O. in 2022, before the updates with escalation of the warfare in Ukraine and Middle East; more than 1 billion people are on the move globally, of this total, 281 million people are international migrants (1) and 84 million are forcibly displaced (48 million are internally displaced, 26.6 million are refugees, 4.4 million are asylum seekers). These numbers have been exponentially increased since.
That being said, our mission has been modified to providing the basic human health care to the communities of displaced refugees and migrants who are suffering from consequences of post-war multiple injuries, and disabilities, keeping in mind that the women and children are not only the most affected sections of these communities, but they are take on their shoulders the unfair share of looking after their disabled children and family members.
Providing these women and girls with the basic healthcare knowledge will empower them and leverage their abilities to build their communities in the original or displacement locations.

Year Founded

2018

No. of Employees

1

Years in the Organization

6 months

Annual Budget (USD)

$50,000

Geographical Area Served

So far is it based out of Canada, aspiring to work globally.

Organizational /

Project Description

- One Year Project Goal:
I am hoping to build an alternative sustainable education system for different multidisciplinary levels of education that enable the community to eventually recover on a self-sufficiency basis. This will involve leveraging the knowledge and skills of the affected communities on an expedited scale, building a competency-based model that depends on accomplishments rather than on the known time-based experiential model of education.

- Objectives:
Forming an international board of educators, scientists and educators who are experienced professionals who can design the innovative curriculum.
Needs assessment: Getting information about arbitrary numbers of surviving learners in each discipline. One of the most recently affected countries will be selected for the pilot study depending on safety measures.
Collecting lists for the tools required for this educational modalities [such as electronic devices, safe places to communicate with the learners…etc.
Curriculum design in a transformational innovative way.
Certification process designed according to the transformational medel as opp.

Why is this project important and timely?

What is the target population of your project? 

Recently, there have been sequential natural and man-made disasters that were responsible not only for unprecedented destruction in the world, but also lead to catastrophic human losses; enough to impact the collective intellectual capacity of the world for decades to come. Not to mention that these qualities of professionals who were murdered cannot be replaced any time soon with their junior staff. Therefore, the succession plans are completely skewed in these affected areas. Loss of these qualities would simply mean that even the post-disaster time will suffer long time of depletion of not only academic qualities but also interprofessional, interdisciplinary qualities, allied health professionals and other professionals who were capable of re-building their communities as far as the health or infrastructure are concerned. An impact that may set the world back for decades, and leaving the W.H.O resolutions with health for all by the year 2030 as being rhetoric and unrealistic.

How will you know that you have achieved that impact? What data will you use to assess your impact?

- Number of registered students.
- Number of students who would achieve 1-2 milestones of their respected curricula.

How do you anticipate this unique leadership education impacting you personally? What new skills are you hoping too develop & grow through this experience?

I am excited for the opportunity to patch the gaps in women community and global leadership models. Although women are the most affected by atrocities around the world, they gain the least chances of intervention

Where would you like to see yourself professionally in the next 3 years?

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