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 Dean’s Communiqué | Edition 14

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Dear AKU family,

While the weather is still green, let me begin by congratulating everyone involved in the successful graduation of the Class of 2020. Be it the quick shift of all curricula online by faculty and staff, implementing COVID protocols on campus, leading up to the historic virtual convocation that was executed brilliantly especially by the Office of Registrar and the Office of Communications, it has been a very happening past year, and I would like to pay my heartfelt gratitude to all involved.

AKU continues to be a trailblazer in countless fields and I am so happy to be sharing some wonderful highlights and achievements from SONAM in this edition of the Dean’s Communique.


Rozina Karmaliani




Class of 2020: It’s a wrap!

After the most challenging academic year for any graduating class at AKU, the students have now finally moved to alumni status. I am so proud of them for cooperating with the School in this tough time and managing their studies simultaneously. Many even tested positive during their exams and theses but remained persistent. Congratulations to the students, and to all staff and faculty members who contributed to their success. Onwards and upwards from here!

In case you missed the live ceremony, here are some links:

The global ceremony | SONAM, Pk ceremony | The dean’s speech
AKU faculty awards of distinction | Picture gallery | Dean’s letter to the graduating class



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Dr Rafat Jan
Award of Distinction

Alumna of SONAM’s founding class of 1983, Dr Rafat’s contributions to the School and the professions of nursing and midwifery, nationally as well as globally are countless. I am so grateful to her services and congratulate her on this well-deserved award!

Watch video >>

Teaching Awards

Congratulations to all faculty members for receiving the teaching awards this year in their respective areas of expertise. You bring so much value to our team at SONAM and I am so incredibly proud of you!

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Collaborative Award for Teaching:
Virtual Simulation Team

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Student-led Teaching Awards

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Student Awards

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Dr Khairulnissa Ajani
SONAM’s first PhD graduate,
Valedictorian & Best Graduate

From BScN, Post-RN, MScN to now PhD, SONAM has been a trailblazer in introducing nursing degree programmes in Pakistan. It has given me great pleasure to finally have our first PhD graduate as well! This paves way for more evidence-based solutions for healthcare problems in our local context. Congratulations, Dr Ajani!

Read more at: | AKDN | The News | Dawn | | Watch Dr Ajani’s talk on Geo News

We may have officially announced five best graduates this year, but there were so many others with outstanding academic performance. I want to congratulate them all. I am so proud of you and wish you even more success in the coming years!

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Zahira Amirali
Best Graduate, MScN

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Uzma Nizar
Best Graduate, BScN

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Sanam Salim

Best Graduate, Post-RN BScN

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Zulekha Husni
Best Graduate, Post-RM BScM


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Nursing Mentorship Sessions

As part of our International Nurses Day this year, we initiated mentorship sessions for young nurses and students. These included areas like future of midwifery, research in nursing, home-health and tele-ICU services, and the transformation in nursing education. Thankful to the mentors from SONAM Dr Yasmin Amarsi, Dr Laila Ladak, Shanaz Cassum, Dr Rafat and our colleagues from the Hospital, Laila Khymani, Amina Lakhani and Mehak Karim for their very informative talks!

Hoping for this trend to continue as mentorship culture is so helpful for growth and knowledge-building in nursing.


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IND 2021: Celebrating nursing and midwifery in Pakistan,
and envisioning a brighter future

The crux of the healthcare burden has increased two-folds on nurses and midwives since the outbreak of COVID-19. While the pandemic has helped in bringing the importance of nursing into the limelight, the challenges on-ground for them are still persistent.

Thankful to AKU leadership Dr Shahid Shafi, Dr Adil Haider, Shagufta Hassan and Salma Jaffer for engaging in a fruitful panel discussion to discuss the challenges and way forward for nursing in Pakistan. Participation by national healthcare and policy leaders Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Dr Faisal Sultan and Dr Azra Pechuho were a definite morale booster for our nursing community who watched online.

Watch full video | Read more at: | Dawn | | The Nation


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The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic saw all of AKU come together in various ways to combat the threat it posed to our community. At the International Nurses Day we appreciated all nurse practitioners, faculty and researchers who went above and beyond their call of duty and contributed to this fight at AKU.





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SONAM Strategic Planning: We need YOUR input!

As friends, colleagues, students, alumni and important stakeholders, we need your valuable feedback on how to further improve our functions and add more value to the School. Your suggestions will help us devise a detailed 5-year strategy plan that will be implemented in all areas of activity at SONAM.

Fill our survey form | Read more about SONAM’s Strategic Planning
Watch the Strategy Planning Kickoff event of SONAM Pakistan & East Africa





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SONAM begins vaccination centre on campus

With extended vaccination centres starting all over campus, I am pleased to share that SONAM has also successfully started its facility that is up and running now! So grateful to all staff and faculty members for volunteering their time and efforts into running it. Glad to be assisting AKUH in expanding its vaccination services to cover more people in a shorter time. Get vaccinated, break the chain!




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SONAM moves to online clinical simulation for students

Among the many positives that came out of COVID-19, one is the School’s transcendence to online simulation that will enable students to openly practice and study clinical simulation without the limitation of scheduled classes on-campus. So happy at this initiative and grateful to the team involved especially Dr Rubina Barolia, Assistant Dean of Clinical Practice at SONAM.

Read more >>  


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Advance Certification for Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE-A)

SONAM faculty Zohra Kurji becomes first nurse in South Asia to be awarded certification by the Society of Healthcare Simulation in the USA.

This year 12 portfolios were awarded CHSE-A worldwide out of which 11 were from the USA and only one from Pakistan. So proud of Zohra and her commitment to improving simulation teaching in Pakistan!




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“Men’s engagement crucial to women empowerment” – Research paper by SONAM faculty receives award

As Co-PIs, Dr Tazeen Saeed Ali, Assistant Dean of Research at the School and myself have been part of a thorough research project on promoting life-skills and empowerment for women in rural Pakistan, in collaboration with Umeed-e-Nau, Pakistan. I am happy to share that phase one of our study was published and received the Research in Nursing & Health’s Best Paper Award 2020-2021.




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Faculty trains over 800 nurses and midwives nationwide!

Under the leadership of Dr Rafat Jan, Associate Dean of Outreach and Policy Unit, a capacity-building initiative is underway in collaboration with the Aga Khan Foundation, funded by the European Union Civil Protection Aid. Under this partnership, SONAM faculty has trained more than 800 nurses, midwives and lady health visitors across Pakistan in trainings both virtual and in-person. The drive is set to continue till September this year, training professionals in areas of COVID-19 management, online teaching and research in nursing.




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Doctors and nurses unite in efforts to increase knowledge on liver disease in Pakistan

In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, a team of multidisciplinary professionals from both SONAM and the Medical College came together to organise a workshop on liver disease in Pakistan. The initiative was spearheaded by Dr Faisal Ismail, Associate Professor and Consultant Gastroenterologist at AKUH and Dr Rubina Barolia, Assistant Dean of Clinical Practice at SONAM. Looking forward to many such partnerships in the future!







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