Global Impact Through Education

HMX courses help prepare future doctors in Tunisia

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Four medical schools in Tunisia will soon begin offering Harvard Medical School's HMX online courses to select groups of their students. The initiative is aimed at helping prepare future physicians who will provide outstanding care in Tunisia.

The Faculty of Medicine of Tunis at Tunis El Manar University, the Faculty of Medicine of Monastir, the Faculty of Medicine of Sfax, and the Faculty of Medicine of Sousse will offer all five HMX Fundamentals courses—which include biochemistry, genetics, immunology, pharmacology, and physiology—to cohorts of undergraduate medical students.

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The goal is to help the students acquire more in-depth knowledge of the basic sciences and then apply those concepts to clinical practice.

Access to the HMX courses is being made possible by generous support from the Hazem Ben-Gacem Tunisia Medical Education Fund. Hazem Ben-Gacem is a Harvard College alumnus who has funded other key University initiatives, including the opening of the Tunisia Office of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.

In October 2019, Ben-Gacem provided funding for the deans of the Tunisian medical schools to attend Harvard Medical School’s IMPACT Symposium. The symposium provided connections and conversations that led to the opportunity for more learning opportunities through HMX.

“We are very grateful to Mr. Ben-Gacem for his generous commitment to informing and inspiring medical students who will make a lasting impact on patient care in Tunisia,” said David Roberts, dean for external education and the Steven P. Simcox, Patrick A. Clifford, and James H. Higby Associate Professor of Medicine at HMS.

Tunisia has four medical schools situated in the major cities of Tunis, Sfax, Sousse, and Monastir. Medical education in Tunisia covers medical and clinical science, internships and residency, and specialty training.

“Implementing HMX online courses will offer an excellent opportunity to Tunisia’s medical students,” said Mohamed Jouini, dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Tunis.

“We hope this first initiative will establish a fruitful and long-lasting relationship between the Faculty of Medicine of Tunis and Harvard Medical School. For our school, this project comes as a great addition to a wider strategy of international cooperation. We are putting every effort to make this experience a success, and we hope to see the opportunity extended to a larger number of students in the future,” Jouini said.

“HMX offers a truly unique learning experience, linking students’ foundational science knowledge to their future care of patients,” said Michael Parker, associate dean for online learning and faculty director of HMX. “The addition of these courses to the medical school curriculum in Tunisia will help prepare students for careers as health care providers.”

HMX courses are currently offered to students at HMS and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, as well as through institutional partnerships around the globe.