On behalf of the NAAMA-MI board of directors I would like to wish you and your families a happy, safe, healthy, and prosperous new year. Like any new president, I am very excited about the task ahead and eager to share with you our accomplishments this year. Having said that, I felt it is prudent to figure out a way to convey to you on a regular basis the rewards and benefits of being an active NAAMA member. So rather than bore you with the conventional quotes of mainly dead wise people that came before us, I have chosen to put a personal twist with a touch of humor on these monthly blogs. I hope you enjoy them and they motivate you to reach out to us. As a disclaimer, the views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly my own, hence anything you may disagree with you may take up with our chief legal officer Dr. Iduno Watusay. Most people find it natural to want to belong to an entity, some like sports, to a fault sometimes in my opinion, and others like civic organization involvement. Regardless of your interests, I believe we all share a common value, the need to identify with something. Not too long ago I was a medical student, and at that time I was looking for something to join, partly because I wanted to belong to something, partly because I wanted to give back, and partly because I wanted to bolster my resume. I noticed that many of my fellow peers were already in clubs that reflected their National Heritage be it Indian, Pakistani, or Asian ancestry. As usual, my fellow Caucasian peers did not have their own club, which according to our U.S. Census I would belong to. When I brought the idea of creating a club to one of my Caucasian friends, he replied with “What would we call it, the White American Medical Society?” As you can imagine, that idea was immediately scratched due to fear of not graduating and having the FBI knocking on our doors. Then I stumbled on NAAMA, at first I thought it was a karate studio named the North American Alliance Of Martial Arts, at least that’s what Google leads you to believe. With a little scrolling, it became apparent that indeed there is a medical organization reflecting my heritage that has existed since the 1970s. Immediately a sense of pride came over me as finally I felt there is an organization out there that I can identify with, that I like the rest of my peers in medical school(with the sad exception of my white peers) had a team that I can join. As an Arab-American, just like any other American, I am deeply rooted in my heritage and proud of it. Having said that, I also firmly believe that American exceptionalism is the ability to provide people of all walks of life including Arabs the opportunity to realize their potential. With that conviction in mind, I joined NAAMA, I didn’t know what tangible benefits I would be getting, but what I did know at that time is what I believe to be more true today than ever before, the need to clarify and define who I am as an American of Arab descent. I urge you to visit our website at www.NAAMAMI.com regularly throughout the year for announcements and events, read our e-mails, support our endeavors, and spread the word about NAAMA.
Sam Fawaz, M.D.