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International Medical Graduates

Perspective of a former Governor of the ACP West Virginia Chapter

Rashida Khakoo, MD, MACP
Professor and Chief, Section of Infectious Diseases
West Virginia University
Department of Medicine
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center
Morgantown, West Virginia
Former ACP Governor

Currently I serve as Chief of Infectious Diseases and Associate Chair for the Department of Medicine and Assistant Vice President for Health Sciences at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. I have been here for 24 years and joined as a junior faculty member. The time has gone by very fast because I have enjoyed many opportunities as a faculty member. I have had a long standing interest in medical education, and I have had many opportunities to create unique programs, including the Summer Preceptorship Program for medical students between the first and second year of medical school. This is a very successful program and has been going on since 1992, sponsored in part by ACP. Evaluation of the program has occurred on an ongoing basis, including looking at choice of careers by participating medical students and their performance on physical diagnosis course.

I was also able to establish a curriculum for residents in the Department of Medicine starting in 1989 before it was required by regulatory agencies. Recently I have worked with Dr. Donald Fidler in the Department of Behavioral Medicine/Psychiatry to create an interdisciplinary health sciences center-wide Teaching Scholars Program, which is very well received and is in its second year.

I was very excited when I was elected as Governor, West Virginia Chapter of ACP in the Class of 2003. It has given me a chance to meet many esteemed colleagues from around the country and beyond and have the opportunity to help with the mission and vision of ACP. It has given me a privilege to serve. Previously I served on the WV Chapter ACP Council as a member and was a moderator at the various sessions and judge for the abstract competition.

We have a small chapter, but people are very enthusiastic and always willing to help. We hold our chapter meetings in different places around the state so it gives a chance for different people to participate. We have a strong Associates Abstract competition, and we always welcome diversity in all our endeavors. We encourage as many Associates to participate as possible. Many international medical graduates have participated in our abstract competition. We also have a breakfast for our students and Associates. Our Medical Knowledge Challenge winning team has also represented us nationally and was placed second last year.

Last year I worked with the Health Sciences Technology Academy Program, which is geared toward helping underrepresented and minority high school students and encourage them to go into health professions. We invited eight students to the WV Chapter meeting, and we were supported in this effort by a Chapter Development Grant from ACP. The students had an excellent experience and an exciting time, and they particularly enjoyed meeting all the members and Associates and also enjoyed the Skill Building Exercises. They have kept in touch with many of their mentors. You can also help medical and high school students become interested in Internal Medicine.

ACP has made tremendous efforts to expand its membership. Its efforts on behalf of international medical graduates have continued to grow. It is an organization that gives a lot of opportunities for medical students, Associates, practicing physicians, and faculty to assume leadership roles locally and nationally. Please get involved in your chapter activities and the national ACP. Please talk to your Governors and express your areas of interest, and I am sure they will be able to get you involved. There are many committees in which you can serve. The only way we can achieve great things is by working together. ACP particularly allows you to do that. It's emphasis on education, community service, professionalism including respecting and increasing diversity, are exemplary. You can also help increase diversity in our organization. The College is also involved in many international activities and I am sure these will be of interest to you. Please try to attend Chapter and national ACP meetings. These are a great way to enhance one's learning, meet colleagues and find out ways you can have input into the programs. If you are not a member, please become one. If you are not an Associate and are eligible, please apply for Associate membership. If you are eligible for advancement to Fellowship, please make sure that you do that. It is a true honor to be advanced to Fellowship in ACP. Please encourage eligible colleagues and friends to do the same. The College is also very interested in increasing medical student membership. Please make every effort to do that by encouraging medical students you know to join. If you are a medical student and not a member of ACP, please join today.

Brief bio:

Dr. Rashida Khakoo, Professor and Chief, Section of Infectious Diseases West Virginia University also serves as Associate Chairman, Department of Medicine. She was Interim Chairman from July 1992-April 1995. She is the Hospital Epidemiologist at Ruby Memorial Hospital. She is also Assistant Vice President for Faculty Development at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center. She served as ACP Governor for the West Virginia Chapter 1999-2003 and served as a member of the Chapters Subcommittee.

After graduating from Makerere Medical School in Uganda, she completed her residency in Internal Medicine at George Washington University in Washington, DC and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She joined the Section of Infectious Diseases at West Virginia University in 1976.

Her current research interests are in hospital epidemiology and medical education. She has received several awards for innovation and excellence in teaching. She received the Laureate Award from West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Physicians. She is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. She was one of twenty-five faculty selected from the United States for fellowship in the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women in 1995/96.

This article was prepared for the ACP IMG Web site in 2000.

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